Jennifer Vanderlaan

Assistant Professor, School of Nursing
Expertise: Maternal health, Midwifery, Pregnancy and childbirth, Postnatal care, Health policy, Global public health, Maternal morbidity and mortality


Trained as a midwife and family nurse practitioner, UNLV School of Nursing professor Jennifer Vanderlaan has an extensive national and international research background in maternal health — examining the topic from a health systems perspective and integrating clinical outcomes, health economics, and health policy to identify ways to improve access to quality maternal care.

Vanderlaan joined UNLV's faculty in 2019 and teaches in the graduate program. During the first weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, she embarked on a study tracking barriers to safe maternity care as well as midwifery practice changes aimed at reducing transmission risk. In spring 2022, she was named one of three researchers to lead a new Johnson & Johnson-sponsored workforce study through the American Colleges of Nurse-Midwives focused on increasing accessibility and equity in the profession. Other research projects have explored the use of hydrotherapy for pain management during labor and delivery, regionalization of maternal care, and the effects of childbirth education.

In addition to research, Vanderlaan in entrenched in advocacy work. She serves as chair of the Lamaze International Research Workgroup, striving for increased access to childbirth education. She is also a member of the American College of Nurse-Midwives' workforce committee, which focuses on health policy and health resources. 

Prior to UNLV, Vanderlaan provided continuing education for midwives in sub-Saharan Africa and Central America. She was recognized as an emerging leader by the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses in 2015; served as a Centers for Disease Control Millennial Health Leaders’ Summit delegate in 2016; and earned the W. Newton Long Award for the advancement of midwifery in 2021.


  • Ph.D., MPH, MSN, Emory University
  • BSN, Russell Sage College
  • B.S., Michigan State University

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Articles Featuring Jennifer Vanderlaan

Jennifer Vanderlaan on hillside.
People | February 10, 2020

When she's able to tear herself away from her focus on improving maternal health care, Jennifer Vanderlaan decompresses by taking a hike or playing video games with her family.