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A Career Advancing Midwifery

The year 2019 was a significant one—even for a clinician-researcher as accomplished as Barbara Hackley, PhD, CNM, associate professor of midwifery and women’s health and the Dorothea Lang Term Chair. Prior to joining Jefferson in 2017 to launch and direct the Doctor of Midwifery Program—the nation’s first discipline-specific doctoral program for midwifery—Dr. Hackley served on the faculties of Georgetown, Columbia and Yale universities. And, during a career that has, thus far, spanned three decades, she received countless awards for her teaching and research—and for her clinical expertise in expanding mental health care, immunization, asthma care and obesity management services to pregnant and postpartum women. 

Still, 2019 was special. Early in the year, Dr. Hackley and colleagues published the results of two important research studies. The first explored the impact of a community health center-based initiative to assist families in accessing New York City’s pre-kindergarten program—finding that it resulted in substantially higher numbers of African American and Latinx families applying for and enrolling in the pre-K program. The second study, of group prenatal and well‐baby care efforts, documented for the first time that those clinical interventions are associated with long-term benefits that persisted for two or more years. This study also revealed that perinatal group care was beneficial in areas not yet reported in the literature: nutrition, family communication and parenting.

Then, in May, Dr. Hackley was named a Fellow of the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) and was given the ACNM’s Lifetime Achievement Award for service to the profession.

Topping everything off, the Jefferson Doctor of Midwifery Program graduated its first class and inaugurated a major national symposium, Midwifery Thinks!, which celebrates midwifery scholarship and innovation, and convenes midwifery leaders to share strategies and create coalitions to promote maternal health in the U.S.