Detroit Public Television Looks at the Modern Midwives

By: Jen Carter, PBS Interactive

As 'Call the Midwife' continues to entice audiences Sunday nights, Detroit Public Television (DPTV), has created a new blog in the hopes of leveraging some of that interest. But they've added an interesting twist. 

Modern Day Midwives looks to explore what it's like to be a midwife in 2012. DPTV reached out to local nurse-midwives and asked them to write about their role in modern obstetrics and how things have changed in relation to midwives from the 1950s. They ended up with great interest - two talented nurse-midwives have now posted for each episode and an educator is helping to field questions about nurse-midwifery education. 

We sat down with Georgeann Herbert, Strategic Planning and Partnerships with DPTV, to discuss this new blog.

"The push began in Denver.  'When it aired in England, it had higher ratings than Downton Abbey!'. We knew 'Call the Midwife' was going to be a special program for PBS this fall. I saw a challenge, though. The program is set in the East End of London in the late 1940’s, meaning that the babies we’re seeing born in the episodes are now the viewers of British TV. Calling the Midwife was the kind of thing every family might have a story about.  Would the topic successfully cross the pond?

"Then, one day, while waiting for an elevator at the Henry Ford Hospital in West Bloomfield, the answer was in front of me. Henry Ford Health Systems runs a midwife program through its OB-GYN department. I wondered, 'What is life like for a modern day midwife?  Would they be viewing the show?  What would they think about how the midwives and their clients would be portrayed?'   So, we made a phone call to ask, and found the midwives were excited to chip in on a blog about the show.

Because nurse-midwives are a close-knit community, the word soon spread and, before we knew it, we had three nurse-midwives taking part, adding a great dimension and Detroit perspective to a great national PBS show."

Share your thoughts and comments about the Modern Day Midwives blog below.

Is your station doing something similar to leverage national content with a #localpbs spin? Reach out to us if you want to share and promote your initiatives.