Heather Clarke, CNM DNP
Heather Clarke earned her undergraduate degree from State University of New York, Downstate. She obtained a Masters in Nursing with a specialty in Midwifery from Columbia University and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Frontier Nursing University. For most of her career, Dr. Clarke has combined her love of clinical practice with that of teaching nurse-midwifery students. In the past she has worked as an assistant professor in the nurse-midwifery educational programs at Columbia University and SUNY Downstate. She joined the faculty of Frontier Nursing University in 2012 where is obtained the rank of Instructor. Dr. Clarke chose to obtain her DNP at Frontier because of its rich history and pioneering spirit. “It is the love for the profession of midwifery and the families for whom we care that I hope to pass onto my students in the professional role course which I coordinate”.
Over the years, Dr. Clarke has seen the scope of practice for nurse-midwives expand to include more prevention. She believes that the opportunities for new graduates to become actively engaged in policy change, advocacy and legislation continue to grow, making this an exciting time to enter the profession. Despite her positive outlook, Dr. Clarke remains disturbed at the persistent racial, ethnic and economic disparities that place the most vulnerable members of the population at risk for poor maternal and child outcomes. Her specialty is in preconception health as a means to combat these persistent health disparities. Dr. Clarke’s DNP capstone project focused on the development of an intergenerational preconception curriculum to help at risk women learn how to overcome and build resiliency to the social and racial stressors that increase their risk for poor birth outcomes. She is proud to serves as the ACNM representative on the Center for Disease Control Preconception Clinical Workgroup. Dr. Clarke believes that the area of preconception is largely uncharted territory which CNMs and other APRNs are well suited to be experts leading the way to improve poor birth outcomes.
In addition to her academic responsibilities, Dr. Clarke serves on the DNP, curriculum and diversity and inclusion committee at Frontier. She has been actively engaged in the pride program and serves as a faculty mentor for many students enrolled at the university. Outside of Frontier University, Dr. Clarke is currently the chairperson of the ACNM’s Midwife of Color committee. Prior to that she served as the co-chairperson of the student issues section of ACNM’s division of education. She is an adjunct member of the ACNM’s Diversity and Inclusion task force. Most recently, she became a member the US MERA steering committee that is charged by ICM to craft national standards for education and regulation for all midwives, which are consistent with international standards for midwives. “It is very humbling to be part of this historic and critical effort to unite all midwives so that we can further advance the profession and serve women wherever they choose to birth”.