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Issue #88, January 31, 2019

MANA Board Update

The MANA Board has been quiet for the past few months since our conference in Portland, Maine. We are reinvigorating ourselves for the work ahead, which includes a recommitment on the part of all of us to the Mission and Vision of MANA, to the critical work of supporting midwives in their communities, and toward the goals MANA has set as listed here:
  • To recognize the diversity among midwives and to foster inclusive community building
  • To engage midwives in dialog and to encourage solidarity across North America
  • To increase access to midwives in all settings
  • To build an identity as a cohesive organization representing the profession as well as the tradition of midwifery at regional, national, and international levels
  • To position midwives as acknowledged authorities, working to improve perinatal health in collaboration with other professionals
  • To affirm the rights of pregnant people to give birth where and with whom they choose
Research and Education:
  • To collect and disseminate high quality research about midwifery care
  • To endorse the Midwives Model of Care™ as the gold standard for childbirth
  • To promote excellence in midwifery practice
  • To sponsor continuing education opportunities for midwives
We have been quiet, but we have not been inactive. We are excited to report that we have had two beautiful documents come out of MANA in recent weeks. On December 19th the MANA Division of Research Coordinating Council released our response to the Gatehouse Articles. We had 11 original signatories to the letter including the International Confederation of Midwives. You can access that letter and sign on here. The response has already proven to be helpful in states such as Texas who are in the middle of legislative efforts, and we have had great feedback on it around the country and from Canada as well.
We have also been involved in helping to work on efforts in New York to get CPMs licensed. Elizabeth Catlin, CPM, has been arrested and has five felony counts against her including “practicing a profession” without a license. NY CPM, Inc. reached out to MANA for support and we wrote an open letter first released on January 4th on the licensure of CPMs in New York, where there is a critical shortage of midwives serving in the community setting. We have reached out to and are hoping for official support from all of the US MERA organizations, which will be a powerful statement as legislative/regulatory efforts move forward. Read the letter here.

We are planning our next conference to be held at the beautiful Lost Pines Resort in Austin, Texas. Please save the dates for October 31 – November 3, 2019 (post-conference ALSO course on November 4). The theme this year is Sustain, and we will be talking about creating sustainability for the profession, our work as midwives, and ourselves in the work. Be prepared for a lot of self-care! As many have requested, this year’s conference will have a primary focus on clinical skills, especially advanced skills and the Midwifery Bridge Certificate. A student track will be available focusing on the same skills at the core level of competency.
We are opening the abstract process in early February with a March 15th firm deadline. Please consider the above topics as you think about what you can bring to MANA in the form of session offerings.
We know that our recent conferences have not felt welcoming or even safe to many attendees and exhibitors. While we cannot control the words and actions of individuals, we can do better as a Board to create a respectful learning environment that strives to eliminate racism, microaggressions, violence, and triggers from the conference framework.
Becoming socially just is a struggle, for the MANA board, for our members, for other midwifery organizations, and for society in general. In our efforts to be socially just we have made mistakes, forgoing our mission in our impatience to have a meaningful impact on this country’s rising maternal mortality rate, and to directly address the racism causing disproportionately high Black and Indigenous maternal and infant death rates.
Our struggle at the Board level has been ongoing and difficult. We have often felt like we are on a boat pitching at sea, unable to find solid footing. We have asked for and received help and tried to find our way, only to find ourselves even deeper in dysfunction. What we recognize now is that MANA, while striving to become a socially just organization, is not a social justice organization, nor is it appropriate that we attempt to be one. MANA is a membership midwifery association with the aim of being socially just, and we believe, the home for all midwives.
Coming to this understanding has caused growing pains, and changes have come about as a result. There have been resignations at both Division and Board levels. We thank Indra Lusero of Elephant Circle, who has been the Chair of the Division of Access and Equity since its inception, Marinah Farrell, Senior Advisor to the Division, Division members, and Board members Nicole White (Director of States Advocacy) and Jaqxun Darlin (Director of Professional Development) for their service to MANA. We wish them well as they leave their leadership roles with MANA, and continue to work and lead in their communities to advance a socially just midwifery profession.
MANA is moving forward on the goals set out in our Mission and Vision statements. We invite all midwives, students, and supporters to join us in this work. The Board nomination and election cycle has been extended in order to reach more Midwives interested in MANA leadership and development, both on the Board and as Section and Division leaders. Look for an e-mail about nominations soon!
As the Board of Directors, we reaffirm our commitment to the MANA Mission and Vision. We ask you to join us and do the same.
The Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) is a professional midwifery association uniquely positioned to unite and strengthen all midwives through dedication to innovative education, professional development, and recognized autonomous practice.

MANA is committed to enabling transformative research, promoting an evidence-based midwifery model of care, addressing health disparities, and achieving optimal outcomes through normal physiologic birth and healthcare across the lifespan. (revised Spring 2014)
and Vision
MANA envisions a world where every person, in the setting of their choice, has access to high quality midwifery care provided by culturally safe, autonomous, community-based midwives.
Please join us in this work by becoming a MANA member, renewing your membership, or volunteering for a MANA leadership position. We invite and welcome you to participate and support the work of MANA by giving us your feedback and suggestions. Write us at or We are listening.

With Gratitude,
The MANA Board of Directors
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