MIDWIVES FOR MAXIMIZING OPTIMAL MATERNITY SERVICES (MOMS) ACT
HR 3352 / S 1697
Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services (MOMs) Act
HR 3352 / S 1697
Introduced: May 19, 2021
This bill establishes grants within the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for establishing or expanding midwifery programs at institutions of higher education and nursing schools. HRSA may prioritize funding for institutions that focus on increasing the number of midwife professionals from underrepresented groups and that promote practicing in areas with limited access to professional health care.
WHAT THE "MIDWIVES FOR MOMS" LEGISLATION DOES
The Midwives for MOMS Act establishes two new funding streams exclusively for accredited midwifery education programs:
In the Title VII Health Professions Training Programs
In the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs.
Existing accredited midwifery education programs, or colleges, universities, HBCUs or other minority-based institutions interested in establishing new midwifery education programs would be eligible to apply to the Health Resources and Services Administration for grant funding that could be used for:
Direct support of Student Midwives (i.e., midwifery programs would have to apply for grant funding to attract racially and ethnically diverse students to their respective programs).
Establishment or expansion of an accredited midwifery school or program.
Securing, preparing, or providing support for increasing the number of preceptors at clinical training sites to precept students training to become a CNM or CM.
Funding will be prioritized for programs that effectively demonstrate during the grant application process that will use the funding to increase racial and ethnic representation among their student body and/or midwifery education faculty.
WHY IS "MIDWIVES FOR MOMS" NECESSARY?
The causes for the escalating rates of maternal mortality and morbidity are complex but include a shortage of qualified and diverse health clinicians. To ensure that health care needs are met, we need a robust maternal health workforce who can support people throughout their pregnancies, labor and delivery, and the postpartum period. Research has shown that people tend to do better with providers that look like them.i
Culturally sensitive and racially congruent midwifery care is proposed as a solution for improving maternal and infant health. However, there are currently too few aspiring midwives of color entering the midwifery education programs in the United States.ii
Midwifery’s future depends on the ability to attract Black, Brown, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and to provide meaningful and fulfilling professional opportunities for these groups.
The aging of the nursing and midwifery workforce together with shifting demographics in the US (by 2050 the US population is projected to be majority “minority”, with the working-age population becoming more than 50 percent persons of color in 2039), and the ability to recruit and retain talent from all backgrounds will be critical to the success and advancement of the profession.iii
Greater racial diversity in the health care workforce will help improve access to culturally appropriate care and the quality of patient-provider interactions for BIPOC and is an important intervention to help reduce the racial disparities that plague maternal and child health and disproportionately affect communities of color, many of which reside in primary care health professional shortage areas (HPSAs).
Concerted efforts must be made to recruit, retain, and increase the number of BIPOC students in midwifery education programs and increase the number BIPOC midwives who provide care in rural, frontier, low resource, and underserved areas across the country.
The cost of an accredited midwifery education is a barrier to many aspiring and prospective midwives. Investment in federal grant funding designated solely for accredited midwifery education programs is integral to making midwifery education a viable option for many communities, including those who identify as BIPOC.
ACNM supports current congressional legislative efforts (e.g., passage of the Midwives for Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services Act, H.R. 3352/S. 1697) to increase the number the number of racially and ethnically diverse midwives, thereby diversifying the maternity care workforce with individuals who represent the lived and cultural experiences of the patients they serve.