Holly Powell Kennedy Is Named the First Helen Varney Professor
Holly Powell Kennedy, the inaugural Helen Varney Professor of Midwifery at Yale University School of Nursing (YSN), is helping to further understanding of midwifery practice today.
Kennedy, who will join the YSN faculty on July 1, is currently an associate professor at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) School of Nursing’s Department of Family Health Care Nursing and the UCSF/San Francisco General Hospital Interdepartmental Midwifery Education Program.
Her research has focused on several aspects of midwifery practice. She has studied specific processes of care and how they are related to health outcomes in women and their families, and she has examined midwifery practice within the context of today’s health care arena. She recently completed collecting data for a three-year clinical trial on group prenatal care in the military health care setting, funded by the TriService Nursing Research Program. She also conducted research on England’s national commitment to normal birth as a 2008 Fulbright Distinguished Scholar.
A retired colonel of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps Reserve with 31 years of service, Kennedy received her certificate in nurse-midwifery from the Frontier School of Midwifery & Family Nursing in 1985 and her Ph.D. from the University of Rhode Island in 1999. She also holds an M.S.N. in family nursing from the Medical College of Georgia-Augusta, a B.G.S. in social science from Chaminade University in Honolulu, Hawaii, and a diploma in nursing from Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio.
She was recently named the president-elect of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. She is co-chair of the International Confederation of Midwives Research Standing Committee, which connects midwife researchers around the world. Kennedy is also associate editor of the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, and received the Rhode Island Governor’s Citation of Service for her work as chair of the state’s Task Force on Primary Care.
The new Varney Professorship honors the contributions in midwifery education, practice and scholarship of Helen Varney Burst, professor emerita at YSN. The chair was established on the occasion of her retirement from YSN by her friends and colleagues. Varney’s contributions in clinical practice, midwifery education, scholarship and professional development spanned more than 40 years. This professorship was created to recognize the profession’s vital contributions to the health and well-being of women and newborns and YSN’s commitment to excellent midwifery education.