Abigail Howe-Heyman, PhD, CNM, RN

Abigail Howe-Heyman (she/her), PhD, CNM, RN

Director, Midwifery Track/ Practice Assistant Professor

Abby Howe-Heyman is a passionate nurse educator, researcher, and midwife. She has been working with pregnant and birthing people and their families for over twenty years and as a nursing educator for over decade. She is energized by working with students as they acquire the knowledge and skills to care for families throughout the lifespan, particularly during the life-changing childbearing period. In her research, Dr. Howe-Heyman has sought to explore barriers to implementing evidence-based practice in the perinatal setting

In midwifery, we know that learning happens in so many settings–in the hospital, birth center, home, and clinic; in the community; online; in the library; in the lab; and, of course, in the classroom. A good teacher helps students thread all of those experiences together by identifying and referencing the most important themes in a course, engaging students in conversation, and pushing them to consider differing opinions and ideas.


  • PhD, Vanderbilt University, 2017
  • MS, SUNY Downstate Health Science Center, 2000
  • BS, Columbia University School of Nursing, 1998
  • BA, Smith College, 1991


Dr. Howe-Heyman teaches in the WHNP and Midwifery programs at Penn Nursing. She has taught a wide variety of courses to traditional BSN, Accelerated BSN, RN-to-BSN, and master’s level nursing students. She strives to create an engaging and participatory learning experience for students and has worked extensively with first-generation students from a diversity of backgrounds.

Clinically, Dr. Howe-Heyman’s training is as a nurse-midwife. She has worked in clinical practice at Bronx Lebanon Hospital in the South Bronx and in private practice in Brooklyn, NY. She has also worked as a nurse at Manhattan’s only free-standing birth center and most recently, she worked as a sexual assault nurse examiner at UCLA Santa Monica Hospital. These varied clinical settings have provided her with a great range of experiences as a midwife that she regularly shares with her students.


Dr. Howe-Heyman’s research interests involve the implementation of evidence-based practices in the perinatal setting, as well as the factors that lead to investigation and prosecution of sexual assaults. She recently authored the chapter on postpartum care and two appendixes for the upcoming 7th edition of Varney’s Midwifery and serves as a consulting editor for the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health.