Dr. MARIA VALENTIN-WELCH, DNP, MPH, CNM, FACNM is Frontier Nursing University’s (FNU) new Chief Diversity Inclusion Officer. Dr. Valentin-Welch holds the title of Assistant Professor at FNU where she has worked since 2013. She has been teaching in academic settings since 1997. Dr. Valentin-Welch holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from U-Mass/Boston, a Master’s in Public Health from Boston University, and a Doctorate in Nursing (DNP) from Frontier Nursing University. Her DNP Capstone Project was a national online tutorial pilot program for ethnically diverse Student Nurse-Midwives.
Dr. Valentin-Welch has numerous accomplishments. In 2013 she was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), an accomplishment bestowed onto only 217 midwives since the Fellowship’s inception in 1994. She has received over seventeen awards and is a member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Society.
Dr. Valentin-Welch comes to FNU with a rich working background. She has over 30 years of public health, clinical, and teaching experience and has worked with vulnerable populations such as pregnant homeless women, uninsured, underprivileged, and undocumented women from various cultures. She was the State Maternal Health Consultant for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services from 2008-2013. Dr. Valentin-Welch has worked as a Certified Nurse-Midwife teaching OB/GYN residents and Student Nurse Practitioners at Duke University and as an Assistant Professor at Boston University, where she taught Student Nurse-Midwives (SNM) and residents. She also has extensive precepting and mentoring experiences and has personally mentored over 30 ethnically diverse students. She is a mentor at heart and works vigorously at shaping future nurse clinicians and midwives.
Dr. Valentin-Welch has also held numerous volunteer professional roles which have enriched her diversity and inclusion (D/I) skills. She was instrumental in assisting ACNM down the path of adding D/I into their strategic goals during her tenure as chair of the Midwives of Color Committee (MOCC) and the Friends of MOCC and Ethnic Diversity Caucus, which she founded in 2011. She accomplished the following during her tenure: restructured MOCC to be in compliance with ACNM bylaws; structured the new Caucus; was the Principal Investigator for Into the Light of Day a historical publication about the origin of the MOCC; created a national mentoring program for SNMs of color, and established MOCC’s Archive Subcommittee, Mentoring Subcommittee, and the Health Disparity Subcommittee. She also co-chairs FNU’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
Maria has had many roles within ACNM. She currently sits on the ACNM Foundation Board and is chairperson of the Midwives of Color Mentoring Program which she founded in 2010. She has served ACNM in the past in the following roles: Nominating Committee member, United States Midwifery Education, Regulation, and Association Committee member, and Board of Accreditation Review member.
Dr. Valentin-Welch believes Nursing is Public Health, and that advanced nurses such as midwives and nurse practitioners can provide care not only in clinical settings but also in public health settings at the local, state, and national level where they can serve as catalysts for positive policy decision-making. She also believes education is one of the pathways out of poverty and that everyone is born with leadership potential. Maria believes that all midwives, nurses, and interprofessionals should replicate themselves and their expertise while working together to improve healthcare, decrease health disparities, and foster overall community health.