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Venus Standard
Venus Standard, MSN, CNM

Venus Standard, MSN, CNM, was recently approved to receive the C. Felix Harvey Award for her proposal titled “Perinatal Doulas for the Black Community.” The Harvey Award honors UNC faculty whose proposals best embody the humanities and/or social sciences methods or approaches that directly and positively impact constituencies outside the university.

According to Standard’s proposal, Black women in the United States die at three to four times the rate of Non-Hispanic White and Hispanic women. Standard’s goal is to to reduce maternal mortality in Black women. In order to do so, she has assembled what she refers to as a “Dream Team” of professional Black women. The award will allow for the training of 20 Black women to be labor support doulas. The doulas will then support 60 Black pregnant women and their families from low-income communities.

“This doula training will create a pipeline of black doulas to attend births of Black families within the UNC Healthcare System. Specifically, we will recruit Black women from communities in Orange and surrounding counties that would normally not be able to afford to take a doula training,” Standard said.

Standard was able to recruit several partners in support of the project, including the NC Obstetrical and Gynecological Society, NC Medical Society, NC Department of Health, The March of Dimes, and Orange County Health Department.

The project will lead to lasting impact for those involved in the training, adding a crucial new pool of doulas to the community while creating a path forward for other systems to replicate the work.

“We have created an enhanced, replicable doula training curriculum for women from underrepresented minority groups.  We will be able to support 20 women in earning DONA International Labor Doula certification and developing their own sustainable doula business allowing them to financially enhance their own family,” said Standard.

Once trained, the 20 doulas will be able to provide labor support for 50 to 100 families a month. Standard’s proposal indicates that the project will also be replicated within other marginalized populations such as Latinx and LGBTQIA communities.