Introduction to Study Group, Studying and Completing Coursework


Shannon Anton initiated Study Group in 1994, in response to apprentice midwives in the San Francisco Bay Area who expressed a need for a midwife facilitated group learning process. Students who attended the first eighteen months of Study Group virtually defined the curriculum. Focus remained on the context of experiential learning, which moved the group from topic to topic.

In 2018, the original Study Group Modules were completely revised and updated by NMI Educational Co-Director and current Study Group Instructor Erin Ryan, with assistance from NMI Clinical Director Molly Dutton-Kenny. At the same time, additional modules were created, with a new sequence for module submissions.

Welcome to Study Group

Erin Ryan LM, CPM, Study Group Course Work Instructor:

After graduating from UC Berkeley in 1995, Erin started a midwifery apprenticeship in the San Francisco Bay Area and enrolled in National Midwifery Institute in 1996. Erin graduated from NMI in 2000 and received her NARM CPM credential that same year. Since then, Erin has been in private practice doing home births in Vermont, and she also spent 2 1/2 years in Bali working as a preceptor and clinic director at Bumi Sehat birth clinic. She has assisted approximately 900 births. She received a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley in 2017 and now works for Midwife to Midwife, a global midwife training program, as well as other international programs.

Getting Started:

As a follow-up to Heart & Hands Course Work, Study Group is intended to help students integrate didactic learning with clinical experiences in apprenticeship. Study Group Course Work begins after successful completion of Beginning/ Intermediate Heart & Hands Course Work, Advanced Heart & Hands Course Work, the Study Group Pre-Test and the Cultural Competence Course.

Study Group Course Work comprises the majority of NMI’s didactic curriculum. Course Work Study Group Course Work consists of fifty-five modules, each module with a focus on a particular topic and its relevance to midwifery care. Completion of these modules requires approximately 1080 hours of study. When Study Group Course Work is completed during apprenticeship, many students spread their work over twelve or more months. Students set their own pace with these studies, as long as they meet NMI’s minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress policy (a minimum of 2 modules submitted per quarter). See the Student Portal for more information on the order of module completion and post-tests.

Once you have completed Heart and Hands beginning and advanced coursework, instructor Elizabeth Davis notifies Study Group Instructor Erin Ryan, who will make arrangements for you to take the Pre-Test and begin your module work. All work is submitted to Erin Ryan in PDF format. Please be sure you put your name on your work and submit as a PDF. Title the work with your name and module name (example: B. Kind, First Stage, PDF). Your work will be returned within a month of submission. If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact Erin Ryan by email, phone or text.

Getting Connected

Being in a distance program does not mean you need to feel isolated. NMI is committed to helping you stay connected to staff as well as other students. Below are a few ways to get involved.

  • Weekly Virtual Group:

    NMI students and graduates are invited to meet every Sunday evening for a virtual study group, using the free Zoom video conferencing platform to discuss a module topic. It is easy to join, fun, and informative. This group is open to all students regardless of apprenticeship of progress in the program. By the end of each session, students should be able to complete most of a module and have a deeper understanding of complex issues.

    If you are not on Facebook, you can use the information in the below to join each week. The link is the same every week.

    Weekly NMI Virtual Group: Every Sunday at 5:30pmPST/8:30pmEST/1:30pmGMT

    Zoom Link Or Telephone:: +1 646 558 8656 or +1 408 638 0968 Meeting ID: 898 834 146

    We hope to see you there!

  • NMI Facebook group:

    At the time of enrollment, students are sent an invitation to join NMI’s closed Facebook Group for enrolled students and graduates. The Facebook group is a great place to ask question about modules, apprenticeship and midwifery. Students and grads are supported to post case studies, current research and other relevant midwifery information. Each week, Course Work Instructors post about links about the weekly Study Forum session.

  • Start your own group

    While Study Group modules are well suited to independent study, students also have opportunity to organize discussions in their own communities. Zoom video conferencing is available to any students wanting to create their own study group or student group.

  • How to Set Up A Study Group (PDF)

Online Resources