Ready to sign up for a childbirth class or tour?

Update: Flu season has begun and the hospital has started to enforce its flu restrictions on the Labor& Delivery and Post-Partum floors of the Women's Hospital. In an effort to keep moms and newborn babies protected from infection, children ages 11 years and younger will not be allowed upstairs to the Labor & Delivery and Post-Partum units. Also, we will not be offering Sibling Tours during the time of the restriction that will be going on from now until February/March of 2018. Thank you for your consideration. 

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UNC Doula Biographies

Alexandra Allison

Alex is volunteering as a doula because she wants to support women during a time that may appear scary and help them see the beauty of birth and know that she is there for them. She likes to pick up random hobbies from knitting to redoing furniture.  She also likes to sing like Beyonce and loves to eat, but is still trying to figure out how to cook for herself.  She is a junior at UNC and seeking a Quantitative Biology degree and hopes one day to be a missionary doctor.

 

 

Alice Donoghue

Alice is a mother of three and grandmother of six.  She has been a long-time advocate of women’s rights and is passionate about helping mothers through the birthing process.  Alice has always been involved in helping others – she was a reference librarian for many years and truly enjoyed the opportunity to find answers for questions she never would have thought to ask.  As a Doula she is committed to finding the answers that will assist mothers in labor become more comfortable and achieve the birth process they seek.  Each labor and birth is unique, and Alice is humbled and profoundly moved to be able to be a small part of each wondrous experience.

 

Allison DeSarro

Allison is a native of Denver, CO but decided to venture far from home after falling in love with UNC and Chapel Hill. She is a nursing student and expects to graduate in May 2018 with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Although the demands of nursing school can make it challenging to volunteer as often as she would like, she enjoys being a doula to help empower women to appreciate their own strength in birth. Assisting moms through labor and birth has inspired her to consider labor and delivery nursing as a possible career path even though she has always dreamed of being a critical care nurse. As a doula, she has found that her natural sense of caring helps her to be a supportive presence for women and their partners.

Amy Shipow

Amy graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in Human Development and Minor in Global Health. Her passion for social activism and dedication to gender equity manifested alongside her love of theater when she performed in The Vagina Monologues. Working at the intersection of the two, she volunteered at a girl’s home in Hyderabad, India where she inaugurated a girls’ empowerment theatre group. Subsequently, Amy interned at the African Refugee Development Center in Israel where she conducted comprehensive interviews with Eritrean asylum seekers to complete applications for refugee status. Her work with migratory populations led her to the UNC School of Social Work’s Refugee Mental Health and Wellness Initiative. After participating as a co-facilitator with the Congolese Community Adjustment Support Group, she helped the group obtain non-profit status as the Raleigh Immigrant Community. As a board member and global neighbor, she hopes to serve alongside the refugees in facilitating the social and economic empowerment of refugees and immigrants in North Carolina.

Andriana Perrachon

Andriana loves birth, especially helping parents and families transition into a new reality and family unit. She trained to be an out-of-hospital midwife in Oregon and moved back to North Carolina to be closer to family. She likes hiking, running, and drinking coffee.

 

 

 

Atima Huria

Atima is a recent UNC grad navigating her way to grad school! She loves dancing, singing, and of course spending her time with new moms and babies at UNC L&D. As a doula, she finds deep breathing techniques and exercises with the birthing ball to be particularly helpful.

 

 

 

Barbara Hotelling

Barbara volunteers as a doula because it allows her to have these special experiences with a full-time job. She has been a birth doula since 1982 and has since become a DONA birth doula trainer. Her passion is all things family and being there at the start to help families settle in is her pleasure. She trains Duke nursing students as birth doulas. Mother of 5, Nana to 7.

 

 

 

Caitlin Nelligan

Caitlin is a Master of Public Health student in the Department of Maternal and Child Health at UNC. Originally from North Carolina, Caitlin spent much of her 20’s living in Madrid and Rio de Janeiro, working in the fields of education and social development in both school and community settings. She believes that every person has the right to give birth in an environment that is respectful and supportive, promoting the best health outcomes for the individual and child, and feels honored to get to be a part of this memorable experience with those she works with.

Catherine Valente

Catherine has been involved with children and young adults for most of her life as a professional in the education system and thru volunteering in her community. She has lived in NY until four years ago when she made North Carolina her home. Catherine has two sons, two daughter-in-laws and two amazing grandchildren. They have also made their homes here in NC, which couldn't be more Perfect! Catherine is in awe of the birthing experience and passionate about helping to create a calm, nurturing environment for mom and family. This will hopefully translate to a peaceful entrance into the world for the precious newborn. Her free time is spent with her grandchildren, traveling, cooking and being outdoors.

 

Colleen McGuire

Colleen is originally from Georgia, but grew up in a military family where she bounced around quite a bit. She has been in North Carolina for the past 13 years and now considers it home! She majored in Biomedical Engineering at NC State and is currently completing her second year at UNC School of Medicine. While not exactly sure about a specialty field at this point her interests include emergency medicine, internal medicine, and OB-GYN. Colleen first decided to volunteer as a Doula as an opportunity to gain a new perspective and be able to truly support women through such an impactful experience. The first birth she attended officially made her fall in love with volunteering as a Doula and she feels thankful for every laboring mother she has been able to support.

Dzidzai Muyengwa

Dzidzai is originally from Zimbabwe, Africa. She immigrated to the USA in 2007 and graduated from UNC in 2016. She is currently applying to schools of public health and is hoping to do research in the maternal and child health sector. Dzidzai loves cooking, baking and butter. She wants to serve as a doula not only because she believes that every woman should have a supported and wonderful birth experience but also because she hopes to give back to the women of her country through this experience. Dzidzai looks forward to serving and helping women in labor.

 

 

Emily Beaty

Emily is from Winston-Salem in her last year of Nursing School! She hopes to become a Labor and Delivery nurse when she graduates in May. She is a huge Carolina sports fan, loves spending time with her parents and brother and always brings a smile with her. Emily loves being a doula, helping you through the labor process!

 

 

 

Emma McFarlane

Emma is a senior nursing student from Kitty Hawk, NC who is over the moon about her impending graduation in May of 2017. She is passionate about women's health and absolutely loves spending her free time helping laboring women have empowering birth experiences. After graduation, she hopes to become a certified nurse midwife. When she's not working at the hospital as a doula or a nursing student, she can usually be found reading, cooking, or cuddling her rescue pup.

 

 

Erica Dismang-Nyika

Erica loves the Birth Partners program, and appreciates the privilege of being invited to partner with families as their doula. She, her spouse, and their precious pup relocated to the Triangle in 2015; they are thoroughly enjoying exploring the area. Erica studied social work at University of Missouri (M I Z!), and she is excited to join the accelerated nursing program at UNC in 2017.

 

 

Haley Stehr

Haley is a North Carolina native who was born in Salisbury and has spent the last eight years in the triangle area for undergraduate and now medical school. She will graduate in May 2017. Haley is interested in helping women to better understand their health and make informed decisions, and appreciates using the skills she has learned as a doula throughout her various rotations in the hospital. In her free time, she loves spending time with her family and two cats.

 

 

Jeanne Guerra

Jeanne is originally from Long Island, NY and works as the Executive Assistant to the Division Chief of Hematology/Oncology at UNC. When she found herself an empty-nester last year she started volunteering as a Doula. After each birth she participates in, she is continually amazed and empowered by the strength of women. Jeanne is honored to participate in and witness each birth.

Jessica Dyar

Jessica is a a clinical research assistant in pediatric oncology and hematology at UNC.  In 2010, after the birth of her second son, she trained to become a doula. She believes that unconditional support during birth is vital in creating a positive birth experience for the mother. Jessica has been very interested in integrative medicine since she was in high school. She hopes to see doulas continue to integrate into healthcare and be available to all mothers.

 

 

Jill Ryder Friedman

When Jill was in college, she had fantasies of becoming a midwife. Life for her took a different turn, and she instead became a social worker, hospice volunteer, health educator, ESL teacher, and volunteer in various capacities. During those years, she had three daughters (now adults), two of whom are twins. Each of these pregnancies was quite different as were their labors and births, including both a Caesarean and VBAC. Her own experiences and enjoyment of listening to other women sharing birthing stories, led her to return to the world of L&D as a volunteer birth doula. Jill feels honored to be at the side of a woman as she lives one of the most profound experiences of her life; to be at her side as she listens to her body and to what it needs; to guide and support loved ones in the room; and, finally, to witness the birth of a new life into this world. Jill lives in Durham with her husband and golden doodle, Chloe. As often as possible, she enjoys spending time with her daughters, their partners, and her new granddaughter, Frances. 

Joya Bland

Carolina alumna, Joya Bland is currently a graduate student at North Carolina State University. She was raised in a small, close-knit community in Magnolia, N.C. Some of her favorite activities include reading and shopping. She is truly passionate about helping others and medicine, particularly women’s health. Her career goal is to become a physician assistant in obstetrics and gynecology, and lead ministry projects concentrated on women’s and girls’ empowerment. Joya is delighted to be a doula/doula mentor at North Carolina Women’s Hospital where she provides physical and emotional support to women as they radiantly shine as the stars of their birth experiences. She believes that birth is an intimate, miraculous process where the woman should be both the central focus and leader.

Justine Orlovsky-Schnitzler

Justine is a senior at the University, graduating in May of 2017.  She is preparing to enter law school after graduation, with an emphasis on healthcare and women's reproductive rights. Preparing for law school has given her an excess of patience, something vital to her role as a doula. A local of Wilmington, North Carolina, Justine was fortunate enough to be a part of a friend's birthing experience--and knew from that moment forward she wanted to support other families during such an exciting time!

 

Katie Vaughn

Katie is a senior studying anthropology at UNC Chapel Hill. She plans to apply to nursing school in the next year and eventually become a certified nurse midwife. Being a doula has been the most rewarding experience of her life, and she is humbled by the incredible women she's met through the Birth Partners program. When Katie's not at school or on call, you can find her at her home in Wilmington, NC kayaking through the marsh.

 

 

Kayla Krajick

Kayla was born and raised in Maryland before she came to North Carolina to participate in the Teach For America Program. Three years later, she is now a second year medical student. When Kayla can, she really enjoys getting out the classroom and staying involved with hiking, spending time with her husband, and volunteering with Birth Partners. Kayla's calm and nurturing demeanor aid in her ability to assist women during birth. Kayla also uses her dexterity to knit some of the Birth Partners baby hats that your little one may receive!

 

 

Lori Baber

Lori is an NC native and currently lives in Raleigh.  She is a 2nd degree nursing student at UNC and hopes to practice in maternal/child health after graduation.  In her "free" time, she is also a wife, mom of two, and veterinary technician (she has 4 cats and 1 dog).  She became a doula so as to be a warm, gentle presence in the midst of one of life's greatest moments--birth.  One of her goals as a doula is that women will have a sense of well-being, empowerment and wholeness during birth and beyond. 

 

 

Maggie Williams

Maggie is a native of Birmingham, Alabama. She plans to graduate from UNC in 2017 with her bachelors degree in biology before returning to her home state to attend medical school in the fall. Maggie became a doula because of her desire to help women of all backgrounds have empowering birth experiences. She loves meeting new people and is honored to be a part of such life-changing moments for the families she supports. When she isn't attending births or studying, Maggie enjoys knitting, hiking, and sharing pictures of her newborn niece.

 

 

Marietta Harrell

Marietta is a mother of three little ones and has been married to her awesome husband for 8 years. She attended UNC-Chapel Hill as an undergraduate and walked past the hospital many times. She never dreamed she would have the pleasure of helping other mothers bring their babies into the world. But after having three very different and eventful labors and having years of adventures breastfeeding, she was inspired to find a way to support other women in their own journeys of motherhood as a Doula. In her free time she enjoys running and swimming with her children and when she isn't singing lullabies, she enjoys singing karaoke. :-)

 

Marjorie OReilly

Marjorie O’Reilly became a Doula in 1998 after being a Hospice Volunteer for many years in California. Her mission is to create the best support and care for Mother and Baby before, during and after Birth. She is inspired by her membership in The Association for Pre and Perinatal Psychology and Health. And she is thrilled to be a part of Birth Partners as their Senior Mentor Coordinator.

 

 

Megan Gurjar

Megan is a Tar Heel born and bred. She graduated from UNC in 2016 with a BSPH degree in Nutrition and is currently working on a few diet and exercise intervention studies at Duke Medical Center. Megan volunteers as a doula because she is passionate about supporting and serving people during critical times of their life. She believes it's truly a privilege to empower mothers during labor and birth and to share such intimate moments. In her free time, Megan enjoys reading, weightlifting, trying new recipes, and hanging out with her friends and family.

 

 

Meghan McLaughlin

Meghan was trained as a doula in early 2014, and volunteered for about a year and a half in California before moving. She is relatively new to the North Carolina area, but loves it so far! She is currently a UNC nursing student and interested in women's health and labor and delivery. She is new to this doula program, but has enjoyed it so far!

 

 

Min Jeong Kim

Min Jeong is a recent graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill and is now working as a laboratory technologist at Duke Hospital Clinical Microbiology Laboratory. She enjoys hiking, writing, drinking coffee, and watching movies in her free time. Learning to support mothers through their labor and birth is such an exciting and rewarding experience, so she always looks forward to volunteering as a doula!

 

 

Morgan Ferone

Morgan is an undergraduate student at UNC Chapel Hill pursuing degrees in Biology, Chemistry, and Religious Studies. Morgan is passionate about all facets of women's health, but has always been especially interested and amazed by the processes of pregnancy and birth! As a doula, Morgan hopes to help women feel capable and supported,  in such a way that results in positive and empowering birth memories.  Morgan is inspired by every birth she attends, and she hopes to continue her doula work as she progresses towards a career focused on educating women about their bodies and improving access to reproductive and sexual health services. Morgan also loves to get out of the library and be outdoors, spend time with her friends and family, drink coffee, and ski!

Morgan Pink

Morgan Pink is a Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical student at Meredith College who will graduate in May 2017. She plans to attend medical school and become an OB/GYN. Morgan became interested in becoming a doula because it involves two of her passions: women's health and women's empowerment. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, coaching Girls on the Run, and spending time with friends and family.

 

 

Olivia Bruff

Olivia Bruff is a UNC Chapel Hill student studying biology. She plans to graduate in the spring of 2018 and apply to medical school thereafter, with plans to become a gynecologist. Olivia is very interested in women's rights and gender equality, and she became a doula so that women of all backgrounds could find support and care during labor and delivery. When she is not at the hospital or doing schoolwork, Olivia is out for a run or visiting with family or friends.

 

 

Olivia Gensheimer

Olivia is a native of Texas currently attending UNC.  She plans on graduating in May of 2017 with a degree in Global Studies focused on health in Latin America and is hoping to go to Medical School.  She enjoys a quality cup of coffee and time spent on outdoor porches.  Olivia is interested in women’s health, which led her to the world of birth.  She believes that women were created to be powerful and capable beings, and feels humbled to have the opportunity to come alongside them during this life changing experience as a Doula.

 

 

Persia Homesley

Persia graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in 2015 with a Biology B.S. degree. In her free time she is either rock climbing or cooking up something delicious. She is currently a CNA at an assisted living home and is working toward attending PA school to become a Physician Assistant. As a Doula, she enjoys sharing breathing practices with women in labor.

 

 

 

Sarah McShane

Sarah is originally from Northern Virginia, but has moved to Chapel Hill full time since graduating from UNC in May. She is spending her “gap year” before medical school working as an administrative assistant for the Birth Partners program and jumping into support mothers any chance she gets! She has a passion for volunteering, caring for others, and spending time outside. Her earliest memories involve the pregnancy and birth of her younger sister, and she has been enchanted with the process of birth ever since. She looks forward to helping each woman find her own strength and confidence as a mother, and feels so thankful for each time she gets to witness a woman first meeting her child.

 

Shaunta Jones

Shaunta' Jones is an Administrative Assistant at Chapel Hill Cooperative Preschool, just minutes away from the hospital. She is a wife and the mother of a sweet and sassy two year old, who's birth was attended by a member of the Birth Partners! Her experience with her doula was so positive that she was inspired to join the Birth Partners Program, here at UNC. As a doula, she loves helping a woman feel empowered and confident during her birthing experience. Shaunta' feels privileged to attend to women transitioning into motherhood and it continues to motivate her scholastic pursuit to becoming a Midwife.

 

Stephanie Sun

Stephanie is a second year medical student who is excited to journey with our mothers through the laboring process. As a Doula, she hopes to make the laboring and birthing experience a more comfortable one for our mothers.

 

 

 

Summer Sanders

Summer Sanders is a Raleigh native and a student at UNC-Chapel Hill School of Nursing, expecting to graduate in May 2017. When she is not in the nursing student role or being a volunteer doula, Summer is a nursing assistant at Duke University Hospital. Summer hopes to one day specialize as a labor and delivery nurse, and possibly even become a certified nurse midwife. As a doula, Summer values the continuous support she is able to provide for women during the laboring process. In her free time, Summer is most likely pretending to be a DJ or hanging out with friends.

 

 

Susanna Epling

Susanna has lived all over the country, including New Jersey, Indiana, Florida, California, and South Carolina! She now calls North Carolina home after living here for 6 years. She is a graduate student at UNC getting her Master's of Public Health in Maternal Child Health and a certificate in Global Health. Susanna has a passion for cooking, playing board games, and all things international. She believes that every woman deserves to be loved and supported during birth, and feels honored to be a doula participating in such a unique time in a woman's life.

 

 

Suzanne McMillan

Suzanne grew up in Kenya, Africa, which is where she became passionate about providing healthcare to women in rural and low access areas. She recently graduated from UNC Chapel Hill, and is currently working at UNC with a campus ministry organization. Suzanne loves volunteering as a doula, and believes that childbirth is a place where mothers can be empowered by being an active part of the experience of bringing a new life into the world. In her free time, Suzanne enjoys cooking, traveling, and exploring local coffee shops.

 

Tara Isley Murillo

Tara Ilsley-Murillo is a Program Coordinator in Maternal Health at Duke University Hospital and a DONA certified doula. Tara grew up in Winston-Salem and lived and worked in public health in Argentina, Guatemala, Honduras, and Malawi. Tara completed her masters in Maternal and Child Health at The Gillings School of Public Health. Tara has worked in direct patient care for years and specifically the Spanish speaking population. Tara has always been fascinated with birth and feels that every woman should have the right to a supportive and empowering birth experience.

 

 

Tiffaney Webb

Tiffaney grew up in Hillsborough, right outside of Chapel Hill. She has always wanted to help women feel their best, as a licensed esthetician and facilitator of women's groups. Being a volunteer doula carries on that mission to help women feel safe and heard during the most challenging yet beautiful times in their life, the journey to motherhood!

 

 

 

Valerie Lansdale

Valerie is a second year masters student in the Gilling's School of Global Public Health in the department of Maternal and Child Health. She grew up in Honduras, but has lived in Chapel Hill for the past 6 years. She enjoys biking, outdoor activities and cooking with her husband. Valerie began volunteering as a doula because of her interest in maternal and child health, specifically labor, prenatal and neonatal care. She is looking to apply for a nursing degree where she can continue to support and empower women to make healthy and informed decisions for themselves and their family. 

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