The Midwives College of Utah has been cultivating Midwives of Excellence since 1980. Competent and culturally sensitive midwives improve maternal health outcomes and ultimately improve access to healthcare.

We are responsible for making birth better because we were all born

Birth is one of the most significant events in our lives. Each one of us was born. Every person we love, every person we hate, every human we have ever known was born. And a significant number of us will give birth.

When a person is giving birth they are entitled to autonomy over their body and their baby. All parts of their care should include a chance for informed decision making and the right to refuse care, even in instances of emergency. Since birth is generally a normal, natural event occurring in healthy people, it should be the right of each birthing person to expect minimal medical intervention and a safe and healthy outcome. From reports of disrespectful, coercive and abusive treatment to being ignored when requesting help for life threatening complications, human rights are routinely violated during childbirth in the US–and that’s for the lucky ones who survive the experience.

The unfortunate truth is OVER HALF of all maternal deaths in the US are preventable.

Childbirth is one of the most unnecessarily dangerous things one can do in the United States. The mortality rate for giving birth in America each year has nearly doubled in the last two decades. Worse still, Black birthing people are 3 to 4 times more likely to die during the childbearing year than their white counterparts. And in New York, black births are on average 12x more likely to result in death than white births.

Over 1/3 of all counties in the United States have no access to maternity care. The US is required not only to refrain from threatening or ending life, but also to promote conditions necessary for survival. This basic right is not being met in childbearing in the US.

“According to a new report published by the Commonwealth Fund, “Maternal Mortality and Maternity Care in the U.S. Compared to 10 Other Developed Countries,” among high-income countries, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rates. In fact, a woman giving birth in the U.S. is about 10 times more likely to die than a woman giving birth in New Zealand (17.4 and 1.7 deaths per 100,000 live births, respectively).”
(Roberts, N. F. (2020, November 18). Report finds pregnancy & childbirth more dangerous for women in America than other high income countries. Forbes. Retrieved May 2, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicolefisher/2020/11/18/report-finds-pregnancy–childbirth-more-dangero…)

The US must treat birth better. Birth rights are human rights and there are proven ways to protect those rights in childbirth in the US.

Several studies and a recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO) have all stated that increased access to midwifery care is one of the best ways to decrease the mortality rates among birthing people. Midwifery care promotes healthy birth free from the aforementioned trauma. Midwifery care protects human rights by ensuring the birthing family is in charge of making personal decisions about their reproductive choices. Midwifery care improves outcomes and eliminates unnecessary medical interventions while preserving bodily autonomy and practicing informed consent. Midwives are saving lives. YOU can help us train midwives who otherwise would not have access to their midwifery education.

By supporting our scholarship you are ensuring that birthing people in the US have increased access to culturally congruent, competent midwifery care in medically underserved communities in the US.

The Briana Blackwelder Equal Access Scholarship fund provides full tuition for students whose practices will increase the racial and ethnic representation within the midwifery workforce.  When you donate to this scholarship, you directly pay tuition for a student who might otherwise be unable to complete their midwifery education.

As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, Midwives College is supported by monetary gifts from people such as yourself who are passionate about supporting midwives of excellence within every community.  I invite you to please make a donation and save lives one birth at a time.

Thank you for your support.

Hear from our students:

“After a horrible first birth experience at the hospital it was clear that the facility and staff were racist and treated Native Americans poorly. With my second baby I looked into different options and learned about midwifery, I fell in love with the overall care I received and I want everyone to have the opportunity to experience it. As a midwife I want to help my community eliminate some barriers and to limit the discrimination that they would have to face at the only local hospital in our area.”

-Hope Mayotte, MCU Student

“I am the mother of five beautiful black children, and during my last pregnancy I was treated completely differently than I ever had been. Although I had always wanted to be involved in birth work for as long as I can remember, it was my horrible treatment in 2018 that prompted me to become a CPM. I simply want to be the change I want to see. I want to help bridge the divide that we see now.”

-Jennifer Silvera, MCU Student


MCU believes that all individuals who seek midwifery education should be able to access it. Unfortunately, too often, this is not a reality, and midwifery education, along with the midwifery profession at-large, suffers without diverse communities and representation. We want to continue to be the change we wish to see in the midwifery community; therefore, we have created an initiative to advance social justice, anti-racism, anti-oppression and equity efforts within our college and the midwifery profession at large.

Briana Blackwelder is an MCU graduate and friend of MCU who left this earth at the tender age of 28. Listen and learn from Briana as she shares her own philosophy about womanhood and birth. In honor of Briana’s wisdom and personal philosophy, MCU offers two scholarships that provide complete tuition relief: 1) Social Justice and Health Equity Scholarship; and 2) Equal Access Scholarship. With these scholarships, MCU strives to advance our goals by ensuring inclusive representation and support of diverse social identities and locations in midwifery education, including racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds.

Recipients of the scholarships will receive three semesters of tuition relief (i.e. tuition waivers) per year with the option for continuation of the scholarship, based upon continued eligibility, for up to four years of tuition relief.

Recipient Testimonials

Receiving the Briana Blackwelder scholarship has made it possible for me to have access to an outstanding program and move closer to my dream of serving people in my community while working towards fighting inequity in maternal healthcare.  Having received this scholarship has made all the difference on my journey.”
Heather Walker

MCU Student

Before tonight (Graduation Ceremony), there were zero black Certified Professional Midwives in St. Louis in 2019. But thanks to the Midwives College of Utah and the Brianna Blackwelder Scholarship Fund, we are able to provide accessible and affordable midwifery and doula care in urban Saint Louis.
Brittany "Tru" Kellman, MCU Alumna

MCU Alumna, Jamaa Birth Village