Call for Abstracts

Submission Deadline: May 22, 2020

We are seeking abstract submissions addressing one or more of the specific objectives and proposed sessions for the Inclusion Conference program:

  1. Understanding of differences in identity and diversity
  2. Awareness of inclusive experiences and active participation from diverse stakeholders
  3. Awareness of increased risks and barriers to care and disparities in health outcomes faced by many communities, in particular communities of color and of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (LGBTQIA) populations
  4. Understanding of fundamental concepts related to discrimination and oppression
  5. Understanding of culturally safe and inclusive care

Steps to Submit:

  • Complete the Abstract Submission Form (linked below)
  • Attach your file in the requested format 
  • Click “Submit”

Overall Format (detailed instructions provided in the form)

  • Typed in 12-point font
  • 1” Margins
  • Please include pages numbers

Topics:

ACNM is seeking presenters that can present on the following topics (please note that sessions are not final and may be subject to change):

Half-Day Pre-Conference Workshops:

Transgender-Inclusive Health Care: Clinical Care for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Patients
Is your practice transgender-inclusive? Transgender and gender non-conforming individuals face widespread discrimination in healthcare settings, often being denied basic preventive care or physical exams that put them at risk, or not having access to medical professionals with the competencies needed to provide transgender health care. Participants will acquire the knowledge, interpersonal skills, and best practices needed to confidently provide a welcoming, respectful, and gender-affirming inclusive environment. Strategies and approaches to develop the level of expertise required to care for the unique clinical needs of this underserved community will be discussed.

Incorporating Diversity into Clinical Education to Build Cultural Competency
The healthcare community, including the midwifery profession, must step up efforts to establish a strong, diverse, and inclusive workforce that will provide high quality care, increase access, improve health outcomes, and eliminate health disparities in an increasingly diverse nation. A concern, then, is whether education is meeting the need for preparing culturally competent healthcare providers. Participants will examine the dynamics of developing a cultural competence curriculum for clinicians and familiarize themselves with the attitudes, skills, knowledge, and behaviors that enable staff and students to work effectively in cross-cultural situations. This workshop will challenge the status quo and consider intervention strategies that will close the cultural gap between healthcare providers and the populations they serve.

Understanding Race and Racism in Health Care
Examining the connections between race, racism, and health is a necessary first step toward improving the patient experience and reducing racial inequities in health care. Most healthcare providers are committed to treating all patients equally, yet, while they may not be explicitly racist, they operate in an inherently racist system. This workshop will dive into an honest exploration of how to identify implicit bias and how it affects the way patients are treated. Discover how to lift the barriers of racism to ensure all individuals are treated with dignity and have access to high quality, compassionate care.

Implicit Bias
Bias is personal, cultural, and institutional. Most often it is invisible to those who have it. This workshop focuses on the implicit attitudes and stereotypes that shape our thinking, our behaviors, and how we treat others. Understand how implicit bias can stimulate negative attitudes about experiences and people who are not members of one’s own group. Recognize when implicit bias leads to discrimination against people who are not members of one’s own racial, religious, gender identity, political, and other groups. Whether positive or negative, understand how implicit biases can have harmful effects when they influence our decision-making.

Education Sessions:

Making Compassionate Connections Using Nonviolent Communication
You might be a rock star at the clinical side of patient care, but if you lack compassion, a team member or patient’s experience could be quite negative. Taking a little extra time to see your team or patient as a person first, and acknowledging their concerns, can go a long way toward helping them feel more comfortable. Discover how establishing empathetic, caring, unbiased, person-centered relationships in which your team, the patient, and the provider feel better about the experience of receiving and providing care can be achieved through nonviolent communication (NVC). Learn the key components of the NVC model and how this tool could provide practitioners with the necessary skills to communicate more effectively and compassionately, deepen emotional connections, and eliminate potential conflict between team members and patients.

A Sense of Belonging: Creating a Culture of Inclusion
Establishing a diverse workforce is only part of the path toward creating a workplace where people feel respected, valued, and appreciated. Inclusion comes to life in many different shapes and forms depending on the people, leadership, and culture of an organization; it is easier said than done and demands long-term commitment and investment. From conducting ongoing education and training, empowering team members, and developing effective communications to establishing metrics, acknowledging bias, and celebrating differences, participants of this session will gain direct access to proven strategies and best practices for creating an inclusive environment that fosters a sense of belonging.

Mental Health Bias: The Next Frontier of Diversity & Inclusion
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness; the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that an estimated 50% of all Americans are diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime. Despite these statistics, mental health remains a taboo subject with many people not self-identifying for fear of discrimination. Organizations that want to create inclusive workplaces need to create a stigma-free culture that is supportive of individuals who experience mental illness. Gain an up-to-date perspective about the misconceptions of mental health and discuss how to adopt a culture of exploration, curiosity, and regular testing and measuring to uncover new practices and strategies that will continue to eliminate the silent stigma surrounding mental health.

When Unconscious Biases Are Directed at People with Disabilities
People with disabilities face barriers every day, from physical obstacles to systemic barriers, yet often the most difficult barriers to overcome are the attitudes others carry toward individuals with disabilities. Whether born from ignorance, fear, misunderstanding, or hate, these attitudes or unconscious biases keep people from appreciating the full potential a person with a disability can achieve. Healthcare providers, dedicated to treating all patients with dignity and compassion, must lead by example to ensure the full inclusion of persons with disabilities. Participate in an insightful and enabling discussion on avoiding subconscious perceptions that can occur in the care of a person with disabilities, discover new strategies to strengthen the clinical capabilities of those providing care, and cultivate interpersonal skills and behaviors that can eliminate bias in a practice.

Missing Persons: The Lack of Color in Midwifery and Women’s Health
Midwives offer a viable solution to the maternal crisis impacting the US, yet despite the positive contributions to maternal health outcomes, particularly among women of color, it can be next to impossible for black or other women of color to find midwifery providers who look like them. Racial diversification of the midwifery profession is critical to reducing maternal mortality, increasing access to unbiased high-quality care, addressing nationwide maternity care shortages, and improving maternal and neonatal outcomes. Participants will develop a deeper understanding of how to be more welcoming to midwives of color and other midwives who have been traditionally underrepresented in the profession, discover the legislative efforts that will support long-term diversification through funding of diverse students in accredited midwifery programs, and access the knowledge and tools to spark positive transformative changes in the care of women from all communities.

Roundtable Discussions
Let’s Get Real: Honest Conversations on Diversity
More interactive than any book, video, or lecture, roundtable discussions are an opportunity for attendees to fully engage in conversations with experts and peers on everyday topics that matter. These discussions focus on the many aspects of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Everyone says they understand diversity, but is that really the case? Intuitively, yes, but there are many complexities associated with DEI that prompt open, honest discussion and reflection. During this session, you will develop a deeper understanding of the various faces of diversity through the honest voices of individuals sharing first-hand, real-life experiences. Topics include:

  • Let’s talk Race
  • Let’s talk Gender Identities
  • Let’s talk Religion
  • Let’s talk Pro-Life
  • Let’s talk Rural Health Care
  • Let’s talk Reproductive Justice
  • Let’s talk Elder Bias

Building an Inclusive Workforce for the Coming Decade and Beyond
The time to make a stand on ensuring a future inclusive workforce is now. As the workforce grows increasingly diverse, organizations need to focus on inclusion to create harmonious, productive work environments that inspire, engage, and retain talent and where all employees feel they play a significant role in meeting company goals. The work of creating an inclusive organization is not simple or quick and requires commitment from all levels of an organization. Acquire practical, actionable steps to advance inclusion in your organization, obtain guidance on developing strategies to enhance learning and skills development, and gain insight on how to prepare your organization’s culture for the unprecedented business and human realities you’ll face in the workforce of the future. 

Overcoming Microaggression: Think Before You Speak
While overt racism and other forms of discrimination are easy to recognize, the more subtle everyday actions that normalize exclusion cannot be ignored. Microaggression is not simply about hurting someone’s feelings; it’s about reinforcing the differences in power and privilege, and how this perpetuates racism and discrimination in America. They may not always be ill-intentioned, but these slights marginalize people (in terms of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, religion, age, etc.), affecting internal workplace culture and your overall business. Participants will gain evidence-based strategies to overcome unconscious bias at work and in their personal lives and walk away with a deeper understanding of microaggressions, including: how to identify and respond to these indignities, recognize the impact on the individuals involved in the exchange, learn how they threaten workplace inclusion, and learn a potentially more productive method for addressing and discontinuing these subtle acts of exclusion.

Words Matter: Communicating Effectively to Build Inclusion
Communication is a circular process of interaction, so if a statement or non-verbal message that is meant to be supportive is not received as intended, a proper response is not likely and misunderstandings can occur. Despite increased awareness and diversity training, people continue to struggle to have authentic conversations with individuals different from them and may feel as if they are walking on eggshells when discussing the topic of diversity and inclusion. Explore how to consistently communicate in a way that effectively reduces bias and supports diversity and inclusion. Move beyond the fear of saying the wrong thing, learn what tools to use to avoid communication traps, navigate the tricky world of terminology to ensure diverse teams feel included, and hear best practices on how to transform the quality and effectiveness of workplace interactions around diversity and inclusion.

Distance Bias: When Out of Sight Really Means Out of Mind for Distant Patients
What is distance bias and how does it play out in health care? This session will share how to identify distance bias and how it could leave patients feeling unsafe, isolated, and marginalized. You will hear real-life experiences and best practices for reducing distance bias, ensuring positive health outcomes, and keeping healthcare providers connected with their patients.

Diversity in Care: Gynecological and Reproductive Health Care of the LGBTQIA Community
Despite increasing interest in better serving the growing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQIA) communities, national research indicates that LGBTQIA patients are at increased risk for substandard, culturally-insensitive primary, gynecological, and reproductive care due to stigmatization that has led to inequalities in the delivery and quality of health care. In an environment where physicians and obstetricians-gynecologists lack the training or critical knowledge to effectively care for LGBTQIA people, it is imperative that midwives take the lead in expanding their understanding of the specialized clinical and interpersonal skills required to care for the gynecological and reproductive needs of LGBTQIA people. Participating in this highly educational, stimulating session will provide insight into LGBTQIA-specific clinical competencies and the cultural knowledge needed to care for this underserved community including mitigating dysphoria, feminizing and masculinizing hormonal therapies, contraception, diagnosing and treating pelvic pain in transgender men, the role of hormones in breast screening in transgender women, and reproductive health.

Creating Conscious Inclusion: Interventions that Create More Mindful, Inclusive Health Care Teams
Eliminating explicit and unconscious bias is critical to building a more diverse and inclusive healthcare organization that more truly reflects the increasingly diverse patient community midwives serve. No organization has completely cracked the code, but acknowledging bias and shifting mindsets and attitudes is the first step towards open, authentic workplaces where everyone is respected, valued, and included. This session will provide a deeper understanding of how unconscious bias impacts the culture of your organization and discuss strategies for creating a framework to enable sustainable change and inclusive healthcare teams. Key takeaways will include guidance on developing systems and process to encourage inclusion, reviewing the benefits of training, conducting self-awareness testing, relationship management, mentoring, and practice exercises on identifying non-inclusive behavior.

Seeing the Value in 75 Million: The Opportunity the Millennial Generation Can Provide Society
Millennials, at over 75 million strong, constitute America’s largest generation. As the most culturally and racially diverse segment of the population, they represent the demographic “bridge” to the nation’s diverse future. Millennials have been characterized in a number of different ways―both positive and negative, but unlike older Americans who view diversity in terms of race, demographics, equality, and representation, it’s a whole different ballgame for millennials, who see diversity as a melding of varying experiences, backgrounds, and individual perspectives. If millennials are to lay the social groundwork for the highly diverse generations that follow, investment is needed in their education, particularly among non-white Americans, along with the assurance of an inclusive workplace that supports, values, and gives a voice to all. Learn ways to cultivate a culture that makes millennials feel welcomed and valued, specifically ideas and guidance on developing the next generation of diverse midwives that will continue the legacy of providing high-quality, evidence-based, unbiased, and respectful care.

Five Key Components for Building Your Inclusion Strategy
A direct line exists between an effective diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy and organizational success. A DEI strategy isn’t simply an initiative or program, it’s a change in mindset that requires all members of the organization to commit to transformation, adapting behaviors, and to creating a culture of inclusiveness where all team members feel welcomed, engaged, valued, and connected. What are the steps to creating a DEI strategy that will create a sustainable culture of inclusion and drive organizational performance and success? This session will provide the knowledge, guidance, and tools to take on the challenges and opportunities of creating an effective strategy that include building cultural competencies, establishing a framework for successful inclusion initiatives, training all levels of an organization, and setting meaningful metrics.

Solutions for Navigating the Complexities Surrounding Religious and LGBTQIA Identities
The relationship between religion and the LGBTQIA communities is a complicated one, and everyone experiences it differently, but bias and discrimination abound among religious leaders. Difficult to navigate, the relationship between spirituality/faith and identity plays an important role in the lives of LGBTQIA people and is an issue that healthcare providers have to engage. This session will unravel some of the conflicts and inequalities that members of the LGBTQIA communities encounter with their faith and with religious organizations, including the coming-out process of a youth or adult, the transitioning of gender, or the birth of an intersexed child. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss their organization’s approach to addressing faith in the workplace in relation to the care of LGBTQIA patients, gain tips on establishing parameters for mitigating conflicts, and obtain practical guidelines on creating a culture of inclusion that is welcoming to LGBTQIA people.

Addressing Health Disparities that Put Women at Risk
As evidenced by the continuing rise in the US maternal mortality rate, particularly among women of color, health disparities persist in the US, leading to certain groups at a higher risk of being uninsured, having limited access to care, experiencing poorer quality of care, and ultimately experiencing worse health outcomes. While health and healthcare disparities are commonly viewed through the lens of race and ethnicity, they occur across a broad range of dimensions, yet with the diversification of our country, it is increasingly important to address disparities among people of color and other underserved communities. This session will update participants on key national initiatives underway to eliminate health disparities, including efforts by ACNM and other organizations, and point you to steps you can take to eliminate health disparities in your local community.

The Role of Midwives in Reproductive Justice Advocacy
Beyond gender quality and abortion rights, reproductive justice focuses on the well-being of women, women’s rights, and the elimination of racial inequalities that affect a woman’s ability to access reproductive healthcare services. This session will provide a close look at reproductive justice and the social inequities that put women at risk. It will familiarize you on the policies that restrict or hinder access to reproductive health care including access to abortion, contraception, comprehensive sex education, and prenatal and childbirth care. You will also dive into the role midwifery plays in reproductive justice, its importance in communities of color, and how the perception of midwives is impacted within the health care landscape.

Leveraging Game-Based Learning to Attain Inclusive Behaviors
As the workforce prioritizes its focus on inclusion versus diversity, organizations are undertaking different tactics to build a culture of inclusion. Evidence suggests that creative strategies and techniques that include interactive game-based learning can improve engagement and motivation. Hear real-world examples of organizations that have successfully applied the principles of game-based learning to advance their diversity and inclusion efforts; learn how incorporating fun and role-play into training can form the foundation for building respect, kindness, courage, and collaboration; and gain a better understanding of how verbal and non-verbal communication skills and social behaviors impact culture.

Eradicating Unconscious Bias―It’s Not Easy, but It Can be Done!
Unconscious bias shapes much of what we do – from the foods we enjoy to the people we connect with, and they are created by experiences, preferences, and being taught at a young age what to like and not like. Yet, those influences are social in nature, so that means as a society we have the ability to decrease implicit biases that create social inequities and that lead to discrimination to create a better tomorrow. This thought-provoking session will provide concrete steps that individuals and organizations can take to reduce implicit bias.

Don’t Let Age be a Barrier: Embracing Generational Diversity
For the first time, the US workforce is comprised of five different generations, each with unique backgrounds and perspectives that can spark creativity and create growth for their organizations. But it also presents a major challenge: blending disparate groups into cohesive and productive teams can lead to conflict. Employ steps to ensure a positive environment for all—one in which multiple perspectives and generations can thrive and feel included. Empower yourself to manage generational diversity, learn best practices to create an inclusive multigenerational workplace and ensure your organization does not discriminate based on age, and discover how to build organizational capacity to enable effective collaboration and communication.

Understanding and Supporting Gender Identity and Expression in an Organization
Imagine spending your workday stressed out about which restroom facility to use and when, either because you fear harassment or because you just don’t feel comfortable in a bathroom that doesn’t match your gender identity or expression. This session will focus on transgender inclusion and diversity with a deep dive into the legal and practical issues related to gender identity and expression in the workplace. Educate yourself on the use of gender pronouns, discuss best practices on educating your team, and learn about the various laws impacting members of the LGBTQIA communities.

The Listening Circle
Smaller, intensive, and private facilitated listening sessions that really challenge participants; a safe place to have real discussions about racism and implicit bias.

On a Mission to Innovate: Creating a Diverse, Inclusive Midwifery Profession
The healthcare profession must continue to prioritize the establishment of a diverse and inclusive workforce and culture that will ensure its ability to meet the expanding healthcare needs of an increasingly diverse society. Key is inspiring a next generation of diverse midwives to acquire the skills, experiences, and confidence to advance the profession and the critical role it plays in women’s health care. This session will supply you with the tools and resources to increase diversity and inclusion at your workplace and help to further the profession.