Program designed to boost number Black doulas

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine is launching a pilot program to increase the number of Black doulas in an effort to improve health outcomes. The effort received a $75,000 C. Felix Harvey Award to Advance Institutional Priorities grant.


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The program will be lead by Venus Standard, assistant clinical professor at UNC School of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine. Standard said recent research shows reduced infant mortality for Black newborns cared by Black medical providers.

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

Standard said doula training costs are a deterrent for people of color, so the award funds will be used to train two cohorts of 10 women who have been recruited from Orange County and surrounding areas. It will cover education, training materials, certification and professional membership fees.

“Oftentimes I would get calls from people that are not white asking, ‘Can I break [training fees] up into payments? Can I spread it over time?’

The program will also provide business and marketing seminars to help newly trained doulas establish viable businesses upon completion of the program.