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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

UNC: Gillings Students Combat Birth Disparities Through Durham Volunteer Doulas

Ms. Manisha Dubey joined the executive board of Durham Volunteer Doulas (DVD) soon after it launched. DVD is a student-run nonprofit that provides free doula training and care to women living in North Carolina’s Triangle region.

An undergraduate studying health policy and management at University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, Ms. Dubey initially helped DVD win a Kenan Biddle Partnership grant through the UNC Campus Y. Now she serves as the organization’s community outreach manager. Ms. Rasheca Logendran, an undergraduate Robertson Scholar jointly enrolled at UNC and Duke University, studies nutrition at the Gillings School and is a DVD program coordinator. DVD’s executive director, Ms. Ana Gomez, will join the School’s master’s degree program in maternal, child and family health in 2020.

A doula has been trained to provide physical, emotional and informational support to pregnant individuals before, during and shortly after childbirth, with the goal of helping parents achieve the most satisfying birth experience possible.

DVD endeavors to provide accessible, high-quality doula care at no cost to pregnant individuals who otherwise would be unable to afford doula services. The organization supports parents who are eligible for programs like Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) based on family income.

In 2019, DVD worked with 33 local mothers and offered two free doula workshops. In November, they won third place at the annual Carolina Pitch Party, which is a student entrepreneurship event for local universities. The nonprofit’s members also are participating in CUBE, UNC’s social innovation accelerator.

In the spring of 2020, the DVD team will focus on recruiting more local community members so work can continue after the original student leaders graduate.

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