Rebecca Clark

Senior Fellow

Rebecca Clark, PhD, MSN, RN, CNM, WHNP-BC

  • Assistant Professor, Family and Community Health, Penn Nursing

Rebecca R. S. Clark, PhD, MSN, RN, CNM, WHNP-BC is a nurse, midwife, and health services researcher whose long-term career goal is to transform inpatient maternity care in the United States. She believes that system-level change is crucial to improving birth equity and outcomes in the United States. Specifically, she is interested in developing and implementing systemic interventions to improve birth outcomes by addressing the quality, safety, and equity of inpatient maternity care. She is interested in strengths-based interventions that do not have a high buy-in, as a good birth should be available to everyone, everywhere. Potential for real healing, or deep damage, lies in the relationship between people, for example, in the relationship between the nurse and the patient evidenced by their communication. Accordingly, Dr. Clark is interested in the influence of system-level interventions on clinicians and the clinician-patient relationship. Her work focuses on hospital nursing resources, such as the work environment and staffing, as a modifiable lever for systemic change and improvement in inpatient maternity care and outcomes such as spontaneous vaginal birth. As a midwife in West Virginia, many of the women she served were opioid-dependent. Improving the quality of inpatient maternity care for these women remains an area of abiding concern for her. She completed her PhD at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing as a Robert Wood Johnson Future of Nursing Scholar, and her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing’s Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research. She is now faculty at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing and is the Nurse Scientist at Pennsylvania Hospital.

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