About Via Vita

Via Vita Midwifery Foundation was originally created in 1984 by Vicki Penwell, a very talented licensed direct-entry midwife from Fairbanks, Alaska. Vicki eventually moved on, leaving Via Vita to her former student, Dana Brown, CDM, CPM. In 2007, Dana passed Via Vita on to Sharon Evans, CPM, who worked to revise and update the curriculum, thus preserving State of Alaska approval. Today, several midwifery students from all over the United States are currently enrolled in the program.

Vicki Penwell, LM, CPM, currently holds a New Mexico midwifery license (and has continuously since 1983). She also at times held an Alaska and Idaho license in midwifery, and has been a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) since 1991. Today Vicki lives in the Philippines full time (20 years and 12,000 babies total) directing Mercy In Action birthing home that is free for the poor and is a NARM approved Out- of- Country Clinical site. Vicki is largely responsible for the success of Via Vita, as the original founder of this very complete academic midwifery program.

Via Vita's curriculum was originally approved by the State of Alaska in 1992. Since that time, all Via Vita student midwives have successfully passed the NARM written examination, thus being granted licensure as Certified Direct-Entry Midwives (CDMs) and qualifying for the CPM credential.

Via Vita continues to be a high-quality, affordable alternative for midwifery education. It is a self-paced, at-distance academic program with your instructor being as close as a mouse-click away. The clinical portion of the education must be done with an approved midwifery preceptor (a state or nationally approved clinical instructor). Skills must be checked off as having been tested by the preceptor, and evidence of successful completion must be returned to the school prior to issuance of a Certificate of Completion.


About Your Instructor

Sharon Evans performing a prenatal exam.

As Administrative Director of Via Vita Midwifery Foundation, Sharon K. Evans, CPM, brings over 30 years of experience in midwifery and the natural healing arts, with over a decade focused on training midwives, including regulatory and administrative functions. She served on the Board of Directors of the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) from 1999 to 2004. She was first hired to manage the Applications Department for NARM in 1997 and was later appointed Director of Applications for NARM in 1999. Sharon served on the State of Alaska Board of Certified Direct-Entry Midwives from 2001-2005, was Chair of the NARM Qualified Evaluator Committee from 1995-1997, and served as President of Midwives Association of Alaska, 1992-1993. She was owner of the Valley Natural Health Center School of Massage Therapy in Alaska from 1985-1988, as well as owner of the Peninsula Nutrition Center in Kenai, Alaska, from 1991 to 1994.

While holding her options open to return to full-time practice, she is now semi-retired from clinical practice but benefits Via Vita with her years of experience attending births outside of the hospital, being a preceptor, and mentoring midwives. In addition to her midwifery skills, she is a practitioner of the Natural Healing Arts and has worked in private practice as a massage therapist and as a teacher of various massage and natural healing techniques since 1980. She completed the Center for American Birth Centers' (CABC) accreditation process for the Mat-Su Midwifery Birth Center in Wasilla, Alaska, and recently retired from her position there as Quality Assurance Analyst in administration. Sharon is co-owner of Morningstar Publishing Company and is the co-author of Practical Skills Guide for Midwifery (2004), Starting an I. V. and Other Invasive Skills for the Birth Setting (2007), and the training DVD Basic Training for I.V. Therapy & Hypovolemic Shock Treatment (2007)

Sharon's passion continues to be the preservation of the apprenticeship model of midwifery education. As a preceptor, she instilled in her students a deep belief and trust in the birth process, as well as respect and love for the women and families served, honoring them, recognizing that they are truly the midwifery "teachers."

Sharon currently resides on the Big Island of Hawaii with her husband of 43+ years. She is the mother of seven grown children, twenty one grandchildren and two great grandchildren, many of whom were born into her hands.

One Midwife's Story (.doc file)
State Requirements
Some states have specific requirements for educational programs.
The Via Vita Midwifery Foundation program is approved by the state of Alaska Board of Certified Direct-Entry Midwives.

Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education Exemption
Via Vita Midwifery Foundation is exempt from authorization under AS 14.48 because:
*The program is regulated by the state of Alaska Board of Certified Direct-Entry Midwives.
*The program is online or distance delivered and does not have a physical presence in the state of Alaska. 20 AAC 17.900 defines physical presence as presence of a facility, equipment, faculty or staff within the state.) 20 AAC 17.015(a)(8)