Frontier Nursing University (FNU) alumna Leslie McCormack, CNM (Class 70), is passionate about serving vulnerable populations—and teaching her students to do the same.
An Arkansas native, Leslie knew she wanted to serve the vulnerable and saw the many opportunities nurse-midwifery offers. Originally, she intended to travel overseas and do mission work. The distance education offered by FNU as well as the ability to work full-time were big factors in her decision to attend, but above all, she loved Frontier’s mission. “It really aligned with my vision of working with vulnerable populations,” she said.
After obtaining her nurse-midwifery degree from FNU, Leslie worked at a birthing center. As her own family grew, she transitioned from a clinical position to an adjunct teaching position while her husband was finishing up medical school in Fayetteville. After he graduated and was placed in Little Rock, she applied to teach at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and has been teaching undergraduate classes for four years. She is also an academic coach.
Teaching has given Leslie a unique opportunity to impact students to improve healthcare systems. Her background in nurse-midwifery allows hers to bring her students a different perspective.
“I really get to empower my students and introduce them to vulnerable populations, especially here in the state of Arkansas where the population is largely rural,” she said.
Leslie’s current home, Little Rock, has a high population of homeless people due to its central location in a predominantly rural state. Knowing this, aid organizations focus on Little Rock to provide assistance and resources for the homeless. Leslie and her UAMS team partnered with Campus Community Church (CCC) to provide the homeless in their community a meal and a movie every Wednesday night.
The Wednesday night service led to the creation of a clinic of sorts. UA’s College of Medicine and College of Nursing see homeless patients in an informal, less intimidating setting and provide preventative care. The program is led by students; upperclassmen serve leadership roles and mentor their underclassmen classmates.
“It’s really cool to see the two colleges working together and to see students in leadership roles, washing the feet of the homeless,” said Leslie.
UAMS and CCC implemented a mental health night once a month. They also started a ladies’ night which has turned into a reproductive health night, one for men and one for women each semester.
Recently, Leslie has devoted a lot of time to resource development in the area of homeless prenatal care.
“We know that we send a lot of babies home from the NICU to a homeless or housing insecure environment,” she said.
Leslie and her team received a grant to create a curriculum from the March of Dimes Becoming a Mom program, specifically tailored for the homeless population.
“I’m finally getting back to my roots in nurse-midwifery, and it’s been a lot of fun,” she said.
We are proud of Leslie for her work with the homeless in Little Rock and for empowering her students to serve the vulnerable.