Documentary following the Collaborative Care model in the hospital system.

For more than 100 years in the Unites States, doctors and midwives have been in opposition to one another. THE MAMA SHERPAS[i] examines how this is beginning to change.  The feature-length documentary follows midwives, the doctors they work with, and their patients over the course of two years. The documentary will provide an observational lens into how midwives work within the hospital system.  THE MAMA SHERPAS will observe how the practices of midwifery are mainstreamed into current medical practices and examine how this could improve health care and costs of obstetrics care for all involved.

In recent years, the idea of a “collaborative care” practice where doctors and midwives manage women’s care together has begun to gain traction.  Although these models are few, they are growing.  So far, research has demonstrated, that collaborative care models provide better outcomes for mother and baby as well as lowers the C-section rate, which has skyrocketed in recent years.[ii]

THE MAMA SHERPAS follows three collaborative practices in the United States.   Each practice models a different type of collaboration.  Physician and Midwives Collaborative Practice  in Alexandria, VA is a private practice that is made up of ten midwives and ten doctors.  The midwives “catch” or deliver the babies in at Inova Alexandria Hospital and the doctors are on call in case of any complications.  The midwives of Baystate Midwifery & Women’s Health at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts have an independent practice and work side by side doctors within a large medical center.  Baystate Midwifery & Women’s Health also hosts a Midwifery Education Program, which trains midwives and oversees first year residents.  The Birthing Center at Sutter Davis Hospital in Davis California is a collaborative practice of obstetricians and certified nurse-midwives, which provides high quality, economical, patient-centered care to a diverse population for three decades.   CommuniCare‘s midwives work together with midwives and doctors from the Sutter Medical Group to deliver babies at the Birthing Center.

The documentary’s subject is an extension of Brigid Maher’s focus on women’s issues.  With this project, Maher seeks to produce a unique film based in the United States, which takes on one of the most heated current debates in America – health care.  This will be an important contribution to women’s films as a genre because knowledge about medical options has often been withheld from women.[iii]  This film will serve as an educational tool to inform women about their own health and bodies.

 REFERENCES[i] The Mama Sherpas.  <>[ii] Obstetrics and Gynecology. Vol. 118, No. 3, September 2011
<>[iii] “Deadly Delivery: The Maternal Health Care Crisis in the USA.” Amnesty International Publications. London: Amnesty International Secretariat. 2010.  p 53.  <>
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