Deborah Acker

Deborah J. Acker

Assistant Professor JD, MSN, RN, CNM

Programs and Courses Taught

Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Entry Level Master of Science in Nursing

N500 Nursing in Transition, N138 Introduction to Professional Nursing, N562 Professional, Legal and Ethical Issues, N170L Community Health Clinical, N570L Community Health Nursing Clinical, N540L Reproductive Health Care Clinical, N 144L Maternity Nursing Clinical, N 181L Senior Synthesis Clinical and Seminar, N170 Community Health

About Me

I grew up in the Bay Area and initially had an interest in veterinary medicine.  I discovered the relatively “young” role of certified nurse-midwifery and found my calling.  After completing my education, I practiced nurse-midwifery primarily in rural settings and academic teaching hospitals aimed at diverse, low-income, high-risk populations.  Locations included Fresno, California; Ukiah, California, and Olympia, Washington.  My interest in women’s health care took on a broader perspective and I completed work at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.  For the majority of my years practicing midwifery, I also taught students in health care.  I worked with obstetric and family practice residents, medical students, nurse-midwifery students, and nursing students.

Midlevel nursing practice was inherently unpredictable given medical politics at the time.  I returned to school at the UC Davis School of Law and completed my JD, hoping to combine a broader policy/ethical perspective with my health care background.  I took a brief detour and practiced patent law.  Then I worked in a variety of roles, including the director of a public health department, recruitment, consulting, expert work, and now, finally I am back home in academia.  I love working with students.  Their enthusiasm, energy, and fresh perspectives infuse life with joy and inspiration.


Initially, I attended UC Davis as a pre-vet major and received a BS in animal science.  My interest shifted to nurse-midwifery and I attended Case Western University School of Nursing (BSN), then Yale University School of Nursing (MSN) to obtain my license and certification in nurse-midwifery.  Later, I fulfilled partial MPH degree requirements at the School of Public Health, UC Berkeley.  After 20 years in midwifery I returned to the School of Law at UC Davis and received my JD.  I also have certifications in mediation and college counseling.

Teaching Interests

Maternity nursing, public health nursing, introductory nursing courses, and professional/legal/ethical issues in health care.

Scholarly Interests

Measuring trust in provider-patient relationships and assessing its influence on patient outcomes; health disparities and maternal morbidity/mortality; perinatal care systems from a regional perspective; domestic violence

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

American College of Nurse-midwives (ACNM), Association of Women's Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN),  American Nurses Association (ANA), Sigma Theta Tau Honorary Society