SDAHO intern studies midwifery to inform public policy

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Rizwaan Lakhani, recently completed a 10-week internship with SDAHO in participation with the RISE-UP program through the University of South Dakota (USD). USD is part of a national consortium of universities committed to diversifying the public health workforce. The USD RISE-UP program funding comes from the Kennedy Krieger Institute.

Lakhani worked on two primary projects for the association, one of which was related to the study of lay midwifery. Lakhani’s study, Anchoring Bias: Midwifery and Homebirth, revealed that lay midwifery for home births has a two-fold increase in neonatal deaths. Through a small sample survey, he also found that individuals’ views of lay midwifery are heavily influenced on the initial piece of information they are provided. Thus, if people are not completely certain on the impacts of lay midwifery, they can be influenced by any given information, whether or not it is accurate.

In the last legislative session, SDAHO opposed legislation introduced to allow the practice of lay midwifery due to lack of training and medical oversight, concern for the health of mothers and babies and managing complications in emergency situations