Like Dr. Martin Luther King, who in 1968 had a dream, the ACNM in 1993 had a vision: that “Every woman who needs/desires a CNM as a primary health care provider will have access to one.”
The Vision was first defined at a Visionary Summit Meeting in Washington, D.C. in May 1993 by ACNM leaders and reported to the membership at the Annual Meeting in Orlando as well as in these pages last September (1–3). Three documents (1993 Preface; Global Vision of Women, Their Health, and the Health of Their Families; and A Vision of the Profession of Nurse-Midwifery) were developed.
In December 1993, the ACNM sponsored an Invitational Women's Health Planning Summit as the next step to verify and amplify our vision with other women's health activists. A panel representing leadership in health policy, cultural/ethnic communities, and women's health studies defined what they thought the health care needs of women are, and began to identify strategies to meet those needs. It was gratifying to note that the ACNM's Global Vision was an accurate reflection of the needs identified by these activists.
Next, the ACNM plans neighborhood meetings across the country to listen to groups of vulnerable women to insure that our Vision accurately reflects the needs of these women as they see them.
The Vision has been defined. Now comes the hard part—action. As Joel Barker says in his videotape, which many ACNM members have seen, “Vision with action can change the world” (4).
The action will require the commitment of all CNMs, not just the ACNM leadership. We'll need concrete, pragmatic strategies to achieve our Vision. We'll need networking on the local level. We'll need intensive efforts to lobby federal and state officials as health care reform is debated. We'll need every CNM to recruit two students to the profession every year and every CNM to provide clinical experience for these students. We'll need financial resources. We'll need coalitions of health care professionals and consumers who share our Vision of improved health care for women and infants.
Women and the ACNM need you for this vision to become reality.