New U-M Midwifery program aims to diversify profession, improve health equity

A federal grant will provide nearly $1 million annually for the next four years to support the school’s Michigan Maternity Care Traineeship Program.

The University of Michigan’s School of Nursing is allocating grant money to a program aimed at diversifying the Midwife profession and maternity care.

The university’s Michigan Maternity Care Traineeship Program is designed to add more midwives in minority communities who face disproportionately higher risks of childbirth complications. Offered in partnership with Metro Detroit Midwives of Color, and Birth Detroit — a Black-led, nonprofit community birth center — the program has already accepted 13 students, with additional groups set to begin in the fall.

Funded by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, the grant will provide nearly $1 million annually for the next four years to support the school’s Midwifery program. 

Lee Roosevelt is a clinical associate professor at the University of Michigan. She says the quality of care and mortality rates are all impacted by discrimination. 

“The way racism impacts the body, chronic stress. The way it impacts the way providers treat and listen to pregnant people, what concerns they take seriously, what concerns they don’t take seriously… all has impacts on those outcomes,” she said. 

Roosevelt says even for providers with the best intentions, quality of care is diminished when their schedules are overloaded because of a lack of providers in their communities. 

She says increasing the number of midwives and diversifying the workforce can help bridge the gap in care. 

To learn more about the program email

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  • Bre'Anna Tinsley
    Bre'Anna Tinsley is a reporter for Detroit Public Radio, 101.9 WDET. She covers city government and housing, as well as co-hosting the "Detroit Evening Report" podcast.