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Midwifery Program


March of Dimes Graduate Nursing Scholarship: Shakima Wiggins, Class of 2018

After growing up in the housing projects of East New York, Brooklyn, and being raised by her grandmother who struggled to do it alone, Shakima has proudly returned to the communities of her youth as a public health nurse. She dropped out of high school, experienced homelessness, and numerous other crises, but overcame all of it as part of her journey to pursue the dream of becoming a nurse. 

Shakima is currently enrolled in the joint program of the College of Health Related Professions and the College of Nursing pursuing the Advance Certificate in Midwifery and the Masters of Science in Nurse-Midwifery. She completed her undergraduate studies at CUNY’s New York City College of Technology and now works for the Nurse Family Partnership, a national program aimed at helping mothers, children, and families achieve optimal birth, child-development and self-sufficiency outcomes. Her current work focuses on lactation consulting and childbirth educations. She advocates for women survivors of domestic violence and assault, and is developing a program using social media as a teaching and social support platform to address some of the many issues she champions. 

 Shakima recently learned that she was selected as one of this year's recipients of the March of Dimes graduate nursing scholarship that is awarded for exceptional work in maternal-child health. She embodies the essence of Downstate's mission and values. We are so very proud of her.

American College of Nurse-Midwives Foundation Scholarship: Chloe Campbell, Class of 2019

Chloe Campbell, SM, received an American College of Nurse-Midwives Foundation scholarship. This is a highly competitive award that recognizes her past contributions and future potential in serving women’s health. 


New York City Midwives Student Scholarship

Midwifery Student, Renée Fiorentino, Class of 2016, received the New York Midwives' Student Scholarship.


Renée Fiorentino came to midwifery after a varied career that included teaching health in a girls’ high school, researching long-term outcomes of a teenage pregnancy-prevention program, and serving as Evaluation Advisor to governments and projects in many low-income countries. She earned a degree in Public Health from Columbia University and has a deep commitment to social justice. She undertook the study of midwifery to become more directly involved in primary health care at individual and community levels and is committed to growing our profession to further extend the benefits of compassionate care to more families.

Renée has been involved in lobbying for midwifery legislation at the state and federal levels. Since 2014 she has worked with Karen Jefferson and Ronnie Lichtman on a proposal to summarize home birth routine service data.

Her future vision is for a system in which midwifery is integrated into effectively run health systems in order to meet the needs of all those seeking and deserving of high quality reproductive health services and justice. She is a strong believer in systems, data and standards. She desires to spend the next chapter of her career at that place where data meet and support patients.


New York City Midwives Student Scholarship

Midwifery student Lillian Dalke, Class of 2012, receivds the New York City Midwives Student Scholarship.

Lily Dalke who received her MS in Midwifery from SUNY Downstate in May 2012, has already taken the AMCB exam and is a newly certified midwife. She is a natural organizer and activist who seeks to change systems of inequity in many spheres. As a student, she took the initiative to create and present an entire module to the Downstate faculty on health and health care for gender minorities. Furthermore, she presented the first motion at the recent ACNM Annual Meeting in Long Beach. Her motion regarding midwives’ role in providing care to the transgender community was overwhelming approved by the membership! Lily is a member of CAMP and intends to promote pathways to licensure for CMs and CPMs in all 50 states.

New York City Midwives Student Scholarship

Midwifery student Nicole Ficaro, Class of 2011, receives the New York City Midwives Student Scholarship.

Nicole Ficaro received her MS in Midwifery from SUNY Downstate in May 2011. Nicole has been involved in global women’s health outreach for several years, including eight missions in Egypt as well as to Bangladesh, Philippines, Romania, Jamaica, Ecuador and Kenya. Most recently, she presented at the annual meeting in San Antonio about her work with a local health team while in Bangladesh. Nicole will be living & working in Jordan for the next 2 years serving very poor Jordanians as well as Palestinian and Iraqi refugees.

Although unable to attend the chapter meeting at which the scholarships were announced, Nicole sent the following remarks: “Thank you so much for awarding me this year's scholarship - I am honored to accept it! I am currently out of town going through an orientation before heading out to work overseas. This gift you have given me will go towards preparing to bring midwifery care to vulnerable refugee and nomadic women in the Middle East.”

New York City Midwives Student Scholarship

photo of Maria FreytsisMidwifery student Maria Freytsis, Class of 2007, receives the First ACNM Region 2, Chapter 1 Student Scholarship.

Prior to entering the SUNY Downstate Midwifery Program Maria had already demonstrated impressive professional leadership and long-standing involvement in midwifery advocacy. She attained an MPH from Columbia University while working part-time at the Elizabeth Seton Childbearing Center. She continued to work as an RN part-time or per diem throughout her full-time midwifery studies while maintaining a very high grade point average.

Maria was a co-founder and president of the board of Friends of the Birth Center (FBC). Even while a student at Downstate, she maintained her commitment to this organization and participated in advocacy, outreach & fundraising efforts.

Her international work has been focused on improving reproductive health services for women through the provision of direct clinical services as well as training local health care providers. She has traveled to many countries over the past 6 years. Examples include working with undocumented migrants on the US/Mexico border, indigenous communities in rural Peru and Guatemala, Turkish & Albanian families in pos-war Kosovo, Tibetans in remote areas of western China and tsunami survivors in Indonesia.

In her application for the chapter scholarship Maria wrote, "My commitment to advocacy and finding creative solutions to the challenges that midwives face, will help move the midwifery profession forward in the ever more complex and highly political birth culture and health care system of this country."

Maria brings compassionate, gentle support to laboring women and although her perspective is wide-ranging she understands that real change is accomplished one birth at a time.

Lily Hsia Midwifery Student Scholarship Award

Midwifery student Lydia Doublestein received the Lily Hsia Midwifery Student Scholarship Award in 2017.