Friday, June 19, 2015

Celebrating the contributions of Dr. Carol Howe

Today we celebrate Dr. Carol Howe as she retires after 35+ years leading the Nurse-Midwifery graduate program at OHSU School of Nursing. Dr. Howe is Associate Dean for Practice at SON and has served as Director of Nurse-Midwifery Education Program for the entirety of the program's existence.

Carol Howe in a 1990 issue of "Nursing Progress"
After several years of planning under former SON dean Carol Lindmann, the Nurse-Midwifery program recruited Dr. Howe to serve as Program Director in 1980, admitted its first students in 1981, and graduated its first students in 1983. By 2011, the NMW program had graduated over 200 students. Compare that to 1974 when Dr. Howe arrived in Oregon: at the time, she was only the second nurse-midwife in the state!

Dr. Howe, who grew up in Texas, conducted her midwifery graduate education at Yale and received her doctorate from University of California-San Francisco. Over her many years of service, she has guided the development of a top-tier faculty practice and academic program (consistently ranked in the top 5 nurse-midwifery graduate programs in the country). The program has grown and advanced, and now trains students at the master's and doctoral levels who practice at the top of their fields.

In addition, the Nurse-Midwifery faculty have a busy clinical practice, where they provide Oregon women with reproductive healthcare services throughout the lifespan (though especially devoted to "catching" babies, to borrow a midwifery term!).

OHSU Nurse-Midwifery faculty practice card, c. 1980s
Nurse-Midwifery faculty practice brochure, c. 1990s
It was clear by the many heartfelt, awe-filled stories shared at Dr. Howe's retirement reception that her vision, dedication, and commitment to the highest-quality women's healthcare has shaped the trajectories of countless students, faculty and midwives throughout Oregon and beyond (not to mention the many lives she's touched as a provider!).

Dying to know more about Carol Howe's pioneering work in midwifery education and practice? She is also the latest interviewee in our oral history program, and her oral history, for which she was interviewed by incoming program director Dr. Cathy Emeis, will be publicly available this summer. In addition, an HC&A exhibit on the Nurse-Midwifery program and midwifery in Oregon, curated by yours truly, is scheduled for 2016!

Dr. Howe doing what she does best!
Congratulations and thank you for your incredible contributions to the midwife profession, to education and to women's health in Oregon, Dr. Howe!