International Confederation of Midwives announces appointment of its first Chief Midwife

16 March 2023

International Confederation of Midwives announces appointment of its first Chief Midwife

The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) is delighted to announce the appointment of its first Chief Midwife, Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent from the United Kingdom. She brings to the role her vast, diverse experience of maternity services through clinical care, education, policy, strategy, and healthcare management. Professor Dunkley-Bent is joining ICM after being the first Chief Midwifery Officer for England. She has an exceptional record within the field of midwifery and maternity care, influencing national and international healthcare policy and practice.

As Chief Midwife, Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent will be the global figurehead for ICM’s midwifery expertise. She will represent the interests of midwives around the world, and lead initiatives essential to the growth of midwifery globally. A member of the ICM leadership team, she will be responsible for developing the organisation’s regional plan to strengthen midwifery and creating leadership frameworks for midwives. Professor Dunkley-Bent will be relocating to the Netherlands to work at ICM’s head office in the Hague in May 2023.

Sally Pairman, ICM’s Chief Executive, said: “Professor Dunkley-Bent is a fantastic addition to our team, and we are delighted that she is bringing her extensive experience to ICM, to the benefit of midwives and the midwifery profession globally.

At ICM we lead by example – we advocate for all countries and regions to appoint a chief midwife, and our appointment of Professor Dunkley-Bent is an opportunity for ICM to model what this critical leadership role can do to elevate midwives and midwifery in our 140 member associations in 119 countries.”

Dame Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said:

“Congratulations to Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent on her appointment as Chief Midwife at the International Confederation of Midwives. A heartfelt thank you to her for her contribution to midwifery and maternity care in England, and the very best wishes for her new global role.”

Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent OBE, Chief Midwifery Officer for England, said:

“It has been an absolute privilege to be Chief Midwifery Officer for England for the past four years. I look forward to working with midwives globally in my new role, to support women and families across the world to access safer, more personalised and more equitable care.”

For more information, please contact Daniela Drandic, Head of Advocacy and Communications, [email protected]


About Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, OBE

Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent has worked as a midwife and a nurse and held senior positions in clinical practice, education, leadership and management including: Director of Midwifery and Nursing positions for Women’s and Children’s services at Imperial College Healthcare Trust & Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. Professor Dunkley-Bent is visiting Professor of Midwifery at King’s College London and London South Bank University.

She has led and influenced national maternity standards and guidance. She also influences healthcare, nationally and internationally through research, education and publications and is frequently invited to speak at national and international conferences. She is a member of the British Journal of Midwifery editorial board and until recently was an active member of the Maternity and Newborn Forum at the Royal Society of Medicine.

She is a part of Tommy’s Charity National Advisory Board as Midwifery advisor, and the Women of the Year management committee. Her voluntary work includes Midwifery Advisor for the Wellbeing Foundation Africa. In 2014 she received the HSJ, BME Pioneers award and in 2015 she was selected from over 100 nominations for inclusion on Nursing Times’ Leaders 2015 list that celebrates nurses and midwives who are pioneers, entrepreneurs and inspirational role models in their profession.

About ICM

The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) supports, represents and works to strengthen professional associations of midwives throughout the world. There are currently 140 Members Associations, representing 119 countries across every continent. Together these associations represent over 1 million midwives globally.