Doctor of Midwifery

College

  • Online
  • College of Health Professions

Degree Earned

  • Doctorate

Program Length

3 years

Program Type

  • Online

Project & Program Information

Positions:
  • Doctoral Program Coordinator
  • Teaching Associate Professor
Contact Number(s):

Program Information

Name: Midwifery & Women’s Health Programs
Organization: Jefferson – Center City Campus

130 S. Ninth Street, Suite 960
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Contact Number(s):

Contact Admissions

Contact Number(s):

Alumni Doctoral Projects & Profiles

For more information about the projects or the Doctor of Midwifery program, please contact Dana Perlman, DNP, CNM, FACNM

Heidi Loomis, CRNP, CNM

Class of 2022

Doctoral Project

Title of Advances in Midwifery (AIM) Project:
Graduate Midwifery Students’ Experiences of Bias in the Clinical Setting

Heidi Loomis, CRNP, CNM is currently a midwifery doctoral student at the Midwifery Institute at Jefferson. Heidi is a family nurse practitioner and certified nurse-midwife who has worked in family practice and women’s health for over twenty-five years, most recently working as a midwife for the Geisinger Health System in Central Pennsylvania where she has been employed for over twenty years.  She is a graduate of Juniata College, Yale School of Nursing, and Frontier Nursing University. She provides full scope care to women, including contraceptive care, gynecologic and well-woman care and annual preventative exams. While most of the labor and birth care she provides is in the hospital, she also has experience supporting women who choose to give birth at home. In addition to providing clinical care, she has actively participated in the expansion of midwifery services for women and families in the Lewistown and State College, Pennsylvania communities. Her work also includes the training of family nurse practitioner and midwife graduate students and family medicine residents.

Sandra Macon

Class of 2022

Doctoral Project

Title of Advances in Midwifery (AIM) Project: 
Community Birth Transfer Rates Associated with Body Mass Index ≥30 Compared to Transfer Rates Associated with Age ≥35 and Nulliparity


Allison Rosenbaum

Class of 2022

Doctoral Project

Title of Advances in Midwifery (AIM) Project:
Characteristics, Emotional Experience, and Impact of Unplanned Out-of-Hospital Births in the City of Beit Shemesh, Israel


Rebecca Starkey

Class of 2022

Doctoral Project

Title of Advances in Midwifery (AIM) Project:
Educational Intervention for Midwives’ Self-efficacy in Genetic Counseling


April Ward, DM, CNM

Class of 2020
September Hill Midwifery, Burdett, NY
Botanic Her Women’s Health, Skaneateles, NY

Doctoral Project

Title of Advances in Midwifery (AIM) Project: 
Prenatal Needs and Preferences in an Old Order Mennonite Community

April Ward, DM, MSN, CNM has been a practicing midwife since 2002. She has worked in a variety of settings, including a Federally Qualified Health Center, tertiary level hospitals, community-level hospitals, and homes. In 2014, she opened a private practice specializing in integrative women’s health care across the lifespan. She has a special interest in the dynamic relationship between nutrition and women’s hormonal health. April has spoken on these topics at corporate and community events, and she is involved with organizations that promote women’s entrepreneurial success in Upstate New York. She founded an integrative wellness and herbal health consultation service. April’s other interests include improving health for rural mothers and babies and ensuring access to midwives as health care options constrict in these areas.

Emily McGahey, DM, CNM

Class of 2020
Associate Clinical Director
The Midwife Center for Birth & Women's Health
Pittsburgh, PA

Doctoral Project

Assessing Accuracy of Attending Provider on the Pennsylvania Birth Certificate

Dr. McGahey received her undergraduate nursing degree from Creighton University in Omaha, NE. She then pursued her midwifery education at the University of New Mexico. Emily has worked at The Midwife Center for Birth and Women’s Health in Pittsburgh, PA since 2011 where she continues to practice full-scope midwifery. Since moving to Pennsylvania, Emily has been active with the Pennsylvania Affiliate of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (PA-ACNM). She served as President of the Affiliate from 2012 through 2018. She now serves in the role of Legislative Committee Co-Chair, assisting PA-ACNM in furthering midwifery through legislation, education, and advocacy. Emily participated in the founding committee for the PA-ACNM’s Midwifery Forward statewide conference and continues to serve as an active member of this committee. Emily also participates on the State Government Affairs Committee and the Committee for Midwife Advocates of the Certified Midwife of the ACNM.  She chose to pursue her doctorate at Jefferson as she is dedicated to the advancement of midwifery in the United States and desired an opportunity to combine her passion for policy and midwifery. Emily’s doctoral work focuses on assessing the accuracy of Pennsylvania birth certificates in capturing midwifery-attended births.

Elizabeth Arnold-Leahy, DM, CNM

Class of 2019
Midwife
Park Slope Midwives
Brooklyn, NY

Doctoral Project

Abdominal Palpation by Advanced Practitioners (APEx)

Dr. Arnold-Leahy is a midwife who has been in clinical practice for over 30 years in New York City and feels fortunate to have found her calling in improving the world by supporting one woman and her defined family, one birth at a time. Over the years, she has been a service director, active in local and state midwifery politics, and a maternal-child health policy adviser. She is currently employed in a midwife owned and operated private practice. A united midwifery in the United States is another passion of hers.

Dr. Arnold-Leahy’s doctoral project focused on our understanding of midwifery management of occiput posterior labors. This particular position and its effects confound practitioners of all types and result in increased morbidity. She hopes to continue gather our existing knowledge, create a compendium of best practices, and disseminate it to provide alternate solutions to improve maternal and child outcomes.

Máiri Breen Rothman, DM, CNM, FACNM

Class of 2019
Director
M.A.M.A.S., Inc., Tacoma Park, MD

Dr. Breen Rothman received a BSN from Catholic University, a CNM from Frontier School of Midwifery & Family Nursing, and an MSN from Case Western Reserve University.  A fierce advocate for women’s sovereignty, Mairi has been a midwife since 1996, practicing in home, birth center, clinic, and hospital settings.  She helped start two birth centers in Maryland and DC, and currently directs a home birth service, M.A.M.A.S., Inc., founded in 2007.  She and co-founder, Erin Fulham, CNM, pioneered “Community Care,” combining group prenatal care with home visits.  M.A.M.A.S. won 2014 and 2015 ACNM Benchmarking National Best Practice Award for exemplary outcomes. She has taught students from numerous programs, both clinically and in the classroom, and was recently given Georgetown’s 2015 Midwifery Advocate Award. Her political advocacy work earned her the 2010 ACNM Policy Award. Mairi has collaborated with a midwives association in rural El Salvador since 2005, and hopes to accompany them to the ICM Pan American Region meeting in 2018.  Mairi also holds degrees in Dance (BA) and Communication Arts & Theatre (MA) from the University of Maryland, and has led the Heart of Midwifery sessions at the ACNM Annual Meeting since 2001. She lives in Takoma Park, MD with her husband and last child remaining in the nest.  In her spare time she leads a women’s choir, WomanSpirit Singers, and enjoys making music with her family.

Nikki Christian-Genius, DM, CNM

Class of 2019
Proprietor
Faith, Hope, and Love Midwifery Services, Inc.
Reisterstown, MD

Doctoral Project

Buds to Blossoms: A Mentoring Program for Adolescent Girls

Nikki Christian-Genius, CNM, DM has over 20 years’ experience in serving the women of the Baltimore region. She is one of the first midwives in the nation to obtain a Doctorate in Midwifery and is currently one of only two Black midwives to hold this discipline-specific doctorate. She has a passion for serving the under-served and is committed to helping to close the gap in racial disparities in health care. She specializes in the care and mentoring of adolescent women. Dr. Nikki leads the team in providing comprehensive and holistic, midwife-led care at Faith, Hope, and Love Midwifery Services.

Susanrachel Condon, DM, CNM

Class of 2019
Director, Midlife Midwife, PC
Co-Director - River and Mountain Midwives, PLLC
Gardiner, NY

Doctoral Project

Birthside Manner

Dr. Condon graduated from the SUNY Brooklyn Midwifery Program in 1998. She is also a certified cooperative childbirth educator, a sexual health instructor, and a massage therapy instructor, who has taught broadly in numerous programs and venues throughout the US. Susanrachel holds a BFA in Art Therapy, an MA in Women’s Studies/History of Ideas and has studied birth counseling with Gayle Peterson and counseling for pregnant survivors of sexual abuse with Penny Simkin. Her research interests include the long-term impact of conventional maternity care practices on mental health and wellbeing. Her doctoral project was centered on consent, collaborative decision-making, overt obstetric violence and subtle, unconscious coercive practices as barriers to respectful care.

Wendy Gordon, DM, MPH, CPM

Class of 2019
Chair & Associate Professor, Midwifery Department
Bastyr University, Seattle, WA

Doctoral Project

Changing Anti-Racism Behavior: A Pilot Study among Students, Faculty, and Staff at Bastyr University

Dr. Gordon is Chair of the Midwifery Department at Bastyr University. She also provides prenatal, birth and postpartum care to families through the Center for Birth Midwives in Seattle. Dr. Gordon has had a twisting career path that included refinery engineering in Minneapolis, corporate recruiting in Kansas, and human resources work in Portland. She discovered her calling to midwifery in 2001. She entered Seattle Midwifery School's three-year program and graduated in fall 2005 with the Jo Anne Myers-Ciecko Award for Outstanding Scholarship and Leadership. While helping to build a busy practice in Portland for seven years, Dr. Gordon began teaching at Seattle Midwifery School (now Bastyr) in 2007.

Dr. Gordon serves as the president of the board of directors of the Association of Midwifery Educators (AME). In 2019, Dr. Gordon served as one of two Certified Professional Midwives on a committee for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) to assess health outcomes by birth setting.

Karen Jefferson, DM, CM, FACNM

Class of 2019
Adjunct Professor 

Doctoral Project

Increasing Access to Midwifery through Association Building

Dr. Jefferson joined the Jefferson faculty after graduating with her Doctorate in Midwifery as part of the inaugural class. Prior to joining the faculty, she co-owned a private midwifery practice in NYC for 17 years, and attending births at home. A SUNY Downstate graduate, Karen Jefferson is a member of the board of directors of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Her advocacy work helped pass two major midwifery bills in NY, and she is now working to support licensure for Certified Midwives in all 50 states. Her scholarly focus is on strengthening midwifery associations as well as changing public policy surrounding licensure and regulation of midwives in the U.S.

Paula Pelletier-Butler, DM, CPM

Class of 2019
Proprietor/Executive Director
Flagstaff Birth and Women's Center, Flagstaff, AZ

Doctoral Project

Midwifery Centers as a Global Maternity Care Solution: A Multinational Qualitative Case Study

Dr. Pelletier-Butler has a background in nursing and massage therapy and has been working in the women’s health and empowerment field since 1986. Paula’s love and passion for midwifery began with the births of her three children, all born with the loving assistance of a midwife. She received her Master’s of Science in Midwifery from Bastyr University and her Doctorate in Midwifery from Thomas Jefferson University. Her doctoral dissertation was titled Midwifery Centers as a Global Maternity Care Solution: a qualitative case study and she looks forward to continued international workPaula is currently the Owner/Executive Director and midwife at Flagstaff Birth and Women’s Center. She is also on the board of directors for the American Association of Birth Centers and on faculty at Bastyr University. In her spare time, she loves hiking, dancing, cooking, reading, playing cribbage and spending time with her husband, kids, and extended family..

Elle Annalise Schnetzler, DM, CM, FACNM

Class of 2019
Lieutenant Colonel - United States Army

Doctoral Project

Diversification of the Midwifery Workforce through Pipeline Programs with Minority Serving Institutions

Dr. Schnetzler currently serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army and is committed to reducing racial and ethnic healthcare disparities among women. She received her commission as an officer in the United States Army through the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Program as a Medical Service Officer in 2004 from Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, NC, where she obtained a degree in biology. Dr. Schnetzler earned a master’s degree in midwifery from Philadelphia University in 2014, and practiced midwifery in the capital region of New York prior to starting doctoral education. She is a division director in the volunteer leadership of the American College of Nurse-Midwives and is Founder of Midwifery In Color, a foundation for the preservation and perpetuity of the legacy of midwives of color and the midwifery profession.Her doctoral work was focused on developing pipeline programs and initiatives from undergraduate programs at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) to graduate midwifery programs, thereby growing the profession and increasing the number of midwives of color, a vital strategy to dismantling healthcare disparities among women.