The New York University College of Nursing received a three-year, $984,358 Advanced Nursing Grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Bureau of the Professions, Division of Nursing. The grant was awarded to revamp the pedagogy of the College’s Midwifery program, to introduce an “inquiry-based” (or “problem-based”) method of learning, based on evidence-based practice, and to enhance the curriculum to produce health care providers who are both more culturally competent and more representative of the populations they serve.

“The pedagogy we are introducing is very distinct from what is generally done in midwifery education nationwide,” says Clinical Associate Professor Patricia Burkhardt, CNM, DrPH, the coordinator of NYU’s midwifery program and the principal investigator on the grant. “This modality requires students to take the initiative to find the information they need, in order to learn it. Research has shown that this method not only produces better learning in the moment, but also develops in the student habits that serve them throughout their careers as they encounter new or different situations that present problems they need to solve.”

“The challenge in today’s world is to create a professional individual who knows how to solve problems,” says Terry Fulmer, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the College of Nursing. “This modality of education puts students into that mindset and gives them the skills they will need.”

The HRSA grant will enable the College of Nursing to revise each of its six midwifery courses at a rate of two per semester, each followed by an evaluation and adjustment period. In the course of this project, the College aims to increase its annual graduating class of midwives from 11 to 15 students. Concurrently, it will increase the number of clinical sites for midwifery practice.

Changes in the midwifery curriculum are consistent with recommendations put forward in 2003 by the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences, whose report “Health Profession Education: A Bridge to Quality” named evidence-based practice as one of five competencies that are necessary in the 21st century health care environment. “A number of common practices in labor and delivery rooms, such as denying food or water to a woman in labor, are based more on custom than scientific evidence,” says Dr. Burkhardt. “We aim to train a midwife who can walk into a delivery room and assess the situation based on solid evidence.”

The College of Nursing at the College of Dentistry is located on New York University’s historic Greenwich Village campus in New York City. The College of Nursing is one of the leading nursing programs in the United States. The College offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing; Master of Arts and Post-Master’s Certificate Programs; and a Doctor of Philosophy in Research Theory and Development. For more information, visit

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