Nadene Brunk, CNM is a nurse-midwifery alumnus from Class 8. She founded Midwives for Haiti, a nonprofit that educates Haitian women in prenatal care and skilled birth assistance. Ms. Brunk hopes to reduce maternal and infant mortality in Haiti, which is deemed the most dangerous place in the Western hemisphere to give birth.
After traveling to Haiti in 2003 as part of a medical team, Ms. Brunk witnessed first-hand the lack of resources and skilled care for pregnant women. Determined to provide a long term solution, she formed a small team of volunteer midwives and medical professionals and soon returned to Haiti. At the request of a Haitian community leader, Ms. Brunk established a culturally appropriate training program for Haitian nurses in Hinche.
With few resources, the first class of nine students held class outdoors with nothing more than a blackboard under a tree. Equipment was donated. Ms. Brunk and the other volunteers traveled in a truck that was held together with wire and duct tape.
Midwives For Haiti became a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2006. The hospital from which the team works – St. Therese – is said to be decades past its useful life, but it is adequately staffed by 16 Skilled Birth Attendants, all graduates of the Midwives For Haiti program. In 2013, the SBAs and students attended over 2,100 births at the hospital. In 2015, the seventh class of SBAs will graduate.