MEAC’s Mission and Purpose
The Midwifery Education Accreditation Council’s mission is to promote excellence in midwifery education through accreditation. It creates standards and criteria for the education of midwives. MEAC standards incorporate the nationally recognized core competencies and guiding principles set by the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA), The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), and the requirements for national certification of the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). MEAC’s accreditation criteria for midwifery education programs reflect the unique components and philosophy of the Midwives Model of Care.
The purpose of MEAC is to establish standards for the education of competent midwives, and to provide a process for self-evaluation and peer evaluation for diverse educational programs. MEAC is a non-profit organization approved by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency.
History of MEAC
The Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC) was formed in 1991 by the National Coalition of Midwifery Educators as a not-for-profit organization. MEAC’s standards for accreditation were developed by expert midwifery educators from a variety of midwifery educational programs in the United States. MEAC is a membership organization, comprised of institutions and programs accredited by MEAC.
Memberships and Associations
The MEAC Board of Directors is very pleased to announce that MEAC maintains membership within the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA) and the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health (ACIH).
The Midwifery Education Accreditation Council, recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, is an accrediting body for direct-entry midwifery educational programs. Accreditation plays an essential role in high quality midwifery training and practice by requiring educators to follow a path of continual growth and quality improvement. MEAC embraces our crucial role in the accountability of the midwifery profession.
We acknowledge that there is an inherent tension between upholding objective standards and maintaining a rich variety of options for students and for the childbearing public. MEAC accepts the challenge of weaving those threads into the framework of our core mission, documents, and standards.
We believe that the Midwives Model of Care (Copyright (c) 1996-2008, Midwifery Task Force, Inc.), within which MEAC standards are based, can be a positive influence in healthcare through collaboration with all professions working in the maternity care system. MEAC utilizes the Midwives Model of Care as a source of ideals for educating up-and-coming midwives, and as a map for MEAC’s work as accreditors, through respectful, fair, individualized, responsive, and transparent interactions.
- MEAC standards form a blueprint for steady growth and upgrading of educational programs that are built on current best-practice research and evidence, utilizing various educational routes including conventional classroom learning, distance learning, and clinical placement
- MEAC encourages broad student and faculty input into designing innovative programs that address the needs of the many communities midwives come from and serve.
- MEAC values and cultivates competency-based educational programs that are not defined by the length of time spent in school but by meeting internationally recognized standards of core competency.
- MEAC promotes the training of midwives who will provide care for culturally, socially, and economically diverse families.
- MEAC strives for inclusivity, in the composition of our board and in the education we oversee, for those of differing gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnic origin, marital status, creed, age, and ability/disability.
MEAC believes that accreditation has the power to effect positive change in the maternity care system. This accountability can raise the standing of skilled midwives as primary providers in healthcare for childbearing families by furthering training programs that integrate the Midwives Model of Care, embrace diversity, and incorporate innovations in knowledge and provision of care.
As a nationally recognized agency responsible for setting the standards for direct entry midwifery education, MEAC recognizes its role in shifting the midwifery education process to address disparities in outcomes for infants and birthing people. MEAC is committed to ensuring that all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, ability, employment, socioeconomic, or immigration status, develop the competencies, knowledge, skills, and abilities required to become direct entry midwives. MEAC openly and deeply holds that the values of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion are important and essential components of midwifery education.
MEAC acknowledges that:
- Equity work is a process that requires commitment to engaging and re-engaging in dismantling structural oppression.
- Structural oppression in education and healthcare disproportionately impacts black people, indigenous people, LGBTQIA+ people, people of color, immigrants, those with varying abilities, and other disadvantaged populations.
- As an accrediting organization, we have the ability and responsibility not only to apply an equity lens to our work, but also to influence midwifery education overall in the adoption of principles of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusivity.
As an equity-focused accreditation agency, MEAC will:
- Provide standards which help schools and programs embrace and support their students as dynamic individuals with multiple intersecting identities.
- Foster educational environments that support those who have experienced high levels of oppression and have historically been marginalized to experience achievement, fairness, and opportunity within direct entry midwifery education, and through continuing education.
- Empower institutions to develop varied and innovative models that remove structural barriers to obtaining a midwifery education.
MEAC’s vision as an equity-focused and justice-oriented accrediting agency, will challenge systems and beliefs of oppression individually, within our organization, and in the broader contexts of education and health. MEAC has and will continue to infuse equity, access, and justice into the foundations of our organization, allied communities, and midwifery education and accreditation.
MEAC envisions that we demonstrate our stability, sustainability, and impact in the following ways:
- Our agency thrives with committed, engaged, and supported people power
- We are a respected and innovative partner in the health and education landscape
- We have achieved economic sustainability to reduce barriers
- We have implemented transparent and effective systems and processes that are accountable to all stakeholders
- We infuse equity, access, and justice into the foundations of midwifery education and accreditation