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Alexandria resident receives humanitarian award

Alexandria resident Jeanne Howell received the distinguished alumni humanitarian award during the University of Minnesota's School of Nursing Alumni Spring Celebration and Reunion held April 25 in St. Paul.

The award recognizes a School of Nursing graduate for exceptional humanitarian service in a health care environment.

Howell was the first nurse-midwife to practice in Alexandria after she graduated from the University of Minnesota's School of Nursing. She received a master's degree with a midwifery specialty in 1990.

"Her pioneering work as the first clinician in Minnesota to offer water birth led to a practice that has since been adopted by many others in the state, including Amplatz Children's Hospital," said Debra Cathcart, chair of the awards committee.

"The acceptance and evolution in water birth practice is attributed to Jeanne's hard work and persistence in documenting positive outcomes and believing that every woman should give birth in a nurturing environment," Cathcart said.

Howell retired from Broadway Medical Center in 2012 after 22 years of midwifery practice in Alexandria, providing women-centered care in her community and beyond.

In addition, Howell has been a University of Minnesota adjunct faculty member for many years, educating midwives who primarily accept practice opportunities in rural Minnesota.

Howell has also provided leadership to midwifery students through seminars related to the development of nurse-midwifery practices.