William F McCool, PhD, CNM, RN, FACNM, FAAN
Associate Professor of Nurse Midwifery

Contact Information
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Room 417 Fagin Hall
418 Curie Blvd.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-4217
tel: (215) 573-7679
email: mccoolwf@nursing.upenn.edu

Dr. McCool graduated from Midwifery school in 1984, practices midwifery care through his affiliation with the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), and is the first midwife to have practiced there at the Helen O. Dickens Center for Women’s Health.

Dr. McCool is the Director of the Midwifery Graduate Program and teaches at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including the final integrative clinical course to midwifery students where they must integrate all they have learned before and practice as midwives prior to graduation. His emphases in teaching include the necessity for health care practitioners’ political involvement in the policy arena and development of the professional identity for midwives and women's health care nurse practitioners. He also is well-informed in the role that litigation plays in modern day practices that deliver women’s health care. Dr. McCool's undergraduate courses include the popular "Culture of Birth" offering and the "Politics of Women's Health Care" course, both co-taught with Janet Lewis, CNM, a member of the Midwifery Graduate Program faculty. Dr. McCool also has been involved in teaching safe maternity practices to midwives, nurses, and obstetricians from a number of developing nations.

Dr. McCool’s research has focused on both (1) the experiences of pregnant and laboring women, especially as related to the role of stress, and (2) the experiences of midwives and traditional birth attendants who offer care to these women, particularly with regard to recovering from unexpected adverse health outcomes. 1.) Why do some pregnant women experience intense, but uncomplicated births, while others suffer from a variety of complications and less desirable outcomes? Dr. McCool's research has involved steps toward answering this question through the exploration of biobehavioral factors that influence women's labor and delivery experiences. Specifically, he has measured levels of "stress hormones" (cortisol & catecholamines) to explore their relation to how an individual woman expresses her anxiety and how this, in turn, relates to the events of her giving birth. 2.) In an effort to help realize the United Nations’ Millenium Development Goals (MDG’s) #4 (“Reduce Child Mortality”) and #5 (Improve Maternal Health), Dr. McCool has explored the under-investigated phenomenon of experienced midwives leaving the profession, especially following unexpected adverse outcomes. At a time when the U.N. and the World Health Organization are calling for more well-trained midwives throughout the world, especially in developing nations, it is important to investigate factors that contribute to experienced practitioners leaving the profession.

• Currently Funded Grants

• Center for Health Equity Research
• Center for Global Women's Health

Clinical Practice
Dr. McCool, who graduated from Midwifery school in 1984, practices midwifery care through his affiliation with the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). He is the first midwife to have practiced at the Helen O. Dickens Center for Women's Health at HUP. He regularly works with students and other practitioners to offer care to pregnant women of all ages, adolescents in need of family planning, and post-menopausal women with gynecological health care needs.

• Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania


Dr. McCool has received research funding from the National Institutes of Health and is a Term Chair Associate Professor in Women’s Health and Midwifery at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) School of Nursing. He is past Chair of the national Directors of Midwifery Education (DOME) and of the Professional Liability Section of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). In 2003, Dr. McCool was inducted into the Fellowship of the ACNM (FACNM). He has been a reviewer for seven scholarly journals, and has received a number of honors throughout his career related to his practice and scholarly work. In addition to being the Director of the Midwifery Graduate Program at Penn, Dr. McCool currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Department of Family and Community Health at the Penn School of Nursing.
• Honors/Awards Details »

Publications (select year)
2016  | 2015  | 2014  | 2013  | 2012  | 2011  | 2010  | 2009  | 2008  | 2007  | 2006  |
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In Press  | More Publications 

Whether working to understand the role and risks of modern technology in helping American women seek better health, or offering services internationally to aid women in improving living conditions within their environment, midwives today are asked to apply an ancient and holistic philosophy to an ever-changing world. This challenge is both exciting and demanding, and makes midwifery a wonderful profession.