McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Founding dean of midwifery takes her leave

Published: December 19 , 2006
Karyn Kaufman
Karyn Kaufman is retiring from her role as assistant dean for the Bachelor of Health Sciences in Midwifery program.

Karyn Kaufman, who helped midwifery become a respected profession in Ontario and established McMaster University’s midwifery program, is retiring as assistant dean.

Kaufman, a professor of family medicine and an associate member of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, has been assistant dean for the Bachelor of Health Sciences in Midwifery program since its inception in 1993. The program is a consortium with Ryerson and Laurentian universities.

A retirement reception is being held for her at the University Club at 4 p.m. today, and guests are expected from Ryerson and Laurentian as well as the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, the Association of Ontario Midwives, the College of Midwives and faculty, staff, students and alumni from the program.

Kaufman was awarded her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at the University of Michigan in 1966 with high distinction, and her master of science and a certificate of nurse-midwifery at New York Medical College’s graduate school of nursing in 1968. She worked as a nurse and taught at the University of Utah before coming to McMaster University in 1972.

She was a clinical nurse specialist in the perinatal program for Chedoke-McMaster hospitals for 15 years, while she was also an assistant, later associate, professor for the School of Nursing. She earned her Doctor of Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina in1986, and, at the same time, she was involved in broadening the birthing options for women across Ontario.

During the ‘80s she took several leadership roles looking into the implementation of midwifery in Ontario for the RNAO as well as the provincial Ministry of Health. The result was changed times, and the beginning of the midwifery program led by McMaster in collaboration with Ryerson and Laurentian universities.

During her tenure as chair and then assistant dean for the program which began in 1993, enrolment for the four-year Bachelor of Health Sciences in Midwifery degree has grown from 19 students to 63 first-year students each year for the consortium. She has been called upon for her expertise in Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec and, outside Canada, in New Zealand and Haiti.

Kaufman is well known for her ability to develop and foster relationships between multiple stakeholders on an issue and on how to motivate consensus. She’s also known as a wonderful teacher. In 1996 she was awarded the McMaster University President’s Award for Educational Leadership.

"Karyn Kaufman brought remarkable educational and administrative skills to the role," said Susan Denburg, associate vice president academic and associate dean, education for the Faculty of Health Sciences.

"She is wise and collegial, and has long been committed to enhancing interprofessional education and practice. Her commitment to excellence and her contributions to advancing the academic mission of the Faculty have been greatly valued and we wish her well in her retirement."

Kaufman has received many accolades for her contributions, and last year the University of British Columbia awarded her an honorary doctorate for her achievements.

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