HERE Center

Black Birth Equity Workers Glowing Through COVID-19

Birth equity workers (doulas, maternity support partners, birth assistants) provide informational, emotional and physical support to birthing persons and their families.

Undoubtedly, the degree to which improved birth outcomes and decreased stress of black mothers is achieved may be dependent on the stress and work quality of life of the birth equity workers that provide services for them; yet there is limited data on how birth equity workers’ stress plays a pivotal role in the effectiveness of birth outcomes in already health disparate populations and if that is related to their own wellbeing. We plan to address this gap, by determining the impact of burnout and wellbeing of birth equity workers (doulas) on stress (via self-report and saliva).

The results of this study will have a positive impact on doulas and indirectly on pregnant and postpartum persons that have a doula or desire to have a doula. Targeted research can support structural and policy sustainable changes in protecting and advocating for doulas and their mental and physical health as they care and support for birthing/postpartum families. Moreover, it will suggest social programs in counties and universities that highlight the need for doulas and how current systems may negatively impact doulas and the work they do with families.

Research Area:

  • Health Disparities
  • Maternal and Infant Health

Start Date:

January 2021 - present


  • Dr. Paul Estabrooks (University of Nebraska Medical Center)
  • Ms. Wenonah Valentine (iDREAM for Racial Health Equity)