Demand for “Ethical Midwifery” Prompts Systemic Change| Bastyr University, Department of Midwifery Leads the Way

Bastyr University, Department of Midwifery shared a link16 hours ago near Seattle, WA
Dear Community,
It has been a longstanding tradition at Seattle Midwifery School and Bastyr that many of our students have traveled to foreign countries including the Caribbean and the South Pacific to practice midwifery skills and earn practicum credits toward graduation and licensure. Over the years questions and concerns have been raised about whether the School should take more responsibility for adequate preparation of students and oversight of their experiences while “in country.” However, until now, we have just talked and have not acted.The recent events surrounding the very serious and substantial allegations brought forward about the practices of Midwife International (  and )
in their relationships with clinicians and students in foreign clinical training sites has ignited a long overdue conversation in our community about the appropriateness of student midwives receiving clinical credit for their experiences in low resource settings where clients are predominantly women of color. As we in  the Department of Midwifery continue in our own work to dismantle racism in midwifery education we have to take stock of our own house.
Thanks to a very thoughtful Master’s project by recent graduate Lisa Delorme (MSM 2013), the Department of Midwifery had begun to see the importance of creating a global service learning program for our students that would be intentional, ethical and accountable, with obligations and mutual value to “host” and “sending” institutions and communities. Then, with the high profile criticism of Midwife International in the past several weeks, we realized that we could not in good conscience continue to send our students abroad without such a program in place.With that in mind we have decided to suspend foreign clinical rotations for credit for our students, effective immediately. We pledge to convene the work needed to thoroughly assess our past policies and practices, and to examine if and how we can create the new, ethical and socially just model that is needed. To accomplish this work, the Department will seek input from all stakeholders, including those outside our Department in the Bastyr and greater midwifery communities.We recognize that this decision impacts students who were planning an overseas rotation in the coming school year and apologize to them for the disruption in plans. In the long run we believe that the hard work of reimagining and creating a global service learning program will be very positive.

Please note that students are not prohibited from making personal arrangements for these clinical opportunities, but at this time, the Department of Midwifery will not be assisting with the arrangements nor will we offer Practicum credits for them.

Please address any questions or concerns to Practicum Coordinator, Mary Yglesia, or to Department Chair, Suzy Myers.

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