Training Black doulas to serve Black women

Two women in doula training session

An initiative to improve birth outcomes for Black women by increasing their access to trained Black doulas has received the C. Felix Harvey Award to Advance Institutional Priorities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Venus Standard, assistant clinical professor in the UNC School of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine, will lead the pilot doula training program that was selected for the $75,000 award. Doulas are trained professionals who guide mothers and families before, during and after childbirth.

Black women in the United States die at three to four times the rate of Non-Hispanic white and Hispanic women during childbirth, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found. Standard believes that helping connect Black women and Black doulas presents a potential solution to those elevated birth risks.

“Having somebody that looks like you, that understands your struggle, your culture, and how to relate to you [is] unquestionably beneficial,” Standard said. 

Funds from the award will be used to train two cohorts of 10 women at the UNC Family Medicine Center. The doulas will be recruited from Orange County and surrounding areas, and Standard expects training for the first cohort to begin in May and conclude by mid-summer.

Read more to learn about this new training program…

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