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The American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) has awarded its 2016 Outstanding Preceptor Award to Certified Nurse Midwife Rachel Graber of Midwifery Care of Holyoke (MCH), a member of Valley Health Systems and the Holyoke Medical Center (HMC) family.
Apr 29, 2019

HOLYOKE, MA – May 24, 2016 – The American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) has awarded its 2016 Outstanding Preceptor Award to Certified Nurse Midwife Rachel Graber of Midwifery Care of Holyoke (MCH), a member of Valley Health Systems and the Holyoke Medical Center (HMC) family.

“The award honors a preceptor of student Certified Nurse Midwives/Certified Midwives who has shown outstanding qualities for leadership and teaching, been a mentor for multiple students, and has repeatedly promoted high standards of midwifery education,” according to the ACNM website.

“Rachel is highly deserving of this prestigious award for her ability to share the wisdom she has gained in her own experiences and that shared with the Midwifery Care of Holyoke team,” said Spiros Hatiras, President and Chief Executive Officer, Holyoke Medical Center and Valley Health Systems, Inc. “Valley Health Systems prides itself on its extraordinary staff, such as Rachel, who provide a culture of helping others succeed.”

Graber was nominated by Sukey Agard Krause, director of the Midwifery Education Program at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield.

“Ms. Graber is an outstanding preceptor, for our students as well as students from other programs. She gives consistent, kind feedback that nurtures growth. She coordinates and tracks the experiences of the students. She communicates consistently and reliably with our program so that students’ needs are met in a timely fashion. She has shown outstanding preceptor work with students in need of remediation, providing constructive learning plans to move students forward. She is never arbitrary or punitive,” wrote Krause. “Midwifery Care of Holyoke is an exemplary practice. . . . Their commitment to high standards of midwifery practice are a model for our students.”

Graber, who has worked as a midwife since 2008 and been precepting for the last six years, said she was totally surprised and honored to learn of the award.

“Precepting is just part of what we do here – it is one of the hallmarks of midwifery. We’re very dedicated to training upcoming midwives. We also work with the medical students, although we’re not a teaching hospital,” said Graber, noting that MCH has a longstanding relationship with Baystate’s midwifery education program.  

Typically a student in the “integration” year spends all of their time for 12 weeks with a preceptor in a practice, to gain hands-on experience and confidence in their skills. The eight midwives at MCH share the teaching responsibility and aim to give a well-rounded experience to upcoming nurse midwives, said Graber, who completed her own integration year clinicals at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Dartmouth, N.H., as well as clinicals in New York City and Connecticut. She earned her master’s degree in nursing from Yale University in New Haven, Conn. and graduated from their nurse-midwifery program. Before that, she graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a bachelor’s degree in individual concentration studying international women’s health education.

Graber started working at Midwifery Care of Holyoke as her first job post graduation. She sees patients in MCH’s two Holyoke offices as well as their Northampton office at 150 Main St. (third floor of Thorne’s Marketplace) and she delivers babies at The Birthing Center at HMC.

“I really love the practice. We just celebrated our 30th anniversary of MCH. It’s a practice that is really ingrained in the community. I love the population here – the diversity of women and families that we see. No one has the same story or the same situation. It’s constantly interesting, and challenging, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. It kind of fills all my needs,” said Graber, who also lives in Holyoke. “The most rewarding thing is since I’ve been doing this for awhile, becoming colleagues with some of our former students and watching them develop as nurse midwives in the community.”

HMC’s team of certified nurse midwives are experts in normal labor and delivery and well woman care. Working within their personalized, family-centered model, midwives work in close partnership with HMC’s team of obstetricians, gynecologists and The Birthing Center staff. Midwives respect women’s choices, avoid unnecessary cesarean sections and interventions and blend loving support with evidence-based medicine for women throughout the life cycle. On call 24/7, they practice the art and science of midwifery, caring for women at annual well woman visits (pap test, breast exam, diet, exercise, lifestyle, birth control), pre-conception counseling, fertility management (including artificial insemination), labor and childbirth and menopause.

The American College of Nurse Midwives is the professional organization that represents certified nurse midwives and certified midwives in the United States, since 1929.


About Holyoke Medical Center
Holyoke Medical Center is a 198-bed facility with 1,200 employees serving individuals and families throughout the cities and towns of Holyoke, Chicopee, South Hadley, Granby, Easthampton, Southampton, West Springfield and Belchertown. The medical staff includes more than 300 physicians and consulting staff. Holyoke Medical Center is a nationally-accredited hospital and received a 2014 Top Hospital Award from the Leapfrog Group for excellence in quality of care and patient safety. Among some of top-rated services at HMC is the award-winning HMC Stroke Service which has been consistently rated as one of the best in the state by The American Heart and Stroke Association.  Areas of clinical emphasis also include behavioral health, critical care, emergency care, orthopedics, oncology, rehabilitation, women’s health services, and speech and hearing services. Holyoke Medical Center is a member of Valley Health Systems in Holyoke which also includes the affiliates Holyoke Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice Life Care, Western Mass Physician Associates and River Valley Counseling Center.­­