UI midwifery program hopes to fill health care deficit

IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa is launching a program to train nurse-midwives as a way of helping to address the shortage of maternal health care providers in the state.

Professor Lastascia Coleman, at the UI Hospitals and Clinics, says nurse-midwives can provide health care in many areas. “Most people associate nurse-midwives with pregnancy and birth,” she says, “but midwives can also provide primary care, regular gynecologic care, really care throughout the lifespan.”

Coleman says the program has four clinics, two of which are located in rural areas in Muscatine and Washington. “We’re delivering care intentionally really, in those spaces, because they’ve lost their labor and birth units to closure,” she says, “and so that’s one way we can see midwifery practices across the state serving patients who live in rural areas.”

Coleman says the application cycle for next year starts in mid-December and ends in February.

The program admits four students every fall. To qualify, students must have a bachelor’s degree and be a registered nurse. After the five-semester program, students will obtain a master’s degree in midwifery, which will allow them to take the necessary board exam.