Quite simply, without the support of FAM, the MANA Division of Research and its national birth registry—the MANA Statistics Project—would not exist. In 2003, at a time when the CPM credential was in its infancy, the MANA statistics committee pioneered a voluntary data collection project aimed at improving and expanding midwifery care in the US. However, data collection of this type, using paper data forms, was already proving impractical, and a web-based data collection system was proposed. There was an urgent need for funding to realize this ambitious vision while the opportunity was present, and fortunately for all of us, FAM (also in its early years) saw the potential, took the risk, and granted what at that time was the largest grant in its history. This inspired other funding and tremendous volunteer dedication to allow the creation of manastats.org in only one year.
The ambitious vision for this web system included pre-registration of clients, recording of client consent, and an interactive data form that has since evolved into the 4.0 version data collection instrument in use today, with statistics provided back to midwives, practices and state organizations. Over the next decade, more than 100,000 data records were collected; the data form has been completely re-designed and the software completely re-written for greater flexibility and robustness. At this point, more than two dozen research projects are underway using MANA Stats. Several major publications have also been made possible by the ongoing support of FAM. Every year, with the support of Birth Trustees, FAM has risen to the occasion to allow the MANA Statistics Project to continue its mission of enabling transformative research. A growing body of research is now available to help guide evidence-based practice, ongoing quality improvement, and shared decision making among childbearing families who desire community birth.
The MANA Division of Research is deeply thankful for FAM’s support and vision over the years and we look forward to continuing this essential partnership as we work together to insure a future for normal physiologic birth in the United States and internationally. Thank you FAM.