Jenn Nguyen is a Registered Midwife at BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre and the Chair of the Continuing Professional Development Committee and the Anti-Racism Working Group for the Department of Midwifery.
During my master’s degree working with Indigenous women, I learned of the disparities that rural and remote women face when it comes to accessing maternity care. After doing more research into the profession, midwifery seemed like the best avenue for me to help address these barriers and inequities. Canadian midwifery as we know it today came into existence out of a grass-roots consumer led initiative to provide birthers with more autonomy, empowerment, and choice over their care. I think that’s pretty powerful and am so privileged and honoured to be able to be a part of that.
The health care system is not perfect. There are many issues of systemic racism, oppression, and discrimination. The most important thing I did during my learning was to get involved in the community and listen to the elders and the community members talk about their stories of injustice and follow their lead to find solutions. This was an integral practice in order to acknowledge my contributions to these problems as well as fueling myself to be a part of the solution and advocate for change.
In the lower mainland, we have a large Chinese and Vietnamese population that I have been very privileged to be able to service in Mandarin and Vietnamese. As a child of refugees, this has been a personal goal of mine as midwifery in Canada is a predominantly white and privileged profession that is not representative of the populations that we serve.
To be able to provide culturally safe care for these clients in their native language is an honour, and something my own mother did not have access to when she first came to Canada.
As part of the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, the Canadian Association of Midwives released a documentary on the lives of midwives, of which I was privileged to be one of the midwives featured. Watch the trailer: https://cam-global.org/2019/08/16/voice-choice-change-doc/
Watch a short documentary on Jenn Nguyen created by the Canadian Association of Midwives: https://youtu.be/eGgEoXzHsW0