Ellen Tilden, Ph.D., C.N.M.

  • Assistant Professor, School of Nursing
  • Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine


Ellen Tilden, PhD, CNM, is an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU). Dr. Tilden is a full-scope nurse-midwife with over a decade of clinical experience in a variety of settings domestically and internationally, in hospital and home settings. Dr. Tilden has been caring for healthy, low-risk women throughout the childbearing cycle for 18 years.

Dr. Tilden earned her undergraduate degree from Reed College and completed her nursing and nurse-midwifery education at the University of California, San Francisco, earning an MS. Dr. Tilden earned her PhD in nursing at OHSU, where her dissertation focused on the impact of group vs. individual prenatal care on latent-labor hospital admission, cesarean delivery, and perinatal complications. Her work comparing the effectiveness of group versus individual prenatal care in decreasing latent labor hospital admission was highlighted in the Wall Street Journal October, 2016. She has published her research in leading midwifery, obstetric, and healthy birth journals, including the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, and Birth.  In addition, she has published in leading national journals, notably The New England Journal of Medicine; this study examined the risks and benefits of giving birth is various settings and received broad media attention, including the New York Times - Health, The New York Times - The Upshot, The Oregonian, NPR, the L.A. Times, the Washington Post, The Boston Globe and the New York Times Editorial Board. Dr. Tilden recently co-authored a series of publications regarding using a causal inference framework to improve the study of healthy childbearing processes that can be found here http://bit.ly/causalinferenceseries and was highlighted in Mother Jones magazine as well as Science & Sensibility.

Dr. Tilden is a health services researcher whose research focus is on healthcare systems factors that impact obstetric procedure use, particularly modifiable drivers of cesarean delivery. Her research approach is inter-disciplinary, employing tools from economics (e.g., cost-effectiveness analysis), causal inference (e.g., propensity scores), and other disciplines. She works collaboratively with epidemiologists, health policy analysts, and other clinician-scientists to generate translational obstetric research that will inform policy and clinical practice as relates to the care of medically low-risk women. Dr. Tilden is committed to applying the most rigorous methods available to answer high-impact questions in midwifery and obstetrics, making use of secondary data resources as well as prospectively collected primary data.

Dr. Tilden’s postdoctoral research and training is supported by a career development award from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health. Her overarching research goal is to define risk-appropriate care for healthy women and their children in the U.S. Such women make up a majority of women in the U.S., and Dr. Tilden aims to close evidence gaps in their care, enabling them to achieve optimal reproductive health throughout their lives.


  • B.A., 1993, Reed College
  • C.N.M., 2000, University of California
  • M.S., 2000, University of California
  • Ph.D., 2015, Oregon Health and Science University
  • Certifications:

    • American College of Nurse Midwives

Honors and awards

  • 2018 Best Research Poster Award, Division of Research, American College of Nurse Midwives 63rd Annual Meeting, Savannah, GA
  • 2018 Best Review Article Award Finalist (1of 3), Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health
  • 2016 Early Career Achievement Award, Alumni Association, OHSU School of Nursing
  • 2015 Carol A. Lindeman Award for Excellence in Nursing, Innovative Leadership, and Vision for Health Care, PhD Graduating Class, OHSU School of Nursing
  • 2015 Scholar, Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute
  • 2015 Oregon BIRCWH K-12 Scholars in Women's Health Research Across the Lifespan , the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and National Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women's Health
  • 2014 Best Poster Award, American College of Nurse-Midwives 59th Annual Meeting, Denver, CO
  • 2014 Best Research Poster Award, Division of Research, American College of Nursing Midwives 59th Annual Meeting, Denver, CO
  • 2014 Jonas Doctoral Scholars Program and Scholarship, OHSU School of Nursing
  • 2014 Research Scholarship, Sigma Theta Tau, Beta Psi Chapter
  • 2014 W. Newton Long Research Scholarship, American College of Nurse-Midwives
  • 2013 Pierce Scholarship, OHSU
  • 2013 Dean’s Scholarship, OHSU School of Nursing
  • 1998 Inducted, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society, Alpha Eta Chapter
  • 1993 Inducted, Phi Beta Kappa, Academic Honor Society, Reed College
  • 1993 Outstanding Female Graduate Award, American Association of University Women, Reed College

Memberships and associations

  • American College of Nurse-Midwives


Elsevier pure profile

Selected publications

  • Tilden, E.L., Phillipi, J.C., Ahlberg, M., King, T., Dissanayake, M., Snowden, J.M. & Caughey, A.B.  (2019). Describing latent phase duration and associated characteristics among 1281 low-risk women in spontaneous labor. Birth, 1-10. https://doi:10.1111/birt.12428
  • Tilden, E.L. & Snowden, J.M. (2018). The causal inference framework: A primer on concepts and methods for improving the study of well-woman childbearing processes (first in a 3-part series, ref #s 11, 12, &13). Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, 63(6), 700-709 https://doi.org/10.1111/jmwh.12710
  • Snowden, J.M. & Tilden, E.L. (2018). Further applications of advanced methods to infer causes in the study of physiologic childbirth (second in a three-part series). Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, 63(6), 710-721 https://doi.org/10.1111/jmwh.12732
  • Snowden, J.M., Tilden, E.L. & Odden, M. (2018). Formulating and answering high-impact causal questions in physiologic childbirth science: Concepts and assumptions (third in a three-part series). Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, 63(6), 721-730 https://doi.org/10.1111/jmwh.12868
  • Greiner, K.S., Hersh, A.R., B.A., Hersh, S.R., Remer, J., Tilden, E.L. & Caughey, A.B. (Tilden and Caughey are co-senior authors). (2019). The effect of doula care on low-risk women’s first two deliveries: a cost-effectiveness analysis. Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health
  • Tilden, E.L., Cheyney, M., Guise, J.M., Emeis, C.L., Lapidus, J., Biel, F., Weidrick, J. & Snowden, J.M. (2017). Vaginal birth after cesarean: Neonatal outcomes and United States birth setting. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 216 (4), 403.e1 – 403.e8
  • Tilden, E.L., Emeis, C.L., Caughey, A.B., Weinstein, S., Futernick, S. & Lee, C.S. (2016). The influence of group versus individual care on phase of labor at hospital admission. The Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, 61 (4), 427-434
  • Tilden, E.L., Caughey, A.B., Lee, C.S. & Emeis, C.L. (2016). The effect of childbirth self-efficacy on perinatal outcomes. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing (JOGNN), 45(4), 465-480
  • Snowden, J.M., Tilden, E.L., Snyder, J., Quigley, B., Caughey, A.B. & Cheng, Y. (2015). Planned out-of-hospital birth and birth outcomes. The New England Journal of Medicine, 373(27), 2642-2653
  • Tilden, E.L., Lee, C.S., Allen, A., Griffin, E. & Caughey, A.B. (2015). Cost-effectiveness analysis of latent versus active labor hospital admission for medically low-risk, term women. Birth, 42(3), 219-26


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