RIT Grad Wins Award at Yale

Anne McDermott honored for significant research

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Anne McDermott '04 recently received an award and a master's from Yale.

Research is a very important part of a Rochester Institute of Technology education. Learning basic research skills and methods is part of the curriculum.

Anne McDermott ’04 (applied arts and science) put her skills to use at Yale University School of Nursing where she received her master of science in nursing and also won the 2008 Milton and Anne Sidney Prize for her significant research contributions on pregnancy, childbirth and risk.

McDermott, a Pittsburgh native, is a graduate of RIT’s online learning program. After discontinuing her studies in biology at Western Connecticut State University because of marriage and children, she chose to transfer to RIT’s program for a number of reasons. Her ultimate goal was to attend Yale as a graduate student in nurse-midwifery and she knew that they were open to distance learning as a type of undergraduate study. She also liked the flexibility of the program at RIT and the ability to complete her degree more quickly than with other programs.

“I really loved the online learning experience at RIT,” McDermott says. “Like any college experience, what a student gets out of it largely depends on the effort that is given by the student.

“I embraced all of the resources that RIT makes available to its online students, which I felt were considerable.”

McDermott adds that she was impressed by the library resources and also the faculty’s willingness to help outside the online environment. “The librarians did an outstanding job of assisting online students in finding research materials,” she says. “The faculty were also very open to finding ways beyond the virtual classroom to help students.

“For instance, when taking a statistics course online, the instructor was readily available to help students via phone conference to assist with any problems.”

She also found that the online experience forced her to refine thoughts before posting them in online discussions.

“The electronic documentation of a student's comments means that they need to be able to state their positions on a subject clearly and support their assertions,” she explains. “I feel that the online classroom facilitates a larger degree of discipline and requires students to be well prepared for assigned work.”

McDermott’s discipline and preparation have taken her where she wanted to go. Her research study at Yale has added to the growing body of knowledge about different methods of care for pregnant women and how it can affect the outcomes of birth. She focused on the increasing number of births that are considered “not normal” by the World Health Organization—meaning the birth is affected by induced labor, cesarean delivery or other medical technologies.

“My research, which was retrospective, investigated factors associated with non-normal outcomes for women who entered labor meeting the World Health Organization criteria for normal,” McDermott elaborates. “Some subjects of the study were cared for by certified nurse-midwives, and some were cared for by physicians.

“Their outcomes were similar, but I was able to identify certain practices utilized by either practitioner that were associated with higher rates of non-normal outcomes.”

McDermott graduated from Yale with a concentration in nurse-midwifery and feels very strongly about her specialty. She recently accepted a job at Norwalk Hospital in Norwalk, Conn., working in their Midwifery Service. The service was established in 1977 and was one of the first of its type in the area. It is part of the hospital, but the midwives also have a private practice. With her arrival the practice will have six midwives in total.

“I believe in the public health benefits of midwifery for women and their babies in this country,” she says. “And I am determined to take part in providing this type of care.”