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Debra Erickson-Owens, CNM, PhD, of North Kingstown, has been named Nurse Midwife of the Year by Rhode Island Monthly magazine. Erickson-Owens is a research scientist in the Department of Pediatrics at Women & Infants Hospital and an associate professor at the University of Rhode Island, and is co-principal investigator of the Infant Brain Study, through which researchers are examining brain development during the first two years of life in babies who have immediate umbilical cord clamping compared to those who have delayed cord clamping.

A graduate of Boston University, Erickson-Owens earned a masters degree in nurse- midwifery at the University of Utah, a post masters certificate in nursing education at the University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD in nursing at the University of Rhode Island.

Erickson-Owens was a practicing certified nurse midwife for more than 30 years, during which time she helped more than 1,400 women give birth. She served as an active duty U.S. Air Force Nurse Corp officer and midwife for 20 years. In 1998, she joined the URI faculty in the Graduate Nurse-Midwifery Program. In 2008, while pursuing her doctorate, she began working as a research assistant at Women & Infants’ Brown Center for the Study of Children at Risk. In 2012, she was awarded a grant, along with Drs. Judith Mercer and Sean Deoni, from the National Institutes of Health/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to study the timing of umbilical cord clamping and its effect on early brain development.

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About Women & Infants Hospital

Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England hospital, is one of the nation’s leading specialty hospitals for women and newborns. A major teaching affiliate of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University for obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics, as well as a number of specialized programs in women’s medicine, Women & Infants is the 9th largest stand-alone obstetrical service in the country and the largest in New England with approximately 8,500 deliveries per year. A Designated Baby-Friendly® USA hospital, U.S.News & World Report 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospital in Neonatology and a 2014 Leapfrog Top Hospital, in 2009 Women & Infants opened what was at the time the country’s largest, single-family room neonatal intensive care unit.

Women & Infants and Brown offer fellowship programs in gynecologic oncology, maternal-fetal medicine, urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery, neonatal-perinatal medicine, pediatric and perinatal pathology, gynecologic pathology and cytopathology, and reproductive endocrinology and infertility. It is home to the nation’s first mother-baby perinatal psychiatric partial hospital, as well as the nation’s only fellowship program in obstetric medicine.

Women & Infants has been designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiography; a Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology; a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence by the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and a Neonatal Resource Services Center of Excellence. It is one of the largest and most prestigious research facilities in high risk and normal obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics in the nation, and is a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Gynecologic Oncology Group and the Pelvic Floor Disorders Network.
Women & Infants Hospital News


Amy Blustein
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