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03/05/2013

Dr. Ruth Lubic Discusses Midwifery's Contribution to Improving Healthy Births (March 5, 2013)

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For decades the US has experienced the highest infant mortality rate of high income countries.  The US also ranks poorly on other birth outcomes such as pre-term births, low birth weight and Caesarean sections.  Infant mortality rates for non-hispanic blacks is twice that of the national average.  In sum, about 25,000 infants die each year in the United States.  During this 37 minute interview Dr. Lubic explains briefly nurse midwifery and its peri-natal goals, she discusses at some length the gradual acceptance of nurse midwives from the 1930s through the 1960s, the Family Health and Birth Center's "care in a social context" and birth outcomes its achieved, i.e., a 66% reduction in both pre-term births and Caesarean sections and a 75% reduction in low birth weights.  

For more on midwifery outcomes see this recently published article in the Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health:  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jmwh.12003/full

Dr. Lubic's midwifery career began in 1962 when she was graduated from the country’s first nurse-midwifery program, the Maternity Center Association in NYC.  In 1970, Dr. Lubic became General Director of the Association (now called Childbirth Connection) and opened the first state-licensed birthing center in the country in 1975.  Eventually the Morris Heights Childbearing Center opened in the South Bronx, bringing quality obstetric care to underserved, low-income women.  The moneys she received from a MacArthur Foundation genius award enabled her to replicate her NYC Ruthlubic[1]midwifery model in 2000 by opening the Developing Families Center in Washington, D.C.  Among other numerous credits and awards Dr. Lubic was elected to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine and is the recipient of its Lienhard Award.  The American Academy of Nursing, also in 2001, named her a Living Legend.   The American College of Nurse-Midwives honored her with the Hattie Hemschemeyer Award.   In 2006, the American Public Health Association conferred its Martha May Eliot Award and she also is the recipient of eight honorary doctorate degrees.  Dr. Lubic was awarded a nursing degree from the U. of Pennsylvania and was graduated from Columbia University with a Ph.D. in applied anthropology.

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