Students Organize Screening of Midwifery Documentary

Two third-semester BSN students worked together to bring a screening of the documentary Birth Story to the SON. Students Erin Richardson and Leonara Tisdale wanted to share the story of Dr. Ina May Gaskin, MA, CPM, PhD (Hon.), an internationally-known speaker and advocate for high-quality maternity care.

The film combined archival footage with recent interviews to tell the tale of how Gaskin and other women in communal agricultural community called The Farm taught themselves midwifery. The approach they developed began as a counterculture experiment, but has ultimately influenced the delivery practices of health care organizations around the world. The film also highlighted The Farm Midwifery Clinic in Tennessee, one of the first out-of-hospital birth centers established in the United States, where Gaskin still practices today.

After the film, there was a panel discussion featuring two local midwives, Nancy Harman, CNM and Jane Gledhill, CNM, as well as two SON faculty members, Rhonda Lanning, CNM, and Karen Sheffield, CNM. Approximately 60 people attended the free event, including SON students, faculty, nurses from UNC hospital, doulas, and local community members.

“We hoped that the film screening, when paired with a panel discussion of local nurse-midwives, including some of our own clinical faculty, would stimulate conversations about midwifery and women’s health,” said Richardson.

Support for the event was provided by Kathy Moore, Dr. Beverly Foster, Kathy Alden, Scott Berrier, Sam Deal, and the Undergraduate Advisory Council. Additional pictures of the event can be viewed on the event’s Facebook page.