PHOTO: Erin K. George

Erin K. George

Erin K. George is the recipient of the 2022 Henry B. Spencer Scholarship. She is a Certified Nurse-Midwife and a third year PhD candidate at Boston College Connell School of Nursing. Erin received her Bachelor of Arts in Growth and Structure of Cities at Bryn Mawr College, her Bachelor of Nursing at MGH Institute of Health Professions, and her Master of Science in Nurse-Midwifery at Yale University School of Nursing. Her doctoral studies draw from her experience working in academic medical center, community hospital, birth center, and global health birth settings, focusing on studying perinatal decision-making and the effects of the birthing environment on perinatal outcomes.

Erin first became interested in health care at a young age, when her mother worked as a unit coordinator at the local emergency department in their Boston neighborhood. As a high school volunteer with emergency department nurses, Erin witnessed how health disparities were unfairly rooted in a person’s identity, socioeconomic status, and home environment. In college, Erin interned for the health and human rights organization Partners In Health, where she met a nurse-midwife, a leader in reproductive health equity and social justice issues, who inspired Erin to pursue a nurse-midwifery career.

While Erin completed her prerequisites for nursing school, she continued to work with Partners In Health as a research assistant in a community health worker-run HIV/AIDS treatment program based in Boston, MA. This early exposure to health research laid the foundation for Erin to eventually pursue doctoral studies. Erin continued to work with Partners In Health through midwifery school, completing a nursing rotation in Haiti and receiving the Yale Law School Gruber Fellowship in Global Justice and Women’s Rights to fund a year-long nursing and midwifery advocacy position in Haiti and Boston.

Erin has practiced as a nurse-midwife for ten years and is part of the Midwives at Mount Auburn Hospital practice in Cambridge, MA. As a nurse-midwife, Erin has seen first-hand how physical environments and workplace cultures can affect a person’s birth experiences and outcomes. Erin decided to pursue a PhD in Nursing because of the need for more research about how people at low obstetrical risk access low-intervention care. Her dissertation research focuses how people decide to give birth in freestanding birth centers, using secondary data analysis and qualitative methods. Erin’s research is currently funded by the American Association of Birth Centers, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses, and the Alpha Chi Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau at Boston College.

Erin’s long-term career goal is to become a nurse-midwife scientist with an independent program of research that will contribute to the achievement of perinatal health equity in the United States. She plans to pursue post-doctoral studies to develop a birth setting decisional support tool that would help people consider different birth settings and consider factors that will enhance their chances of experiencing positive birth outcomes.

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