On June 12, 2018, Ruth Watson Lubic, RN, CNM, EdD was awarded the Urban Health Equity Champion award by The New York Academy of Medicine. Here is a copy of her heartwarming award acceptance remarks.
"It is a great honor for me to have been selected for this new and most meaningful New York Academy of Medicine Award. I am grateful to all its selecting bodies. I have been a Fellow of the Academy for over 30 years, thanks to the judgment and thoughtfulness of Bernard Pisani, MD, the Chair of the Maternity Center Association (MCA) Medical Advisory Board, as well as Chairman of The New York Academy of Medicine Board of Trustees.
In the 1970s my duties as Director of MCA involved issues related to maternal and child care, nurse-midwifery education and practice and educational and informational services. MCA had been established in 1918 by the Women's City Club of New York, with Frances Perkins as its first executive. It was she who later served in FDR's Cabinet as Secretary of Labor, and was the first woman and longest serving cabinet member in United States history. It was in the early years of my tenure that young families complained of the nature of hospital care and turned to do-it-yourself home birth. I felt moved to assist them to confront the existing system. I am ever grateful to MCA and its Board for its comprehension and decision to develop and establish a safe and accommodating alternative.
But there are many others who deserve our thanks and who are just now able to witness organized nurse-midwives and obstetricians joining hands to alter the shameful maternal mortality we have in this country. I am proud to tell you of the results of a major four-year study conducted by the American Association of Birth Centers called Strong Start and established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. Its results from over 45 freestanding birth centers reaching out to low-income women in some 22 states will be available this summer. That sample of over 8,800 low-income women, 1,100 (13%) of whom are African American, has currently a maternal mortality rate of zero! This is evidence of what qualified professionals working together and collaborating their services can do to improve and to remove the blot of maternal death now on the country's health!
The history lesson is that great and important changes in health care systems are possible with persistence, and even a small scale Demonstration Project can prove to be a success and become undeniable. There are now more than 350 centers on our model operating countrywide. The American Association of Birth Centers is a competent professional organization which assists and accredits them.
I would like to share a conviction I feel is important as a result of my years in the saddle! Demonstration is an important device and necessity in breathing life into creative healthcare efforts so that proper studies can be engendered.
At this time in my life, I find myself quite happy and pleased by having experienced the following spoken words from a low income African-American teen-aged client in the South Bronx: If you have given birth, then you have given life, and if you have given life, then you can do anything you put your mind toyou can go to school and you can get a job. The best thing about the center is that it empowers women, then they empower their families, and on to their communities.
And from a neighborhood community worker living near the DC center of whom I asked Miss Patsy, no graffiti here, or break-ins or drugs--why? Her response, I told them. Leave it alone. It's our center!
But now, GREAT NEWS! This very week, ACOG and the American College of Nurse-Midwives released a new Joint Statement of Practice which signifies the next era of respectful collaboration. Greetings to the current President of both the Frontier University and the American College of Nurse-Midwives for having played a pivotal role in bringing this development about (Susan Stone, please stand).
Also, I am happy to say that my husband, Bill, brought me to this great city as a bride in 1955 and that ever after, for 63 years we have engaged in a mutually supportive and happy marriage!
I close with a short quote by George Bernard Shaw:
'I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live--I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.'
ALL OF YOU HERE TONIGHT ARE AN IMPORTANT PART OF THOSE FUTURE GENERATIONS!!"