Marie Hastings-Tolsma, associate professor at the University of Colorado College of Nursing, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to lecture and conduct research in South Africa during the 2012-2013 academic year.
Hastings-Tolsma will conduct research examining the indigenous plants commonly consumed by women in South Africa related to pregnancy and birth, particularly those used to initiate labor and to accelerate labor progress by midwives and traditional birth attendants. She will then compare the compounds in those herbs to compounds found in herbs commonly used by U.S. women. Findings have the potential to help researchers understand what triggers the onset of labor, a process that remains elusive. Such knowledge could contribute to the development of interventions that could either halt preterm labor or initiate labor at term.
Hastings-Tolsma teaches in the nurse midwifery and doctoral nursing programs, as well as practices in the faculty nurse midwifery full-scope practice. Her research examines nurse midwifery outcomes and, in particular, alternative therapies used in cervical ripening. Last year, Hastings-Tolsma was honored as a faculty fellow by the American College of Nurse Midwives. She is one of approximately 1,100 United States faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2012-2013.