Scope and Contents
The Mississippi County Nurse-Midwife Program Collection (0.41 linear feet) consists of 8 series: Policies and Program Information, Administration (5 subseries), Correspondence (2 subseries), Grant Information, Addition to Mississippi County Health Department Building, Convention Information, Newspaper Clippings, and one cassette tape. The Mississippi County Nurse-Midwife Project Collection was compiled by the employees of the Mississippi County Nurse-Midwife Program and only pertains to the administration of the project.
Conditions Governing Access
This manuscript collection consists of physical materials. This collection has not been digitized. This collection is open for research use only in the Archives' Reading Room, it is not available for request through Interlibrary Loan. Please contact the archive at least a week in advance of your arrival to ensure the availability of the material.
Dr. W. Wayne Workman
(November 2, 1921-present) Dr. Workman began clinical practice in Mississippi County Arkansas
in 1952. He worked as a practicing Obstetrition-Gynocologist, was chief of staff at Chickasawba
Hospital (1963-1987), and was Mississippi County Health Director (1974-1988). In 1975 he organized
the Mississippi County Nurse-Midwife program to combat the growing infant mortality problem in
Arkansas. On April 1, 1988 Workman became the Medical Director of Women's Health at the Arkansas
Department of Health in Little Rock, Arkansas. That same year he also began teaching Obstetrics and
Gynecology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), a career that lasted 16 years.
Dr. Eva Dodge
(July 24, 1896-March 20, 1990) Dr. Eva Dodge was a pioneer physician and educator in the field of
obstetrics and gynecology. She was an advocate for maternal health care and sex education for young
people in Arkansas and across the United States. Dodge was a worldwide influence through her work
with the Pan American Medical Women's Alliance (PAMWA) as an obstetric consultant. In 1951 she
was named woman of the year by the Arkansas Democrat. Dodge was also a leader in the American
Medical Women's Association (AMWA). In 1977 she received the organization's highest honor: the
Elizabeth Blackwell Medal.
Mississippi County Nurse-Midwife Project began through cooperative efforts on January 1, 1976 by
Dr. Wayne Workman and Dr. Eva Dodge, from the Arkansas Department of health. A federal grant
was obtained and a non-profit corporation was formed. The program had three objectives: 1. Ensure
patients received better maternity care 2. Lower the infant mortality rate (Arkansas infant mortality rate
in 1975 was 18.3; Mississippi County mortality rate was 34.9 in 1975.) 3. Expand the existing health care
system. A nurse-midwife would practice under the supervision of a board certified obstetrician. They
would provide quality, low cost pre and post-natal care to both mother and child from offices located
in the local county health department. Mothers would deliver in a hospital. On July 1, 1976 Barbara
Upshaw became the first certified midwife and director of the project. The program did succeed and was
responsible for the drop in infant mortality from 34.9 in 1975 to 11.6 in 1991 (per 1,000 births) and was
able to provide many low income patients with quality maternity care. More than 6,000 children were
delivered over the course of 26 years. However, the program never became self–sustainable and would
always require government funding. Upon losing federal funds during the Reagan Administration, the
Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) absorbed the program and later closed it.
.41 Linear Feet (This collection is contained within one document box and is comprised of 12 folders and one cassette case. )