Ruth Watson Lubic



She arrived in the "Big Apple" in 1955 from a small town in Pennsylvania, equipped with little more than a colonial heritage, a Scottish/Alsatian ancestry, a family's inbred dedication to public service and a good husband.  She had received awards from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for both best grades and the Nightingale medal for epitomizing what a nurse should be.  The signs of success came early.  She had limitless energy, creativity, determination, and a reputation for reliability and purposefulness.  All this was packaged within a joyous and somewhat irreverent, but loving disposition.

Thus, there evolved Dr. Lubic, a nurse-midwife, educator, anthropologist and innovator who in her twenty-five years (1970-1995) as Childbirth Connection's General Director, became a major force in transforming health care for childbearing women and their families.  Initially, Childbirth Connection established the controversial East 92nd Street out-of-hospital Childbearing Center (CbC), the first such in the United States.  Notwithstanding enormous difficulty, Childbirth Connection opened a second successful CbC in the southwest Bronx for a largely underserved population.  Both centers provided family centered care for normal deliveries in a comfortable, homelike environment.  Innovations were numerous.  Women were given access to their charts!  The focus was not only the well-being of mothers and babies, but families as well, with personalized, low-tech high-touch, cost effective professional care.  Prenatal care was comprehensive requiring family participation.  Parents, grandparents and siblings were welcomed in prenatal classes and at a delivery.  Birthing became a partnership with family and professionals sharing responsibilities.  Because no drugs were used, and labor and delivery were in positions of choice, families returned home within 12 hours.  

As a result, a national movement developed and hundreds of similar CbCs arose in the USA and in foreign lands, serving families at all social and economic levels.  As important, if not more so, has been the acknowledged impact on conventional birthing practices in hospitals across the country.  Dr. Lubic co-founded the ACNM Foundation, the National Association of Childbearing Centers, and the Community Based Nurse-Midwifery Education Program Consortium for the education of new nurse-midwives.  She received honorary degrees and special recognitions from eight universities, more than two dozen awards of merit from across the country, and the Rockefeller Public Service Award from Princeton University.  She is the first nurse to receive a MacArthur Fellowship.  A member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences since the early seventies, she has published extensively and is a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Nursing, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the Society for Applied Anthropology, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  Dr. Lubic was the first president of NACC.  She was also president of the American Association of World Health/US Committee for WHO, is active in the American Public Health Association and is Adjunct Professor of Nursing at New York University.  Traveling widely, she has been invited to speak and provide "hands-on" advice on five continents.

Appointed Expert Consultant to the Assistant Secretary for Health in Washington in 1995, Dr. Lubic advises that notable accomplishments are yet to come as she focuses, with local collaborators, on the distressing problems facing mothers, babies and families in the District of Columbia and on improving services to underserved populations in this and other countries.

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Childbirth Connection is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1918 as Maternity Center Association. Our mission is to improve the quality of maternity care through research, education, advocacy and policy. Childbirth Connection promotes safe, effective and satisfying evidence-based maternity care and is a voice for the needs and interests of childbearing families.
Most recent page update: 8/15/2007