Jodie Simms-MacLeod ’09 is the Midwifery Director at University of Tennessee Medical Center. There, she both leads the team of midwives while also providing direct patient care. Prior to joining this practice, Jodie worked for several years in community-based birth centers.
At Amherst, Jodie majored in biology, received the Five College Culture, Health, and Science Certificate, and co-founded the Amherst College Public Health Collaborative. Her passion for public health led her to move to Alabama and join the non-profit organization Project Horseshoe Farm in the first group of Fellows, where she explored her interests in rural public health and mental health. Jodie studied to become a Nurse Midwife and Family Nurse Practitioner at Emory and while still in school, volunteered in the community to support local refugee women throughout their pregnancies, births, and postpartum. Health equity, maternal & child health, and reproductive justice remain important priorities for her as she serves patients and families. Jodie cites her Amherst education, and its emphasis on making connections across disciplines, as fundamental to her everyday work: helping her find creative solutions as a leader of a team of health professionals, and emphasizing the role of narrative and culture in health and healing.
Jodie Simms-MacLeod ’09
Q. What is one thing you discovered about yourself early in your career?
A. That I can do hard things! As a new Midwife, I struggled my first year with “imposter syndrome” and often second guessed my clinical decisions. Occasionally I would realize I missed something or made a mistake and would reach out to my coworkers for support and advice. At first I would feel shame or guilt, but, overtime, I have come to realize it is important to not dwell so much on my mistakes, but focus on what I learned from them. It is learning how to respond that matters most. Failure is part of being human! I’ve found that being vulnerable and admitting mistakes and missteps helps build deeper human connection and ultimately moves us forward, personally and professionally.