Catrice Harris – doula, apprentice midwife, childbirth educator – tells us about African American midwifery history and reports on new maternal mortality statistics and the risk factors for Black and Native American women. How can we and healthcare professionals implement changes to address socioeconomic and cultural barriers that contribute to healthcare disparities in African Americans and other minority populations?
Catrice Harris is a wife, mother, and grandmother, who has been supporting families with childbirth education, labor and birth, and lactation support since 1992. Her initial lactation training was through The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and City of Houston WIC Programs. Childbirth education came next as she began teaching Lamaze classes to expectant families, birth moms, and adopting parents. In 2012, she began working as a birth and postpartum doula, becoming certified through DONA and ICEA. As a recipient of the BIRTH midwifery scholarship for a woman of color, she is now enrolled in the National College of Midwifery, with the goal of graduating as a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) this summer. She teaches parenting education classes at the Woman’s Hospital of Texas and is apprenticing with Stephanie Palacio at Bay Area Community Birth Center. She has been a previous guest on Whole Mother and she has been a cast member of the play BIRTH for several years and also a BIRTH Fair volunteer for several years. Having supported almost 300 women with the birth of their babies, and countless more with breastfeeding, she is truly grateful that this work found her!