The Claudia Booker Memorial Midwife Scholarship is to support the education of midwives at Mercy In Action College of Midwifery who are from communities that are currently losing the most mothers and babies at birth in America ( African American/Black communities and American Indian/Alaska Native communities.) This scholarship is in honor of Claudia Booker, who was a teacher for Mercy In Action College of Midwifery, and our Grand Challenge Coordinator at the time of her death in early 2020.
African American and American Indian/Alaska Native babies die 2X more often than white babies, and in some communities, the racial disparity is even greater. Mothers from these communities die more often in childbirth, with maternal mortality being highest for women who are Black. In 2012, along with her friends Vicki Penwell and Jennie Joseph, Claudia co-founded the "Grand Challenge" which called all maternity care provider education programs to provide scholarships to students of color.
Claudia taught a popular course at Mercy In Action College of Midwifery called "An Introduction to the Grand Midwives of the United States of America: A Pictorial History of African American Midwifery in the United States 1600's - Present." Offering scholarships to midwifery training for students from the communities who are suffering the most loss of life surrounding childbirth is a practical solution so that these midwives can become, in Claudia's words, "the ones we have been waiting for."
Claudia was the volunteer scholarship coordinator for Mercy in Action College of Midwifery at the time of her death. This scholarship project has the potential for long-term impact because when you educate a midwife, she serves her own community with skills, compassion, and a unique perspective on the challenges, often for decades. Pregnancy and birth are where the foundations of health and wellness are built that can last a lifetime, and midwives positively influence and impact entire families.