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National Instiyute of Midwifery
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Philosophy & Purpose Statement | Vision | Instructors | California Licensure

"Great innovative program -- you are doing
excellent and important work."

Philosophy and Purpose Statement
We believe that the study of midwifery is a self-motivated and organic process, springing forth from the fertile ground of community and family. Just as there have always been and will always be birthing women, so the midwife is called into practice. We recognize and value the tradition of the midwifery learning cycle: knowledge being passed from woman to woman, experienced midwife to apprentice. We believe birth is a transformational process with its own intrinsic value for personal growth and development.

We support woman-centered birth and seek to uphold the right of each woman to define her needs and identify her support system. While the midwife sets parameters of safety, it is the birthing woman who, through the process of informed consent, makes her own decisions regarding the care of herself and her baby.

It is our purpose to prepare midwives for the scope of practice outlined by MANA Core Competencies, North American Registry of Midwives Certification guidelines, California Midwifery Licensing requirements, and the joint mission statement of the Midwives Alliance of North America and the American College of Nurse Midwives:

"The entry level midwife is a primary health care professional who independently provides care during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period for women and newborns within their communities. Services provided by the midwife include education and health promotion. With additional education and experience, the midwife may provide well-woman gynecological care including family planning services. When the care required extends beyond the midwife’s abilities, the midwife has a mechanism for consultation, referral and continued involvement."

Our Vision
Our focus in developing this program has been to preserve community-based midwifery care and education. For us, this means refining and preserving apprenticeship. We believe that apprenticeship is a superior educational route for fostering independent/autonomous midwifery practice.

Combining the long standing course work of Heart & Hands and Study Group, our curriculum provides students with a unique distance learning opportunity. We recognize the dynamic potential students bring to midwifery education, based on each student’s cumulative life experience, philosophy and belief system. Our instructors are committed to assisting students with comprehensive integration of didactic and clinical experience.

Recent legalization of midwifery in California and other states will no doubt add to consumer demand for midwifery care, and dramatically increase clinical training opportunities. It is our intention to link our students to these burgeoning opportunities and prepare them to practice sensitively and competently, that the choice of midwifery care may be more readily available to women and their families everywhere.



California Licensure
There are now two ways to become licensed in the state of California through NMI:

  • NMI graduates qualify for California midwifery licensure by applying to the Medical Board of California and passing the NARM Written Examination.  NMI graduates do not take the NARM skills exam - this means an abbreviated application process and a savings of $700.
  • NMI Challenge Program for California Midwifery Licensure
    Successful completion of the NMI Challenge Program for California Midwifery Licensure provides access to California licensure for midwives who have completed their clinical training and study and wish to qualify for the California licensing examination without also graduating from a full program of study and training which has been approved by Medical Board of California.  The NMI Challenge Program is not an educational program, no course work is provided.  It has four parts:

    1) Enrollment with NMI
    Students apply and enroll with NMI.  Students already enrolled in NMI who have completed NMI clinical experience requirements may opt to complete the NMI Challenge Program for California Midwifery Licensure instead of completing the full NMI midwifery course of study and training for graduation.

    2) Completion of required clinical experience and skills assessment:
         20 new antepartum visits
         75 return antepartum visits 
         20 labor management experiences 
         20 deliveries 
         20 newborn assessments
         40 postpartum visits, within the first five days after birth 
         40 postpartum/family planning/gyn visits 

    At least half of all experience must be within five years preceding application to NMI Challenge Program.  Students who have earned their NARM CPM credential prior to enrolling with NMI must also demonstrate completion of NMI clinical experience requirements. 

    Students pursuing the Challenge Program must qualify for and pass the NARM Skills Assessment prior to sitting the NMI Challenge Program Written Exam.

    Application to NARM and related fees are the responsibility of the student. 

    3) Verification of clinical experience 
    All students pursuing the NMI Challenge Program for California Midwifery Licensure must have their clinical experience documentation verified by a licensed physician/surgeon and a licensed midwife or certified nurse-midwife. Experience must be documented on forms provided by NMI. Students are responsible for making arrangements with verifiers. Verification is documented and submitted to NMI. Verifiers are provided a $250 stipend for their services to students of NMI. 

    4) Passing the NMI Challenge Program Written Examination 
    Students qualify to take the NMI Challenge Program Written Exam upon successful completion of NMI clinical experience requirements, verification of clinical experience, and NARM Skills Assessments. 

    The NMI Challenge Program exam is offered twice each year: at the CAM conference and then again in October. Both dates are determined each year.

    Upon passing the NMI Challenge Program Written Examination, students have completed the NMI Challenge Program for California Midwifery Licensure. Formal notice of completion is provided to the student and to the Medical Board of California. 

    Midwives completing the NMI Challenge Program qualify for the California licensing exam, aka NARM exam. 

    The cost of the Challenge Program is $5000.  NMI California Challenge Program applications are available by request at 802.453.3332 or NMIoffice@NationalMidwiferyInstitute.com.
  • Instructors and Co-Founders
    Elizabeth Davis, C.P.M., B.A. Holistic Maternity Care, has been a midwife, women's healthcare specialist, educator and consultant for over thirty years. She served as Pacific Regional Representative to the Midwives Alliance of North America, chair of MANA's Education Committee, and President of the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council. She is NARM certified.

    Her books include the classic "Heart & Hands: A Midwife's Guide to Pregnancy and Birth" (now in its 5th edition);  “Orgasmic Birth: Your Guide to a Safe, Satisfying and Pleasurable Birth Experience;” "The Women’s Wheel of Life;” and "Women's Sexual Passages: Finding Pleasure and Intimacy at Every Stage of Life;" and "The Circle of Life: Thirteen Archetypes for Every Woman." She is co-founder of the National Midwifery Institute, Inc. Elizabeth is the author and instructor of Heart & Hands Midwifery Intensives and Heart & Hands Course Work.

    Shannon Anton, C.P.M., is an apprentice-trained midwife, certified by the California Association of Midwives and the North American Registry of Midwives, previously licensed in California. She served the CAM Board as regional representative, certification administrator, treasurer for the legislative committee, and representative to the NARM Certification Task Force. She currently serves on the NARM Board as Director of Accountability.

    She was a founding member of the Bay Area Homebirth Collective and is co-founder of National Midwifery Institute, Inc. She is the author and instructor of Study Group Course Work. She currently serves as Program Administrator from her home in Vermont.


    Order the NMI Handbook, which includes complete information on the program and application forms. Simply print our order form, fill it out and mail it to the address on the form, along with your $15 check.  Please allow 7-10 working days to receive your handbook.


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