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group of black women sitting at tables

We are pleased to share that in September, 13 new doulas-to-be embarked on their journey to become full-spectrum community doulas!

Similar to our first cohort, the women in this group come from all walks of life. Some already work in related fields such as lactation support and CPR, while others are starting on a new path. Some of the women had doulas and others wished they had. What unites them all is their commitment to improving care and birth experiences for Black women in Fresno.

Many of our doula applicants have shared that their own pregnancy experiences played a key role in applying to our training. Based on what they know about the benefits of doula care, they felt compelled to fill the gaps that exist in access to doula care for Black birthing persons.

The cohort is expected to complete their training in 6 months and consists of two components. We start with a classroom-based component where we provide interactive in-person sessions, weekly assignments, and role-play and simulation exercises with Olivia, BWPC's high-fidelity Black patient-care simulator. The doulas-in-training familiarize themselves with public health data, the anatomy of pregnancy and birth, and the scope of work of a BWPC certified doula.

Women at the side of a hospital bed talking with a life size and human-like birth simulator
Cohort 2 student Tiffini practicing respectful care with Olivia our high-fidelity birthing simulator

The classroom-based component is closed by a midpoint exam, where doulas-in-training are required to demonstrate their knowledge and skills through a series of practical tasks in individual and group settings. To further broaden our future doulas' knowledge, some sessions include guest experts. For example, during one of the first sessions, Dr. Venise Curry talked to the group about person-centered care and implicit bias in healthcare. In one of the upcoming sessions, Dr. Alexandra Addo-Boateng, Fresno-based provider, will join us to talk about ACEs and the importance of mental health screenings and support during the postpartum period.

Two women shaking hands and one holding her certificate
Ta-She-Ra from cohort 1 receiving her certificate from Dr. Venise Curry on the day of the Midpoint Exam

Once having passed the midpoint exam, cohort members are now considered doula trainees and continue their “doula traineeship” component. This component includes regular skills labs, practical support hours, and a series of hospital-based birth observations. The hospital observation portion of their training is a unique and unprecedented experience provided exclusively for BWPC-trained doulas. BDN Doula trainees will be spending 24 hours at Community Regional Medical Center and Clovis Community Medical Center to observe births.

The BLACK Doula Training uses a BWPC-developed curriculum. The curriculum is grounded in public health data and relies heavily on practice-oriented interactions, group discussions, demonstrations, and critical thinking. These skills we consider essential for a BWCP-affiliated Medi-Cal doula provider.

A black woman sitting on a rocking chair reading textbook
Cohort 2 student Donna reading her BWPC BLACK Doula Training Textbook

The BLACK Doula Network (BDN) is our flagship initiative for birth justice and investment in our Black community. All initiatives BWPC leads, including community education, provider engagement, and the Black Fatherhood Legacy program create synergies and increase the BDN's effectiveness and sustainability.

group of women standing outside of building

Interested in applying to our BLACK Doula Training? The application is open!

The BLACK Doula Network Infrastructure in Fresno is supported by Elevance Health, Blue Meridian Partners, and Kaiser Permanente.

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