Honorary degree recipient Saraswathi Vedam '78
Doctor of Science

Currently the director of the Division of Midwifery at the University of British Columbia, Saraswathi Vedam has spent a lifetime caring for pregnant women and families in the United States, Canada, the Netherlands and India. A charter member and chair of the Home Birth Section of the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) Division of Standards and Practice, she developed the national clinical practice guidelines for the provision of home birth services. In 2003, she was invited as an expert consultant to the Hungarian Ministry of Health to shape national guidelines for midwifery care and home birth.

In 2002, after many years in private practice, Vedam joined the faculty at Yale University to teach nurse-midwifery students. There she developed a full-scope midwifery private practice to offer students their primary experiences with a model of continuity-of-care, out-of-hospital birth and low-intervention care. Nominated by her students, she has twice won the prestigious ACNM Excellence in Teaching Award. Vedam chaired the Yale School of Nursing’s Diversity Action Committee and served as the founding chair of the Coalition for Diversity at Yale, a university-wide interdisciplinary consortium of faculty, staff and students addressing similar issues.

Vedam is author of seminal articles on evidence-based home birth midwifery practice and is co-author of the ACNM’s Home Birth Practice Handbook. On the recommendation of her peers, she was appointed by the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) Board to direct the organization’s research and publications section. In 2007, she was co-host of the first Normal Birth Research conference in North America. A 1978 graduate of Amherst College with a major in English, Vedam went on to obtain a Master of Science degree in nursing and a Certificate in Nurse-Midwifery from Yale University in 1984. She is the mother of four daughters, all born at home.

Hear Saraswathi Vedam speak on "Fear, Fiction and Fact: Should You Be Afraid of Pregnancy?" on the multimedia page, Conversations with Honorary Degree Recipients.