Elsie Cressman Award

The Elsie Cressman Award is about annually recognizing an Ontario midwife or group of midwives who have successfully initiated an innovative and client-centred midwifery project in the past five years.

Named after Elsie Cressman, Order of Ontario winner and groundbreaking midwife, the award honours Elsie's spirit of always exploring the possible. Born in 1923, graduating with a degree in science from Goshen Mennonite College in the 1940s, Elsie worked in Tanzania as a nurse in a leprosarium. At the age of 40, Cressman went to London, England to train as a midwife. She returned to Canada to practice for more than 20 years, attending thousands of births in St. Jacobs. In the '80s Elsie worked as a nurse in hospital while acting as a home birth midwife for the families in her community. When asked why she was willing to practice in this tenuous legal environment, she replied, “The women made me." That spirit of dedication to client-centred care makes Ms. Cressman the ideal namesake for this award.

Click here to see a list of previous winners.


Current AOM members in good standing can submit nominations for this award, including self-nominations. Current AOM Board members and AOM employees are ineligible.

Nominees for this award should have:

  • Initiated a midwifery project (may be local or global) within the past five years that enhances client-centred care and is responsive to community needs. Specifically, the project should further at least one of the AOM’s commitments and/or goals in the 2022-2025 strategic plan

  • Used cultural safety1, cultural humility2, and innovation in delivery of midwifery care with this project3.
  • Succeeded in achieving objectives of their project which have resulted in benefits to the community, as defined by the community through some form of community engagement and evaluation.


1 Cultural safety in the context of healthcare refers to the outcome that arises from respectful engagement within the healthcare setting that recognizes and attempts to level power imbalances which are inherent to the healthcare system. Culturally safe spaces and practices are free from racism and discrimination and allows both midwives to feel safe working in, and clients to feel safe receiving care. (Definition from First Nations Health Authority [internet], see endnote [1]

2 Cultural Humility refers to an openness to learning about and understanding another’s experiences, particularly through the process of self-reflection on personal and systemic biases. It is in an attempt to build relationships with another founded on mutual trust and respect. (Definition from First Nations Health Authority [internet], see endnote [1]

3 Cultural safety and humility [Internet]. Fnha.ca. [cited 2023 Jan 17]. Available from: https://www.fnha.ca/wellness/wellness-and-the-first-nations-health-authority/cultural-safety-and-humility

Nomination Criteria

The following criteria will be used to assess and rank nominations. Please provide as much information as you can about each of the four criteria, including concrete examples. Each nomination will be scored out of 100:

  1. Project has been developed with a focus on providing culturally safe, client-centred midwifery care. Explain how this project demonstrates a focus on providing culturally safe, client-centred midwifery care. (20 marks)

  2. Project demonstrates cultural safety, humility and innovation in delivery of client-centred midwifery care. Describe the cultural safety, humility and innovation in practice, model, organization, technology, process or service used within the project to enhance the delivery of client-centred midwifery care. (20 marks)

  3. Project has been successful in meeting stated objectives. Outline the stated objectives of the project as well as the tools that were used to measure whether or not the objectives were achieved. Provide results related to the outcomes and measures that were monitored to identify if the stated objectives were achieved. (20 marks)

  4. Project adequately considered and prioritized principles of Indigenous sovereignty, and/or equity, diversity and inclusion in it’s planning and implementation process. Explain how principles of Indigenous sovereignty and/or equity, diversity and inclusion were adequately considered and prioritized throughout the planning and implementation of this project. (20 marks)

  5. Project has had a positive impact on the community. Explain how this project has had a positive impact on the community and what evaluations you have conducted with community members to know these positive impacts to be true. (20 marks)

Nomination Selection

The AOM Awards Task Force will review nominations and recommend an award recipient to the Board of Directors who will make the final selection.

To be considered nominations can be completed online, submitted by email or by sending a request for an interview to Diana MacNab.

Submissions must include:

  • Nominee information
  • Nominator & seconder information
  • Explanation of how the individual meets the criteria for this award

Don't know where to start? TMU offers some helpful tips for preparing a nomination package that are also applicable to the AOM nominations process.


Awards will be presented at the Ontario Midwifery Conference in 2024.

The deadline to submit nominations for this award is Dec 8, 2023.


Click for Application Package