Amy Ellen Polk Memorial Scholarship
This scholarship was developed in memory of Amy Ellen Polk, a devoted wife, dedicated mother of two, talented transportation engineer, and passionate and outspoken advocate for a Takoma Park, Maryland-based birthing center.
The annual scholarship is awarded in the form of a tuition grant to attend a How to Start a Birth Center Workshop. An additional $500 is awarded for travel expenses if the recipient is attending an in-person workshop. The workshop is offered in two formats: a two-day, hands-on workshop in a major US city; or as an online course that you can complete at your own pace, in your own home. Learn more about the AABC How to Start a Birth Center Workshops, including 2018 dates and locations at www.BirthCenters.org.
Amy was a compassionate and intensely motivated woman who pursued her goals with confidence. "She was very high-energy; when she knew what she wanted, she just went and did it; ... when she set her mind to something, it was just going to happen," says her widower, John Robinette, adding that his wife's enthusiasm for a birthing center came from her experiences with a similar center in Bethesda, Maryland that has since closed.
"We had two fantastic birth experiences at the Maternity Center in Bethesda, and then it shut down," he said. "To have that option go away didn't seem right, so she set out to fix that problem. ... In some ways, it feels like Amy died in childbirth with this infant child in [the form of] the birth center."
Both of Robinette's and Polk's two sons, Adam and Brian were born at the Bethesda maternity center before it closed in 2007.
Amy envisioned a center that would provide individualized care in a home-like setting to women throughout the lifespan, from onset of menstruation, through the childbearing years, to menopause and beyond. She sought to create a center that would monitor the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the woman throughout the childbearing cycle; provide individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support; and minimize technological interventions. This center would do nothing short of improving her community.
The organization she founded, Seasons of Life Women’s Health and Birth Center, will hopefully become a reality in the not too distant future at the campus of a Takoma Park hospital, when they relocate to a new location. It is the hope of her friends, family and colleagues at Seasons of Life that this scholarship will empower other like-minded individuals to start birth centers in their own hometowns as well.
To be eligible for the scholarship you must be actively working on the development of a freestanding birth center in your community and demonstrate financial need. Candidates from Maryland, DC or Virginia will receive preferred consideration.
Individuals wishing to apply for consideration may complete an online application form addressing eligibility and responding to the following questions:
- Why do you want to open a birth center?
- What is your experience with birth centers?
- How far are you in the development process?
- What resources have you brought together towards your goal of establishing a birth center?
- How will the AABC How to Start a Birth Center workshop be of benefit to you?
2018 Application Period
The 2018 Application Period ran from January 15th, 2018 to February 25th, 2018 and is now closed.
The Amy Polk Scholarship will be offered again in early 2019.
Questions? Contact Linda Baysore: email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-234-8068
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