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Midwifery Program


The Theresa Dondero Professional Midwife Award

Grace Holmes was one of the recipients of The Therese Dondero Professional Midwife Award.

Grace S. Holmes was a clear winner when one considers the established criteria for this award! Grace graduated from the SUNY Downstates Nurse-Midwifery Program in 1987 and worked as a staff nurse midwife at Woodhull Medical Hospital for three years. She then joined the faculty of the SUNY Downstate Nurse-Midwifery Program in September 1990 where she continued to work full-time. She has also kept her hands in clinical practice by working per-diem at Coney Island Hospital, MIC clinics and Woodhull Hospital.

In her capacity as faculty, Grace was a favorite mentor and role model for many midwifery students. She was honored by the Class of 1996 and again in 1997 with a student-initiated award of "Excellent Teacher." Her warm manner and light-hearted humor have put many an anxious student at ease. Her willingness to stay late or come early to practice physical exam technique, mechanisms of labor and many other skills have made her especially accessible to students. She always greeted each student with a smile and encouragement that she or he can and will learn the skill.

Grace was definitely a team player at work. Shewas never too busy to lend a hand to any one of her colleagues who asks for her assistance or to switch a clinical assignment to accommodate the other person's schedule. She was also a much sought-after guest lecturer on campus.

Grace was one of the visionaries who prompted the development of the first direct-entry track for non-nurses to become midwives. Grace worked hard with other faculty as well as many other dedicated midwives to make this dream a reality.

Grace was an ardent promoter and provider of midwifery care throughout the Brooklyn community. She worked with students of elementary age up through college, instructing them about their bodies, pregnancy prevention, and midwifery health care options. She participated regularly in all types of community activities including street fairs and school career days; she even taught emergency delivery technique to teachers at a teen pregnancy school! In addition, Grace maintained a limited practice as a childbirth educator. She taught classes both large and small to expectant women of all colors and creeds. She rarely said "no" to anyone has who has called asking for her services, regardless of their ability to pay.

Grace was an active participant in ACNM Region 2, Chapter 1 and served as the Vice-Chair and Chair. She is also committed to Metro Midwives of Color and is supportive of minority students and midwives in the region. There can be no question that Grace was a well-deserving recipient of a"Recognition of Excellence" award from the many midwives throughout the region who know and respect her as teacher, mentor, role model, colleague and friend.

Congratulations to Grace for a well deserved award! Grace passed away in 2017 after a tragic automobile accident. The Downstate and the midwifery communities will miss her.