Beyond Rhetoric: Building and Achieving Community Consensus in Planning and Developing an Innovative Public Health Nurse-Midwifery Education Program


Address correspondence to Gail Douglas, R.N., M.P.H., Health Services Department, Boston University School of Public Health, 80 East Concord Street, Room A-317, Boston, MA 02118.


Abstract Program planners collaborated with communities to achieve the goal of increasing the number of public health-educated nurse-midwives, and thus improve women's access to health services. By developing an innovative master's degree in public health nurse-midwifery education program, Boston University School of Public Health revitalized a model first developed at Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health. The dearth of nurse-midwifery education programs in the Northeast, coupled with the critical deficit of obstetric providers, had contributed to an alarmingly high infant mortality rate in Boston. This academic program is an exciting alternative for meeting the health care needs of mothers and children and achieving the year 2000 objectives for the nation. Such a program, coupled with a foundation in public health education, synthesizes the best in nursing, nurse-midwifery, and public health. Graduate nurse-midwives will have an enhanced understanding of the health care delivery system, the causal factors that contribute to disease, and the environmental, legal, and management dimensions surrounding the delivery of care.