Congratulations to Associate Professor Rhonda Lanning, DNP, CNM, LCCE, IBCLC, RN, the 2022 recipient of the Bill and Mary Lou Booth Community Service and Outreach Award.
Lanning was selected for her proposal to support Birth Partners, the interdisciplinary service-learning professional birth doula course in the School of Nursing she developed and leads as the program director.
This course includes professional birth doula training and provides students with the opportunity to serve as volunteer doulas at UNC Medical Center. Students develop the skills to provide emotional, physical, and informational support to patients and families during the prenatal, labor and birth, and initial postpartum periods. Evidence shows that continuous labor support provided by birth doulas is a potential intervention to mitigate disparities in maternal and newborn outcomes. Continuous labor support is associated with the likelihood of shorter labor, spontaneous vaginal birth, fewer instrumental births, reduced rates of cesarean birth and higher Apgar scores among newborns. The Birth Partners program aims to increase access to supportive doula care and provides these services free of charge.
The Bill and Mary Lou Booth Community Service and Outreach Fund was established by the Booths in 2016 with the goal to support faculty and students who wish to engage in community service for the betterment of the health and welfare of North Carolinians. Rhonda is the fourth recipient of this award, following Marianne Cockroft, PhD, RN in 2021, Jean Davison, DNP, RN, FNP-C in 2019 and Rebecca Kitzmiller, PhD, MHR, RN, BC in 2018.