Midwifery Thinks! Symposium

Midwifery Thinks! is a national symposium celebrating midwifery scholarship and innovation in the United States. The first Midwifery Thinks! was dedicated to Dorthea M. Lang, a pioneer and courageous leader in midwifery who tirelessly promoted the profession of midwifery and the health of women and their families here in the United States and abroad. Now an established annual event, international leaders, local experts, and emerging midwifery leaders share strategies and find connections to promote maternal health.

Past Symposia

Midwifery Thinks! 2022

Advances in Midwifery

Jefferson College of Health Professions and the Midwifery Institute held its 4th annual Midwifery Thinks! Symposium highlighting innovations and midwifery scholarship. The virtual event featured scholars working in the midwifery model with diverse communities.

The online symposium took place on Sunday, August 28, 2022 from 1 PM - 4 PM.  Continuing education credits have been applied for.

Midwifery Thinks! 2020 has been approved by the American College of Nurse-Midwives for 3.5 CEs.

2021 Symposium Highlights

The symposium took place on August 29, 2021.

Keynote Speakers

April Ward, MSN, CNM 


April Ward, MSN, CNM has completed all work for the Doctorate in Midwifery  (D.M.) degree and will graduate in August, 2021. Her advances in midwifery project focuses on collaborating with a rural Old Order Mennonite community in New York to improve access to care responsive to the community as health care options constrict in the area. A practicing midwife since 2002, she has worked in a variety of settings including a Federally Qualified Health Center, tertiary and community hospitals, and homes. In 2014, she opened a private practice specializing in integrative women's health care across the lifespan. April has a special interest in the dynamic relationship between nutrition and women's hormonal health. She has spoken at corporate and community events, and is involved with organizations promoting women's entrepreneurial success in upstate New York.

Thamarah Crevecoeur, CNM, DrPH 

Thamarah Crevecoeur, CNM, DrPH is a midwife in Boston. She received the Carrington-Hsia-Nieves Doctoral Scholarship for Midwives of Color in 2020.  Fluent in English, Haitian, and Creole, Dr. Crevecoeur uses her public health and midwifery expertise to work with the Haitian immigrant community to improve access to culturally and linguistically appropriate health care.

Julie Blumenfeld, DNP, CNM, IBCLC, FACNM 

Julie Blumenfeld, DNP, CNM, IBCLC, FACNM
Dr. Julie Blumenfeld is a Certified Nurse-Midwife and Board-Certified Lactation Consultant. She began her work in healthcare as a Peace Corps volunteer. She practices midwifery at Capital Health in Trenton, New Jersey, and is the Chair of the Midwifery Section. In addition to her clinical responsibilities, Julie is dedicated to serving the community in Trenton. She is the clinical consultant for a Spanish language community doula program. Additionally, she serves on the NJ Board of Medical Examiners Midwifery Liaison Committee and the NJ Maternal Mortality Review Committee. Julie is active in the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) at both the local and national levels. She is the president of the New Jersey Affiliate of the ACNM. She serves on the ACNM State Government Affairs Committee and Alliance for Innovation in Maternal Health.  Julie holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice from Rutgers University where she is adjunct faculty in the Department of Midwifery.

Teresita Carrasquillo 



Teresita Carrasquillo moved from Puerto Rico to New Jersey with her husband and three children in 2001. She was trained and certified as a labor doula, childbirth educator, and teen educator with Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA) in 2015. In 2016, Teresita began doing volunteer work at the Children's Home Society of New Jersey (CHSNJ). She offered childbirth classes in Spanish to the participants of the CUNA program and also supported many families from the Hispanic community in Trenton during labor and birth as a volunteer doula. The CUNA program provides linguistically and culturally appropriate prenatal health, education, and support to the Latinx community of Mercer County New Jersey in a welcoming, supportive environment. In 2018, Teresita began working as a consultant for the CHSNJ to plan Apoyando Madres/Armando Redes (AMAR, or Supporting Mothers/Creating Networks) Community-Based Doula Program. In 2019, Teresita was hired as the doula supervisor for AMAR. AMAR Community-Based Doula Program has served 65 Hispanic families from Trenton and the doulas have welcomed 53 healthy babies. Teresita loves to support families from the community during pregnancy, labor, birth, and the postpartum period, and feels very blessed to have the opportunity to do so.

Maritza I. Raimundi-Petroski 


Maritza I. Raimundi-Petroski (she/her/Ella) is the Vice-President of Strategic Initiatives, Prevention Programs, and Community Engagement at The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey (CHSofNJ), where she has built a career for nearly 15 years. Before becoming Vice-President at CHSofNJ, she was CHSofNJ’s Division Director for Maternal Child Health, Family, and Community Support Services. She has worked in nonprofit management for over 24 years. She has expertise in organizational development, program design, program implementation, and contract management, including serving as the Chief Program Officer for a multi-million dollar county-wide Community Action Agency in New Jersey. She currently serves as a Board Member for the Trenton Health Team’s Board of Trustees, a member of the Womanspace’s Community Advisory Board, a member of the Horizon NJ Health Hispanic Advisory Group, and a member of the American Translators Association. In the capacity of VP, she leads a team of exceptional professionals, and she’s responsible for contract management and administration of programs in Mercer, Ocean, and Monmouth Counties. 

Maritza just completed the first inaugural cohort of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation’s Learning to Applied Practice: Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression program in 2021 along with other professionals across the country and recently completed her Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace Certificate at the University of South Florida’s MUMA College of Business. She received her training and certification as a Community Health Worker from the School of Public Health, Management, and Labor Relations at Rutgers University and her Family Development Credential from the School of Social Work’s Institute for Families at Rutgers. Maritza earned a Master in Public Administration with a concentration in nonprofit management from the Graduate School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers-Newark and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the same institution. Maritza is a HISPA (Hispanics Inspiring Student’s Performance and Achievement) Role Model and a member of the Center for Hispanic Policy Research and Development, a recently created Alumni Association. Maritza is also the co-founder of MAPA Collaborative, LLC. This management consulting firm provides expert-based advice to individuals and organizations seeking to improve performance, create strategies and optimize operations.

Barbara Hackley, PhD, CNM, FACNM

Associate Professor
Former Dorothea Lang Term Chair
Inaugural Program Director, Doctorate of Midwifery


Barbara Hackley, PhD, CNM, FACNM was the founding director of the Doctorate in MIdwifery, the first discipline-specific doctoral program for midwifery in the nation. Over her career, she has served as a faculty member at Georgetown, Columbia, and Yale Universities. She has been the recipient of numerous awards recognizing her teaching abilities, scholarly work, and clinical expertise in expanding critical services such as mental health care, immunizations, asthma care, and obesity management to pregnant and postpartum women. More recently, she served as the Director of the Resiliency Initiative, South Bronx Health Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center in the South Bronx serving one of the poorest Congressional Districts in the nation. In that capacity, she created, implemented, and evaluated programs designed to mitigate toxic stress associated with poverty. Key elements of the Resiliency Initiative, a collaboration between nutrition, mental health, obstetric, midwifery, and pediatric providers, include screening for social determinants of health in prenatal and pediatric care, group perinatal care, linkages to community services, and maternal-infant dyadic therapy. Preliminary results of these programs are promising. Barb is excited to mentor doctoral students and have the opportunity to work together with other members of the Philadelphia and Thomas Jefferson communities to create health care and educational programs that encourage the development of new models of transdisciplinary transformational health care.

2020 Symposium Highlights

 The symposium took place on August 23, 2020.

2020 Speakers

  • Judith Mercer, PhD, CNM, FACNM: Umbilical Clamping: First Do No Harm
  • Erin Biscone DNP, CNM, FACNM, Kendra Faucett DNP, CNM, and Emily C. McGahey MSN, CNM: Midwifery and the US Birth Certificate: Why ensuring birth certificate accuracy should be the priority of every midwife
  • Lauren Anita Arrington, CNM, MSN, DNP: Launching the Reduction of Peripartum Racial / Ethnic Disparities Bundle: A QualityImprovement Project
  • Barbara Reale, CNM, MSN, FACNM: Patient Satisfaction with Provider Communication is Centering vs. Traditional Prenatal Care
  • Helen McLachlan, RN, RM, MNUrs, PhD and Della Forster, DipAppSci, BAppSci, MMid, PhD: Improving outcomes through midwifery research: A snapshot of innovative research from Victoria, Australia

Keynote Speakers

Judith Mercer, PhD, CNM, FACNM obtained her midwifery education at Columbia University graduating in 1974, and a doctorate from The Catholic University of America in 1989. She practiced midwifery in all settings throughout her career while focusing on midwifery education and serving as program director at Georgetown from 1980 to 1990. She has been funded by NIH four times for her work on the effects of delayed cord clamping for preterm and term infants and has presented her research worldwide. In 2014, she received the Hattie Hempschmeyer Award from ACNM. She was a former Research Scientist at Women & Infants Hospital, and an Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at Alpert School of Medicine, Brown University. Currently, she is Professor Emerita at the University of Rhode Island and Consultant at the Neonatal Research Institute at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women and Newborns in San Diego where she is co-investigator with Dr. Anup Katheria on the MINVI Trial (Milking in Non-Vigorous Infants).

Helen McLachlan (RN, RM, MNUrs, PhD), is a Professor and Discipline Lead (Midwifery) in the College of Health, Science and Engineering at La Trobe University, and is a Registered Nurse and Midwife in Australia. She has led research into the development of innovative models of maternity care and was the lead investigator of the largest randomised controlled trial of caseload midwifery in the world. Her other research interests include Indigenous maternal and child health, breastfeeding, postnatal depression, midwifery education, and translating research into practice. She is currently leading a major Australian National Health and Medical Research Council-funded project which is evaluating the impact of caseload midwifery for Aboriginal women (a project which recently won a major award by the Victorian Government for Improving Aboriginal Health). Helen supervises PhD and Masters students in the areas of midwifery education, models of maternity care, early parenting, breastfeeding, perinatal depression, and maternity care for women with disabilities. She is also involved in teaching midwifery and maternal and child health students in the undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

Della Forster (DipAppSci, BAppSci, MMid, PhD) is a recognised international leader in researching maternal and infant health. She has a joint appointment as a Professor of Midwifery and Maternity Services Research at the Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University, and the Royal Women’s Hospital (RWH), and extensive experience as a clinical midwife. She is Director of the Midwifery and Maternity Services research Unit at the RWH, and Deputy Director of Research there. Della has extensive experience in conducting large, health service and community-based randomised controlled trials, state-wide surveys, and research translation projects, and expertise in quantitative research and mixed methods, with a focus on pregnancy, birth, the postnatal period, maternity services and models of maternity care. She currently holds Australian National Health and Medical Research Council grants in the areas of maternal health and wellbeing and models of midwifery care. Della has established research collaborations with peak community consumer organizations, a strong track record of consumer engagement in research, and is a leader in exploring women’s views, experiences, and outcomes across the maternity care episode. She also leads work exploring wellbeing among midwives, nurses, and others, and consistently includes work in clinician views and wellbeing in her large studies of maternity care.

2019 Symposium Highlights

The symposium took place on the Center City campus of Thomas Jefferson University August, 2019.

Keynote Speakers

Saraswathi Vedam is the Lead Investigator of the Birth Place Lab and Professor of Midwifery in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. Over the past 35 years, she has served as a clinician, educator, researcher, and mother to four remarkable young women. Professor Vedam has coordinated several transdisciplinary and community-led research projects. She led the Canadian Birth Place Study examining attitudes to place of birth among maternity care providers; and Changing Childbirth in BC, a provincial, participatory study of women’s experiences of maternity care. She is currently PI of a national CIHR-funded national research project to evaluate respectful maternity care across Canada. In the US, she lead the Access and Integration Maternity care Mapping (AIMM) Study on the impact of the integration of midwives on maternal-newborn outcomes, and the Giving Voice to Mothers Study that explored experiences of respect, discrimination, and inequities in quality of care among communities of color. Her scholarly work includes development of pragmatic tools that improve person-centered care, including patient-designed quality measures: Mothers’ Autonomy in Decision Making (MADM) scale and the Mothers on Respect (MORi) index, which received the 2017 National Quality Forum Innovation Prize. In 2017 she was selected as a Michael Smith Health Research Institute Health Professional Investigator.

Professor Vedam has been active in setting national and international policy on place of birth, and midwifery education and regulation. She has provided expert consultations to policy makers, public health agencies, and legislators in Mexico, Hungary, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Canada, the US, and India. She was Convener and Chair of 4 national Birth Summits in the United States. At these historic summits, a multi-stakeholder group of leaders crafted a common agenda to address equitable access to high-quality maternity care across communities in the United States.

Professor Holly Powell Kennedy, PhD, CNM, FACNM, FAAN is the inaugural Helen Varney Professor of Midwifery at the Yale University School of Nursing and past President of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. She received her midwifery education from the Frontier School of Midwifery & Family Nursing, her masters and family nurse practitioner education from Georgia Regent’s University, and her doctorate from the University of Rhode Island. Her program of research is focused on a greater understanding of the effectiveness of specific models of care during the childbearing year. She completed a Fulbright Distinguished Fellowship at King's College London in 2008 where she has an appointment as a visiting professor. She has 30 years of educational experience with midwives and physicians and in educational program development and accreditation.

Presented by

The Midwifery Institute at Jefferson

Dedicated to

Dorothea M. Lang, CNM, MPH, FACNM career in midwifery spanned decades and drew from her colleagues the respect of being elected to the ACNM Board of Directors for more than 12 years culminating as ACNM President (1975-77), and being named President of the A.C.N.M. Foundation, Inc. (1977-84). Over her life, the profession granted her its highest honors, including the inaugural class of ACNM Fellowship (1994) and the Hattie Hemschemeyer Award (1986) for contributions to the development and advancement of midwifery. The most distinguished honor bestowed by the A.C.N.M. Foundation is named the Dorothea M. Lang Pioneer Award, for which she was its benefactor since 2002.

Ms. Lang completed her bachelor's in nursing at Albright College (1957) and Reading Hospital School of Nursing (1956) and her nurse-midwifery education in 1959 from the combined Maternity Center Association / Johns Hopkins University affiliate program. In 1965, she received a master's of public health degree from Columbia University.  From there, her courageous pioneering spirit was made evident through her tireless promotion of the value of midwives for women and families in New York State. In 1965, when fewer than 50 U.S. midwives practiced full-scope midwifery, beginning as a nurse educator in the New York City Maternal-Infant Care (MIC) Project, she convinced the city that midwives were integral to improving maternity care. She developed a separate department and developed programs that provided midwifery care from prenatal clinics, through the hospital, and back to the community. Expanding midwifery coverage from two hospitals to 23, and leading the most comprehensive midwifery care in the U.S. at the time, Dorothea overcame the problems inherent in big city finance, politics, and logistics to provide health care to underserved populations. She later courageously stimulated discussion of expanded pathways to accredited midwifery education in the 1970s and into the late 1990s when a single standard of midwifery, entered through post-nursing or post-health science pathways, became the law in New York with the enactment of the Professional Midwifery Practice Act of 1992. She was honored with NY Midwife License #001. Her pioneering work toward a unified professional standard of midwifery is continued today in the United States Midwifery Education, Regulation, and Association (US-MERA) documents signed by every major midwifery organization in the United States.

Her leadership and influence extended worldwide. Born in Japan to missionary parents, Ms. Lang returned to Japan in the early 1960s. There she observed midwifery in a hospital setting, with the midwife an integral part of the maternity team. She was determined to replicate this model in MIC. She later served as a midwifery consultant in Puerto Rico, throughout the U.S. and the world. In her long relationship with the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), she co-chaired the fundraising for the only ICM Triennial Congress held in the U.S. (1972), represented the ACNM and North America as an Executive Committee member of the ICM, and represented ICM as a nongovernmental organization at the United Nations. Her commitment to interprofessional education and practice was demonstrated by her serving as a member of the committee that developed the first ACNM Joint Statement with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).