MacArthur Fellows Program

Ruth Watson Lubic

Nurse-Midwife | Class of 1993

New York, New York
66 at time of award
Area of Focus
Health Care Delivery
Published July 1, 1993

About Ruth's Work

Ruth Lubic, a nurse-midwife, has had a significant influence on the delivery of maternity care and child health care in the United States.

Lubic has promoted midwives as the primary providers of maternity care (with physician back-up) as an effective and less costly alternative to the physician-based care commonly practiced in the United States.  Widely used throughout the industrialized world, this model helps place quality services within reach of underserved, low-income populations.  An advocate for such innovations as freestanding birthing centers, Lubic is respected for her equal dedication to quality of care and family empowerment.  She has also instituted a program for new families in inner-city Washington, D.C.


Lubic is the founder and president emeritus of the D.C. Developing Family Center.  She was general director of the Maternity Center Association for twenty-five years, and, in 1983, she founded its offshoot, the National Association of Childbearing Centers.  In 1995, she was appointed an expert consultant in the Office of Public Health and Science, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  In addition to numerous articles, she is the co-author of Childbearing: A Book of Choices(1987).

Lubic received an R.N. (1955) from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, and a B.S. (1959), an M.A. (1961), and an Ed.D. (1979) from Columbia University Teachers College.

Last updated January 1, 2005

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