BIPOC Mentorship Program
In response to student requests, Ryerson MEP launched a BIPOC student mentorship program for self-identified students who are Black, Indigenous, or People of Colour. This is an opportunity for BIPOC midwives to pair, share and care with this next generation of BIPOC students. The mentorship program is open to any midwife and any student residing and working in Canada (regardless of the site of their MEP).
From the research, we see that a formal, evidence-based, respectful, individualized mentorship program helps to increase retention and graduation rates, mitigates against trauma, and promotes resiliency and professional skills that will prepare them well for a long career in a stressful but valued profession. The research also demonstrates the dire need to diversify our midwifery workforce if we are to promote health equity in our diverse population. The results of a recent study by BIPOC midwife researcher, Valentin-Welch revealed that mentored BIPOC students tend to have a lower rate of attrition, greater satisfaction and success. It’s is presumed that this will prepare them to have a longer and more fulfilling career in the profession.
Midwives and students make connections based upon their stated priority demographics (e.g., language, ethno-racial background, country of birth, heritage, geography, ability, faith, gender, LGBTQQIP2SAA, parenthood, etc.). Ultimately though, the mentorship process works, not because the pair has everything in common, but because they are both dedicated to communicate by webconferening (Skype, Voom, WhatsApp, Facetime, Google Hangout) or phone at least once per month. Regular emails with tips and pearls, a private Facebook group, and BIPOC student-run socials are many of the ways that mentors are supported. Any midwife can be a mentor if you have practiced in Canada, at any career stage -- even if you are already a preceptor.
Here is a link to an online application form for midwife mentor hopefuls. Here is a link to student mentee hopefuls. To receive orientation materials, please contact Karline Wilson-Mitchell and someone from the team will follow up. In addition, Ryerson University BIPOC midwifery students and alumni run an open Facebook page and the BIPOC Mentors Group Canada has a closed Facebook group that you may request membership at.