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SUNY Downstate Medical Center

College of Health Related Professions – Midwifery Program


The Philosophy of the Program is as follows:

  1. Midwifery care respects the unique physical, emotional, social, and cultural characteristics of each individual and recognizes the strength and power of women.
  2. Midwifery care is based on a partnership with women, provided with compassion, continuity, human presence, and communication that demonstrates cultural humility and respect.
  3. Midwifery care fosters the belief that pregnancy and birth are normal physiologic processes to be respected and supported.
  4. Midwifery care fosters the belief that all life cycle stages and transitions are normal physiologic processes.
  5. Midwifery care supports judicious use of intervention and technology when necessary to ensure healthy outcomes for women and infants and recognizes that care must be individualized and based on the best available evidence.
  6. Midwifery care emphasizes health promotion and disease prevention and recognizes that these must be relevant to each person’s life experiences and knowledge, and must be offered in a health care system that is equitable, accessible, and ethical.
  7. Midwives provide education and counseling to empower women to make informed decisions, thereby assuming responsibility for their health and the health of their newborns.
  8. Midwives serve as advocates for women, newborns and families within the health care system and, within the struggle for basic human rights and social justice for all individuals, recognize that the violation of women’s rights violates the rights of all people.
  9. Midwifery care is family-centered and strives to involve the woman’s significant others in the delivery of care as the woman deems appropriate.
  10. Midwives recognize the potential transformative aspects of pregnancy and the childbirth experience and use these opportunities for enhancing the individual woman’s self-esteem, health, and personal growth. Midwives recognize that women’s health contributes to family, community, national, and global health.
  11. Midwifery is an independent health discipline possessing its own special core of knowledge, skills, and competencies, yet midwives recognize the need for consultation, collaboration, and referral as appropriate with other health care team members.
  12. Midwifery recognizes the importance of confidentiality and respect for privacy in all health care encounters.
  13. Midwifery education recognizes that education and continuing competency are lifelong pursuits and therefore the faculty is committed to providing opportunities for professional advancement for students and midwives.
  14. Midwifery education recognizes that adult students are responsible for their own learning and therefore the faculty provides a climate that facilitates the acquisition of knowledge and skills essential to safe clinical practice while respecting individual learning styles.
  15. Midwifery education promotes community services.
  16. Midwifery education at the graduate level promotes professional role development that mandates an ability to evaluate and implement research, to analyze local, state, national and international health care policy, to assess the health of communities, and to participate in teaching.
  17. Midwifery education and practice are based upon ethical principles.
  18. Midwifery education is enhanced through diversity in the student body and faculty.
  19. Individuals from a variety of educational and experiential backgrounds can be comparably prepared to enter the profession of midwifery as safe beginning practitioners.
  20. Faculty contribute to knowledge in the health professions through advancements in clinical practice; scholarly activities; basic and applied research; and professional service.


The Faculty’s Philosophy and Beliefs on Learning are as follows:

  1. Learning is a self-directed process for which the adult learner assumes primary responsibility
  2. The role of the midwifery faculty includes providing resources and support to facilitate student learning
  3. Individual faculty members differ in teaching styles. Students can benefit from exposure to a variety of approaches, both in the classroom and the clinical settings
  4. Evaluation is part of the learning process. Learning is facilitated by reinforcement and constructive feedback from others
  5. Students are responsible for self-evaluation and communication of learning needs to the faculty
  6. In clinical practice, it is the responsibility of the faculty to maintain boundaries of safety and it is the responsibility of the learner to respect those boundaries
  7. Learning is facilitated by a variety of instructional modalities and interprofessional approaches

    NOTE: "The faculty recognizes that today some pregnant people identify as men or are gender neutral. However, because the overwhelming majority of pregnancies occur in women, we have chosen at this time to refer to pregnant people as women. We also believe that, given the inequalities between the genders, the recognition of women's rights is important."



To graduate safe, beginning midwives. This is accomplished by assisting each student to:

  1. acquire depth and breadth of midwifery and related theory
  2. acquire competence in the performance of midwifery skills
  3. apply theoretical knowledge including evidenced based research to clinical practice
  4. utilize the midwifery management process in all aspects of midwifery care
  5. become a culturally competent primary health care provider for women



The program offers qualified post-baccalaureate students the opportunity to become safe beginning CNMs and CMs who are able to:

  1. Provide primary health care, encompassing gynecologic care, to essentially healthy women from adolescence through post-menopause.
  2. Manage the care of essentially healthy women during pregnancy, labor and birth, and the postpartum period.
  3. Monitor fetal growth and well-being during the prenatal and intrapartal periods.
  4. Assess the neonate's adaptation to extrauterine life, and initiate resuscitative measures when appropriate.
  5. Perform comprehensive neonatal assessment, facilitate the newborn's integration into the family, and provide anticipatory guidance related to infant care.
  6. Manage collaboratively the care of women with selected obstetrical, gynecologic and/or medical complications and make appropriate referrals.
  7. Provide emergency care as appropriate.
  8. Analyze the impact of health care policies, legislation, and socioeconomic trends on health care delivery systems and the practice of midwifery .
  9. Apply leadership, management, and teaching/learning theories to effect change within the health care delivery system for the betterment of patient services.
  10. Assess the needs of communities and promote changes in health care delivery that are responsive to the needs of specific populations, including the undeserved.
  11. Interpret, evaluate, and apply research studies relevant to women's health care and midwifery practice.
  12. Analyze the role research in promoting the advancement of midwifery education, practice, and maternal/child and women's health.


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