[Friday Wrap Up]: 20

This week my heart has been full and mind swirling with thoughts about midwifery and access.

I had the great pleasure of getting to hear Jennie Joseph speak for a fundraiser for Open Arms Perinatal Services. She’s a CPM in Florida and runs a birth center and “easy access clinic”–a model of prenatal care she developed to increase care for low-income and uninsured folks in her community. The basic idea is that one day a week, her clinic is open to everyone–doesn’t matter how much money you have, or whether you have insurance or not. You walk in the door, you get prenatal care. Given the high rates of pre-term birth and low-birth weight babies in the African-American community, this is huge. Her clinic has astounding results.

It was really exciting to participate in the smaller focus group after the lunch and hear the passion and excitement of the Seattle midwifery community to replicate this model in the Seattle area. It also reaffirmed for me that my passion and drive to become a midwife is truly fueled by my desire to increase access to quality reproductive health care and improve maternal health outcomes. One of the things that really struck me was Jennie’s plea for midwives to let go of their egos a bit, in order to truly serve those that need us most. It’s not about midwives getting all the credit: it’s about collaborating in powerful ways to do what we need to do to improve maternal health.

Another interesting piece that crossed my feeds this week is an NPR article on the trend of group medical care.

Group medical appointments can work for all kinds of routine care — from post-surgical joint replacement follow-up to chronic conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease. In 2010, about 13 percent of family physicians reported conducting group visits, more than double the 6 percent that did so in 2005, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

In a typical group visit, a doctor, often helped by a nurse, sits down with as many as a dozen patients for up to two hours. Each patient gets a chance to ask questions and listen to others’ concerns. The doctor facilitates the discussion.

This has been happening in the world of midwifery for a while–it’s called Centering Pregnancy, and there’s quite a bit of evidence to support this model for group prenatal care. I know for many people, the idea of group care of any kind sounds horrible–issues of privacy come up, of course. But I can’t help feeling like there’s a lot be gained by connecting individuals with a community that’s going through a similar experience. Group care seems like it has a lot of potential to decrease the stigmatization of many experiences.

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