Amanda Thein. (photo from Regents meeting)

The Board of Regents has approved a Master of Midwifery program for the University of Iowa.

U-I Associate provost, Amanda Thein, presented the plan to the Board. “The development of the MM program is part of the Iowa Maternal Health Innovation Program. This is a five-year program of the Iowa Department of Public Health to improve obstetric care in the state,” Thein says. She says this has been a program supported by lawmakers.

“There’s an unmet need for more maternity care providers in the state of Iowa — especially in rural areas,” Thein says. “Additionally, the maternal mortality rate in the state of Iowa has increased in recent years.”

Thein says this will be the first of its kind in the state. “No other nurse midwifery programs exist in Iowa. The program will attract applicants from Iowa — as well as surrounding states that don’t have programs of their own — such as Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota,” she says.

Thein says there will be plenty of jobs for graduates of the program.  “Currently, midwifery education programs are not keeping up with retirements in the field. The U-S Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates a 26% increase in employment opportunities for certified nurse midwives between 2018 and 2028,” according to Thein.

The program will be funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration for the first five years, and then be funded through tuition and fees after that. The proposal was approved by the Board of Regents at their meeting in Ames Thursday.