Monday, August 30, 2010

SPOTLIGHT: Commonsense Childbirth School of Midwifery

Commonsense Childbirth School of Midwifery (CCSM) was established in January 2009 to provide education and training in the art of out-of-hospital birth to individuals seeking to become Florida Licensed Midwives. Our goal at CCSM is to educate andprepare students to become skilled, caring midwives to serve women and families in their communities.“I am excited to be able to direct a midwifery school (for the second time) and look forward to bringing a unique approach to midwifery education,” said owner and Executive Director Jennie Joseph, LM, CPM. “My focus will be on the clinical aspects of midwifery training and I will apply my international and individual experiences to a very strong and clinically sound format.”
A British trained midwife, Jennie Joseph comes from the European perspective where midwifery is a trusted, respected and necessary profession. When she emigrated to Florida,Jennie encountered American professional, racial, ethnic and gender prejudice. Motivated to make a change in her adopted community, she started the Hand-In-Hand Women and Family Support Services, providing private, group and volunteer childbirth education, breastfeeding counseling and doula/labor support services.

As a Florida Licensed Midwife, Jennie opened The Birth Place, a full-service midwifery clinic with home and birth center delivery including waterbirth. She served as Director for the School of Complementary Medicine’s Midwifery Program in Oviedo and became active in a number of community organizations such as ICTC, the Florida Black Women's Health Organizations, the March of Dimes "Sisters/Companeras" Program, and founded Commonsense Childbirth Inc. a Florida non-profit corporation dedicated to providing prenatal, birth and postpartum services to indigent teens and women who might otherwise not receive care.

In 2003 Jennie developed The JJ Way™ a unique MCH model of care to address the difficulties and inequities in health care service and delivery which have negatively impacted perinatal health outcomes, especially for minorities. The model consists of clinical, outreach and training components. The Easy Access Clinic model, replicated in several communities, uses The JJ Way® Model of Maternity Care to help close the gap in Black infant health disparities. Astudy in 2007 of birth outcomes for The JJ Way® program serving at-risk minority women showed NO low birth weight or premature babies among African American or Hispanic patients at The Birth Place.

“I am fighting for access, connections, knowledge and empowerment within our communities,” explains Jennie, “truly 'getting to the heart of the matter' because we believe in A midwife for EVERY mother.”

Jennie has published a photo journal “Beautiful! Pregnancy Perfected The JJ Way” which depicts the impact of her maternal child healthcare system on positive pregnancy outcomes. A portion of proceeds from the sale of this book goes to support Commonsense Childbirth.

A much sought-after speaker, in any given week Jennie may be found advocating for maternal and child health in a variety of venues: in Washington, DC speaking to a congressional committee, being recognized at the Tribeca Film Festival in Manhattan, presenting her model at a national conference, and still running her full-service midwifery practice, teaching and precepting her CCSM students. Most recently the Foundation for the Advancement of Midwifery awarded a 2010 technical assistance grant to Commonsense Childbirth, providing consultation in the areas of finance, fundraising, and strategic planning.

In all her works, Jennie seeks to create excellence. CCSM is committed to providing the finest educational program throughout the national and international direct-entry midwiferycommunity for individuals with a desire to provide a high standard of care for childbearing women and their families. The student is taught to differentiate between low-risk and high-risk pregnancies, work within midwifery legal scope of practice, collaborate with other medical professionals, and to organize and operate as a professional midwife after licensing.

CCSM believes that midwives should be based in their communities where they are able toprovide culturally competent maternity care, education, guidance and social support to women and their families. Recognizing the rich cultural diversity in Florida and the increasingly diverse populations in our communities, CCSM seeks to recruit a student population that is culturally and ethnically reflective of our communities to prepare students to provide effective midwifery services responsive to the needs of Florida consumers.

As CCSM Academic Director, Justine Clegg, LM, CPM, brings her midwifery education experience from Miami Dade College (1993-2008) and the South Florida School of Midwifery. A Florida Licensed Midwife for 24 years, she is also a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Lactation Counselor, and has served as Chair of the Council of Licensed Midwifery, on the MEAC and NACPM Board of Directors, chaired the Dade County Fetal and Infant Mortality Review team for 5 years and helped develop the NARM certification process. She is a “founding mother” and Continuing Education Coordinator for the Midwives Association of Florida (MAF). She is currently on the Board of Directors of the Association of Midwifery Educators (AME).

CCSM meets academic and clinical requirements for the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) and the Florida midwifery practice act, F.S. 467, including the Core Competenciesof the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) and the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM). Core Competencies identify the essential knowledge base required of an entry-level midwife. The curriculum is also consistent with the Curriculum Framework developed by the Florida Department of Education and the requirements of Florida law.

Graduates will receive a Diploma from CCSM and will be eligible to sit for the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) national certification examination. The NARM is the Florida licensing exam for the Midwifery profession. Students must pass the NARM exam and be licensed by the Council of Licensed Midwifery to work as a Midwife in the State of Florida. Upon graduation the student will have compiled a notebook of materials and practice protocols to be prepared to practice as a Florida Licensed Midwife.

The academic environment at CCSM is geared to the adult learning style. A cadre of credentialed faculty and preceptors supports a strong educational program in this fledgling school. Teaching methodologies use a variety of strategies to engage all learning levels, to develop clinical skills, critical thinking and problem solving abilities. Classes are interactive and student participation is required. Programs are varied in format. Research is facilitated and encouraged.

An education based on the art of traditional midwifery and knowledge of medical science must be strong clinically as well as academically. Students start clinical placement in their first semester. CCSM provides clinical experience concurrent with academic coursework, giving relevance to classroom material. Preceptors who work with our students include Licensed Midwives, Certified Nurse Midwives and Medical Doctors who are licensed in Florida. We believe it is important that students rotate through various types of clinical settings to learn valuable skills and be prepared for all venues of practice. Programs are designed to help students develop and refine clinical, communication and decision-making skills essential to safe, compassionate midwifery practice. It is imperative that midwives regard the dignity and rights of clients and families, communicate effectively, be able to differentiate between low-risk and high-risk maternity clients and to make arrangements for collaboration or referral.

CCSM students care about their community. Our program includes a volunteer requirement each semester. One student volunteered in Haiti after the recent earthquake. Last semester students drove to Tallahassee to participate in Midwifery Capitol Day event April 21, 2010 with Justine Clegg and MAF lobbyist Dawn Steward, to educate Florida legislators about midwifery practice.

Classes are held on Fridays in Winter Garden. Tuition for the Three-year Program is $19,320 and $5,250 for the Four month program. In addition to the three year and four monthdirect-entry midwifery education programs, CCSM offers Doula training, Childbirth Education and Lactation Counseling certification courses. CCSM is an approved CEU provider for Florida licensed midwives through CEBroker. Orientation for the next midwifery class starting in January 2011 will be announced in the fall. Email to be added to our mailing list.

Commonsense Childbirth School of Midwifery is owned and operated by Commonsense Childbirth, Inc, a non profit Florida corporation. The Advisory Committee consists of community leaders, midwives and other healthcare professionals interested in CCSM’s efforts to provide the finest program of study within the international midwifery community. CCSM is approved by the Florida Council of Licensed Midwifery and licensed by Florida Department of Education Commission for Independent Education. CCSM is a member of the Association of Midwifery Educators (AME) and will be seeking accreditation through the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC).

For more information contact:
1150 E Plant Street Suite F, Winter Garden, FL 34787

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Midwives for Haiti

Midwives for Haiti is a non-profit organization that was founded by Nadene Brunk, Certified Nurse Midwife. This Virginia based 501c3 organization was founded in 2004. Since its inception, Midwives for Haiti has provided Haitian women with the proper education and tools to keep women and babies safe during the birthing process.

Lack of proper prenatal care and skilled birth attendants makes Haiti the most dangerous place in the western hemisphere to have a baby. In Haiti 48 of 1,000 infants die during birth and 520 of 100,000 women die during labor. These statistics are detrimental to the social development and well-being of so many families in Haiti.

Midwives and Clinicians from all around the world come together through Midwives for Haiti and teach Haitian women proper prenatal care and teach the skill of being a proper birth attendant.
Midwives for Haiti depends on volunteers and donations to continue to help so many in that part of the western hemisphere. If you’d like to contribute in any way, please visit, or follow them on Facebook.