Philosophy, mission & objectives

The UW Nurse-Midwifery and Women’s Health Clinical Nurse Specialist programs undertook a truth and reconciliation process in 2020-2022 to address harms that impacted former and current students in our program. The final report describing the process and outcomes from this process are available here.


The UW Nurse-Midwifery and Women’s Health Clinical Nurse Specialist programs aim to train and support the education of highly qualified and compassionate health care providers caring for individuals and families through the reproductive life course. We acknowledge the unacceptably high mortality rate of Black and Indigenous birthing people and infants in this country due to medical racism, social determinants of health, and chronic stress. We also acknowledge that systemic racism exists within our school and our programs,  and we strive to build an anti-racist culture in academia to create a more equitable and safe future for all families. Our guiding philosophy is grounded on the following values:

  • Autonomy and self-determination: We believe all people have the right to access a full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health care, and we trust people to know what is best for their own bodies and make the best decisions for themselves. We provide training sites for our students to learn skills to provide services, including care related to pregnancy, birth, abortion care, gynecology across the lifespan, primary care, and gender-affirming care for all people seeking these services.
  • Social and reproductive justice: We believe that it is our responsibility to leverage the privilege and power granted to us by our position within the healthcare field to support and amplify the voices of those in communities marginalized by racism and discrimination. We recognize the need for all faculty and students to do the work to develop an anti-racist program. We acknowledge the deep history of medical racism and the structures within the health care system that perpetuate harm on marginalized communities. Our goal is for students to emerge from our program with the skills to disrupt and rebuild structures.
  • Collaboration and community engagement: We believe that collaboration extends beyond the traditional relationship with our physician colleagues and includes those with expertise in other professions within and outside of the nursing profession. This includes nurses, those in other advanced practice nurse specialties, community-based midwives, nursing and midwifery students, and the communities that we all serve. Our commitment to community engagement is demonstrated by our goal to center community stakeholders, including students and alumni, in how the program is structured and prioritizing our relationships with community partners.
  • Accountability:  We hold ourselves accountable for adhering to these values and building systems that maintain integrity in our program. We prioritize student involvement in all aspects of the nurse-midwifery program and center their experiences as foundational to our success. We value the expertise and are accountable to our community partners to  ensure we are upholding the values we describe.


The mission of the UW Nurse-Midwifery program is to advance midwifery practice through the preparation of nurse-midwives who will:

  • Apply scientific evidence and person-centered care principles to promote the health and well-being of individuals and families in Washington communities and beyond.
  • Serve as leaders in advancing health care practice by applying, generating, and testing innovative models of care in the areas of perinatal care, sexual and reproductive health care, newborn care, and primary care.
  • Disrupt the racist and oppressive systems that impact access to the midwifery profession and midwifery care to improve perinatal outcomes for all communities.
  • Be accountable for professional growth, evaluation of practice, and developing and advancing equitable policies supporting the above-described philosophy and mission.


The specific objectives of the Nurse-Midwifery track are to prepare graduates who:

  1. Provide competent, safe, high-quality, and culturally sensitive nurse-midwifery care to address the health needs of people from a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, family structures, and communities.*
  2. Critically evaluate theories, concepts, and research findings from nursing, midwifery, and related sciences for translation into clinical practice.*
  3. Use effective communication and leadership skills in interprofessional teams to promote positive change in the health care of people, newborns, and families.*
  4. Use information systems and other technologies to improve the quality and safety of health care for people and newborns.
  5. Apply principles of transformative justice and the social determinants of health in the evaluation of health policies and advocacy for the health of people and families in local, national, and international contexts.
  6. Evaluate care systems by analyzing the needs of consumers, health care policies, service delivery and finance models, political contexts, and health indicators to increase access to health care for all people and their families in a variety of communities.

*These objectives are included in the graduate certificate program.