Ms. Ernst was the second director of thre Columbia University Nurse-Midwifery Program, established the Booth Maternity Center Refresher Program, and conducted the first accreditation of schools of midwifery. She served as ACNM President from 1961 to 1963 and as ACNM Vice-President from 1981 to 1983. She currently is Director of the National Association of Childbearing Centers. Ms. Ernst drafted the initial design for the Community Based Nurse-Midwifery Program (CNEP) and admitted the first two classes to the Pilot Program before moving its headquarters to the campus of the Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing in Hyden, Kentucky. She was the 1988 recipient of the ACNM's highest honor—the Hattie Hemschemeyer Award.