At the heart of Frontier Nursing University is a talented and diverse community of students, alumni, faculty, staff, Couriers and preceptors. Spotlight blogs feature members of our FNU community that are focused on the mission of educating nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners to deliver quality health care to underserved and rural populations.
When Nadene Brunk graduated from FNU as a nurse-midwife she knew her skills would be valuable in the U.S., but it wasn’t until she visited Haiti that she comprehended just how powerful her skills could be. With a maternal mortality rate 12 times that of women in the United States, Nadene realized she could literally save lives in Haiti and has now dedicated her life to doing so.
An FNU nurse-midwifery alumnus from Class 8, Nadene founded Midwives for Haiti, a nonprofit that educates Haitian women in prenatal care and skilled birth assistance. Nadene 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, Nadene 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, Nadene 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. Nadene 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.
We are proud to have alumni like Nadene making such a difference!
Read more about Nadene and Midwives for Haiti in an article by Richmond Times-Dispatch here.
Watch Nadene’s presentation, “Collaborative Approach to Global Maternity Healthcare” here.