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September 30, 1999

Contact: Patricia Adams

New Nurse Midwifery Program established at University of Maryland School of Nursing

Baltimore, Md. Beginning in the Fall 1999, The School of Nursing introduced its new Master's degree specialty in Nurse Midwifery. Following its recent pre-accreditation from the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM), the School of Nursing becomes Maryland's only university offering such a program.

"There are more than 200 midwives throughout Maryland, but until now, there has been no recognized program within the state," said Alice Neily, spokesperson for the Maryland Chapter of the ACNM. Historically known as an alternative childbirth provider, nurse midwives also offer such services as Pap smears, breast and pelvic examinations and women's health counseling and screening, as well as preconception and maternity care for women at low-risk for complications during pregnancy. In many states, including Maryland, CNM's also have prescription writing privileges. Barbara R. Heller, EdD, RN, FAAN, Dean of the School of Nursing stated, "Nurse midwives are a cost effective alternative to traditional obstetrical care, particularly in under-served areas of the state, such as western Maryland, the Eastern Shore and in low income areas of Baltimore City."

A certified nurse midwife (CNM) is a registered nurse who has graduated from one of the advanced education programs accredited by the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM). Nurse midwives must pass a national certification examination and meet strict requirements set by state health agencies.

"Through this new program, we intend to increase the number of CNM's practicing within these under-served areas" Dr. Heller added. "We are seeking qualified candidates from throughout the state, who, upon completion, will be prepared to offer their services across Maryland." The program is being funded over three years by an $815,000 grant from the Division of Nursing, Health Resources and Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The University of Maryland is now accepting applications for the midwifery program. Students interested in joining the program should call the University of Maryland School of Nursing at (800) 328-8346, by e-mailing at nursinfo@parsons.umaryland.edu or by visiting our Web site at www.nursing.umaryland.edu.

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