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Doulas: Supporting Models that Support Families
Evidence shows that doula support during pregnancy and birth improves the health of both mothers and babies, yet there are many barriers to accessing doula care. In this panel presentation, we will explore insights from doulas and ways local and state departments can learn from the doula model.
At the end of this session, learners will be able to:
- List at least 3 services commonly provided by doulas
- Describe how doulas can help promote anti-racist care
- Describe ways local and state departments can learn from the doula model and the capacity to uplift Black and Indigenous birth culture and lives
Moderated by: Venus Standard, MSN, CNM
Vanessa Verigin, Alaska Maternal Mortality Review Program
Abra Patkotak, Alaska Native Birthworkers Community
Mabel Bashorun, Within Her Birth Services
Sarah Paksima, DC Birth Doulas
Hakima Payne, Uzazi Village
Brief Biographies of Panelists
Hakima Tafunzi Payne, known to her community as Mama Hakima, is the founder, and Chief Executive Officer of Uzazi Village, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating health outcome disparities in maternal and infant health in African-American communities. She holds a Bachelors in Nursing and a Masters in Nursing Education and is currently pursuing a PhD in Nursing Education from Walden University. Ms. Payne is the creator of the Sister Doula Program (a community-based home visiting community health worker program for pregnant individuals), Chocolate Milk Café, (a breastfeeding support group for Black families), and the Village Circle, an Afro-centric group prenatal care model. She sits on her local Fetal Infant Mortality Review Board (FIMR) to address Black infant mortality. Ms. Payne is the co-owner of an antriracism training firm, Equity in Motion. She speaks and trains nationally on the topics of Black maternal and infant health. Ms. Payne works tirelessly to make birth safer, the village healthier, and to promote anti-racist care models for Black and African-American families. She is the co-creator of ‘Coffee, Tea, and Reparations’ a webcast that explores the intersection of racism, healthcare, and relationship. She is the subject of an upcoming documentary, “Sister Doulas” Ms. Payne resides in Kansas City, Missouri.
Mabel Obinim Bashorun is a certified doula (DONA), Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, and certified lactation consultant. Her journey into birth work stems from her unique story of trying to conceive while dealing with a fibroid diagnosis as well as being moved by the traumatic birth experiences of several friends. In 2017, she started Within Her Birth Services with the mission to support and advocate for other women throughout their pregnancy and labor experience. Putting her former teacher skills to use, Mabel enjoys informing her clients on the importance of childbirth education, laboring options, patient advocacy, and overall women’s wellness. As a Ghanainan-American, she has great pride in serving fellow Black women during pregnancy, with the personal aim to ensure they do not succumb to the maternal mortality crisis that plagues the Black community today. Above serving as a doula, Mabel is a proud wife and a mom to two darling boys, Simi and Tosin. Though her life is full of busy adventures, Mabel still takes pleasure in rereading favorite novels, dabbling in new hobbies, and overall, prioritizing self-care.
Sarah Paksima MPH, MBA, CD, LCCE. Sarah (she/her) has been supporting families for 22 years in the United States, Kuwait, Oman, India, and Jordan as a doula, childbirth educator, and maternal health advocate. Sarah sees her role as a seed planter, helping the birth community grow wherever she finds herself planted. Sarah is a founder of the non-profit BirthKuwait and currently is the owner of DC Birth Doulas. Sarah and her husband work hard to keep up with their five kids and their rambunctious Sheepadoodle. She maintains her sanity by raising their children in a tight knit community with no stoplights, eating copious amounts of dark chocolate, and gardening.
Vanessa Verigin has been the Program Manager for the Alaska Maternal Child Death Review Program since January 2020. She is also the State’s Title V Maternal Child Health Block Grant Coordinator. Prior to coming to the field of public health, Vanessa worked in child welfare. She was a Child Welfare Academy trainer at the University of Alaska Anchorage following her field experience in the Mississippi-Arkansas Delta and rural Alaska. She recently completed a Master’s in Public Health, where her practicum focus area was LGBTQ+ Health Equity. She also holds a Master’s in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s in Social Work.
Abra Patkotak is Iñupiaq from Utqiagvik, Alaska. She has held many roles, including overseeing a prematernal home for Utqiagvik and surrounding communities. She has also worked as a police and EMS dispatcher in the Arctic. Abra is a Doula with the Alaska Native Birthworkers Community, a role through which she advances reproductive justice while protecting cultural traditions among Indigenous birthing people. Abra serves as a panelist with the State of Alaska Maternal Child Death Review. As an MCDR reviewer, she brings knowledge of Alaska Native culture and birthing traditions as well as knowledge of rural emergency response systems.