A midwife working with a pregnant mother
By Eleanor Hasenbeck and Felina Ortiz

Celebrate Nurse Midwives

During National Midwifery week, recognize the integral role nurse-midwives play in women’s health

New Mexico babies aren’t the only ones kicking for joy this week, as The University of New Mexico College of Nursing is celebrating New Mexico’s nurse midwives and all they do to provide care for women and children in our state.

National Midwifery Week, Oct. 3-9, was established by the American College of Nurse-Midwives to recognize midwives and midwife-led care. 

Midwives don’t just catch babies during labor. Nurse-midwives provide holistic care to women throughout their lives, from their first menstruation to the transition through menopause and beyond. That includes providing primary care, gynecologic treatments and contraception and more.

The UNM College of Nursing Nurse-Midwifery program is among the best in the nation, ranked 11th nationwide according to U.S. News & World Report. Their alumni are making an impact in New Mexico, with a majority of graduates remaining in the state. These nurses are providing critical care to families in communities that are historically under-represented.

“At UNM, we’re working to improve healthcare access and availability, particularly in rural parts of our state,” said Felina Ortiz, a clinician educator and assistant professor in the College of Nursing. “A nurse-midwife in these communities can provide a broad range of specialized woman’s health services, like well-woman annual exams. Of course, we can help care for mothers and babies, too.”

UNM’s nurse-midwifery program is recognized nationally as a leader in serving students of color, and the College of Nursing is working to increase the number of midwives of color to mirror New Mexico’s population.  

Just under 30% of the College of Nursing’s graduates identify as black, indigenous or a person of color. Nationally, the midwives of color account for approximately 10% of all midwives according to a 2017 article in the Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health. 

In celebration of National Midwifery Week, the College of Nursing would like to recognize the following UNM nurse-midwives of color who are providing care for New Mexico communities:


Hien Tran, MSN, RN, CNM

Tran is a first-generation middle school and high school graduate. She is as a certified nurse-midwife serving patients at UNM Hospital. Originally from Vietnam, Tran has a longstanding history of community engagement including working with youth groups, adolescents, Albuquerque Public Schools, and the Asian and Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian communities. 

If you are interested in making an impact on women’s and children’s health in your community, visit the UNM College of Nursing’s website and learn more about becoming a master’s prepared nurse-midwife. High school students are encouraged to sign up for the American College of Nurse Midwives’ Wave of Midwifery program. This initiative provides monthly seminars for high school students of color interested in midwifery until December.  

If you would prefer to support or honor a nurse-midwife for Nurse-Midwifery week, consider making a donation to the UNM College of Nursing.

Categories: Community Engagement, Top Stories, Women's Health