AURORA, Colo. (September 27, 2023) – The University of Colorado College of Nursing received a $2 million grant to increase the number of midwives in rural areas of Colorado over the next four years.
The Health Resources and Services (HRSA) Grant will create the Colorado Rural Midwifery Workforce Expansion Program. It is designed to increase the number of certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) practicing in maternity care provider shortage areas in rural Colorado.
The program supports CU Nursing’s development of a Rural Midwifery Track through the college’s Nurse-Midwifery (NMW) Graduate Program and covers expenses (tuition, fees, stipend for living expenses) for 3-5 full-time students per year. Graduates must agree to practice in a rural area.
The Colorado Midwifery Workforce Expansion Program is expected to start in September 2023 and run through September 2027. It will include peer support, mentorships, rural education experiences and employment preparation for midwifery practice in rural Colorado.
Three to five students will be admitted per year, for a total of 14 midwives. CU Nursing is currently recruiting nurses to enroll in the program.
“Creating a distinct Rural Track recognizes the unique knowledge, skills, and behaviors necessary for rural midwifery practice. It also recognizes the value of building a larger and well-trained rural healthcare workforce,” CU Nursing Center for Midwifery Assistant Professor Denise Smith, PhD, CNM, FACNM says.
Dr. Smith will run the program with Director of Midwifery & Women’s Health Services and Associate Professor Jessica Anderson, DNP, CNM, WHNP, FACNM, and Associate Professor of Clinical Practice and Specialty Director of Nurse-Midwife Program Shannon Pirrie, DNP, MS, CNM.
In addition to Nurse-Midwifery education, CU Nursing supports robust midwifery clinical practice and research programs. With four Denver-metro area midwifery clinics, CU Nursing’s midwifery faculty practices serve Colorado communities through the provision of quality care, and they serve students through quality clinical education.
In Colorado, three-quarters of counties are classified as rural or frontier, which means there are less than six people per square mile. Half of Colorado’s rural counties – which equals about two million people – lack access to hospital-based maternity care and clinic services. Rural Colorado is also growing in diversity; people of color make up 26% percent of the population.
CU Nursing has already partnered with several organizations for the program, including the Colorado Rural Health Center and six rural midwifery practice sites. The college aims to partner with additional rural hospitals, health systems, and physicians who want to incorporate midwives into their health care teams.
About the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is a world-class medical destination at the forefront of transformative science, medicine, education and patient care. The campus encompasses the University of Colorado health professional schools, more than 60 centers and institutes, and two nationally ranked independent hospitals - UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital and Children's Hospital Colorado - that treat more than two million adult and pediatric patients each year. Innovative, interconnected and highly collaborative, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus delivers life-changing treatments, patient care and professional training and conducts world-renowned research fueled by over $650 million in research grants. For more information, visit www.cuanschutz.edu.