(Midwives/Physicians Are Available for Interviews and Photos.)
DETROIT - After three and a half decades of unflagging service, the nurse-midwifery program at DMC Hutzel Women's Hospital and the Wayne State University Physician Group will launch a week-long celebration (Oct. 4-10) of its 35th anniversary, starting Monday.
The first of its kind to be established at a Michigan hospital, the nurse-midwifery service at Hutzel now includes 24 certified nurse-midwives and has safely delivered more than 40,000 infants since 1980.
To be hosted by the Wayne State University Physician Group Division of Nurse-Midwifery (which operates the Hutzel-based program), the anniversary festivities will include a series of "Grand Rounds" presentations and discussions by present and former nurse-midwifery directors, along with a "Lunch & Learn" session on "Microbirth: Revealing the Microscopic Secrets of Childbirth" and a gala Community Baby Shower.
The Grand Rounds presentations will take place Oct. 6, followed by the Lunch & Learn program Oct. 7 and the Community Baby Shower on Oct. 10. All of the anniversary events will be held at DMC Hutzel Women's Hospital; for more details about times and locations, click on: www.hutzel.org/midwifeevents.
"This is a very joyful time for all of us," said Mary Lewis, CNM, director of the Division of Nurse-Midwifery. "It's also a good time for us to salute all of the truly dedicated women who have served - and continue to serve - as nurse-midwives at Hutzel Hospital and the Detroit metro community, including Dearborn & Southfield .
"We're very proud of the fact that Hutzel was the first hospital in the state of Michigan to grant hospital privileges to nurse-midwives," she added. "Hutzel has long been a leader in maternity care ... and our program continues in that leadership role today, as we continue to provide expecting mothers with such state-of-the-art patient care services as birthing rooms, hydrotherapy and water-birth."
Describing the key role that nurse-midwives play in helping to deliver "low-risk babies" (births that do not involve pre-term labor or other health complications), Lewis noted that the midwives - all of whom have at least a master's degree in nurse-midwifery - are "very good at encouraging and supporting natural childbirth in the delivery room.
"We do promote natural childbirth whenever it's appropriate," she said, "and our midwives are also very skilled at teaching and empowering women throughout the birthing process. For the women we serve, it's very helpful to have a specially trained and highly empathetic nurse assisting them in every phase of the delivery."
She also noted that while the nurse-midwives are specially trained and equipped to assist in the delivery of low-risk newborns, the Hutzel Obstetrics and Gynecology Department stands ready at all times to provide trained physicians for any delivery that involves a higher risk. "We have the best of both worlds available 24/7 at Hutzel," she said, "and that's a very reassuring thing for our patients to know when they come to the hospital to give birth."
Lewis, who estimates that she has helped to deliver between 15,000 and 20,000 babies during her 45-year career as a nurse-midwife, said "the Hutzel midwives are very good at listening to their patients, while providing the highest-quality care. That care also includes the very latest birthing technology and techniques available anywhere in the world today."
Robert A. Welch, M.D., the vice chair of Clinical Operations in the Obstetrics-Gynecology Department at DMC Hutzel Women's Hospital and director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, praised the contributions made daily by the nurse-midwives.
"My feeling is that nurse-midwives are the most qualified care providers for low-risk pregnancies," Dr. Welch said, "and they do a terrific job of assisting women through the challenges that accompany low-risk childbirth. I've worked with midwives throughout my entire (35-year) career, and I'm glad we will be honoring them during the upcoming 35th-anniversary celebration next week."
DMC Hutzel Women's Hospital President Reginald Eadie, M.D., M.B.A., also joined the chorus of praise for the contributions made by nurse-midwives, pointing out "they play an absolutely vital role in delivering excellent maternal and fetal care before, during and after babies are born at Hutzel.
"As the 35th-anniversary week unfolds," he noted, "I will be saying thanks frequently for the special gifts these outstanding nursing specialists bring to expectant mothers from all across southeast Michigan, day in and day out."
About Detroit Medical Center: The Detroit Medical Center includes DMC Children's Hospital of Michigan, DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital, DMC Harper University Hospital, DMC Heart Hospital, DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, DMC Hutzel Women's Hospital, DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, and DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital. Detroit Medical Center is a leading regional healthcare system with a mission of excellence in clinical care, research and medical education.
About Wayne State University: Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 400 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 32,000 students. Its School of Medicine is the largest single-campus medical school in the nation with more than 1,200 medical students. In addition to undergraduate medical education, the school offers master's degree, Ph.D. and M.D.-Ph.D. programs in 14 areas of basic science to about 400 students annually.