White Ribbon Alliance

Donna Vivio

White Ribbon Alliance mourns the passing and celebrates the life of Donna Vivio

November 11, 2016
White Ribbon Alliance shares the deep sadness at the death of Donna Vivio, nurse-midwife, champion of maternal and newborn health.

Donna dedicated her life to supporting women. She believed strongly in the role and value of midwives in ensuring all women and newborns have the right to quality, equity, and dignity in their health care. She understood that uniting health care professionals with researchers, educators, policy makers and civil society makes change happen, and she made a meaningful contribution every day.

Donna was an active supporter of White Ribbon Alliance since its inception, at the global and national level. We are honored that she would want to be remembered by those who love her with a gift to WRA. We will do our part to honor Donna’s life work. We thank her for her commitment, dedication, and open heart. She will be greatly missed.

Memorial Service Information

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 19, 2016 at the First Presbyterian Church, 310 Tulip Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions in Donna’s name to: American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) Foundation, International Funds or White Ribbon Alliance – for women’s rights to be safe and healthy before, during and after childbirth.

Online condolences may be shared with the family and friends at https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/donnavivio

Donna Marie Vivio

Died on November 6, 2016 of cancer, in the Casey House hospice facility in Derwood, MD. She was a Certified Nurse-Midwife who devoted a long career to helping others especially in the areas of safe childbirth and the health of mothers and newborn children. She leaves a legacy of healthy mothers and healthy children delivered in the Washington DC area, and of improvements in the health, well-being and life expectancy of mothers and newborn children in developing countries.

Born Feb 8, 1955 to James and Dorothy Vivio, Donna Vivio grew up in Pittsburgh, PA. She received a BSN (Nursing) from Carlow College, Pittsburgh PA (1976) and continued her education with two post graduate degrees, MPH International Health from Johns Hopkins University (1980) and MS Nurse-Midwifery from Georgetown University (1982). After College she served as a nurse in the US Navy, stationed at Bethesda Naval Hospital, leaving active duty as a LTJG in 1980. She practiced as a midwife for more than twelve years delivering countless healthy babies in Washington, DC and Maryland, and also worked in management at Group Health Association (GHA). She then shifted her career to international health and development working first with the American College of Nurse Midwives, then as a consultant on programs of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), World Health Organization, Gates Foundation and others, and finally as USAID staff for such programs. For nearly twenty years she worked on, designed and managed training and technical assistance programs to improve maternal and newborn health outcomes in developing countries. Her work helped many of the poorest countries in the world achieve measurable and significant reductions in maternal and newborn mortality, and improve overall health and well being of mothers and newborn children.

Donna Vivio lived in Paris from 1991-93 and gave birth to her third child attended by a French midwife in a suburb of Paris. She lived and worked for extended periods in Zambia, Bangladesh and Jordan, and worked on or managed maternal and newborn health programs in many other developing countries including Rwanda, Malawi, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Guatemala. Ghana, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Nepal. Donna Vivio was a Fellow, Secretary’s Primary Health Care Fellowship, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2002; Fellow, American College of Nurse-Midwives, 2003-2016; and Winner, Best Research Award, Annual Meeting of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, International Health Research Forum, 2009. Throughout her career she had a special interest and concern about environmental effects on pregnancy and newborn health. She authored the chapter on “Environmental Health” in the publication Primary Care for Midwives in 2007.

Donna Vivio is survived by her husband of 38 years, Paul Schwengels, daughter Robin, sons Benjamin and Nicholas and grandchildren Everett and Caroline. Also by her Mother, Dorothy Vivio, two sisters Mary and Robin and three brothers Jimmy, David and Michael.

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