Atlanta Doula Connect (ADC) is an Emory University Urban Health Initiative (UHI) project developed to assist low-wealth adults and teens through labor and delivery with volunteer doula support. Volunteer doulas and expectant mothers sign up to be matched by our staff. The chosen doula will later guide the expectant mother through the labor and delivery.
Maternal mortality is defined as the death of a woman during pregnancy or within one year of the end of pregnancy. Unfortunately, Georgia has one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the United States, with low-wealth and people of color suffering the most. ADC aims to reduce these rates by providing expectant mothers in need with doula support.
Carolyn Aidman, PhD, CLD, develops programs, engages, and mentors Emory and other universities’ faculty, staff, student, and community members as volunteers, interns, and Fellows. She attracts them to initiatives such as Atlanta Doula Connect.
She focuses on maternal mortality and morbidity, and supports healthy pregnancy spacing, which encourages delaying a second pregnancy until the first child is at least 18 months old and walking.
Aidman received the 2015 Emory University Distinguished Staff Award and the Emory University 2017 Award for Mentorship. She is a graduate of the Partnership for Southern Equity’s Atlanta Resident Leaders for Equity Academy, 2021.
Shivani Bhagat is one of the coordinators of Emory Urban Health Initiative’s Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Mitigation Team. She is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and currently works as a data engineer at NCR Corporation at the Atlanta office.
Fun fact: Shivani used to fence competitively in the Georgia High School Fencing League, which was, at one time, the largest high school fencing leagues in the country!
Megna Rao is an undergraduate student at Emory College of Arts and Sciences (Class of 2022) studying Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology on the Pre-med track. She is currently a co-coordinator for the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Mitigation Division of Urban Health Initiative (UHI) and oversees 4 projects, including Atlanta Doula Connect, to promote health equity.
Megna is also a researcher on the Cancer Detecting Dogs project of UHI, a co-president for Emory’s Hospice Outreach, Perspectives, and Engagement (HOPE) organization, a researcher at the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Lab at Emory School of Medicine, and a medical scribe.
Fun fact: Megna is from Phoenix, Arizona
Diya Dharmendran is a junior majoring in Psychology, on the Pre-med track, at the University of Miami. While she attends school in Miami, Diya was born and raised in Atlanta, and continues her passion for healthcare with Emory’s Urban Health Initiative.
Fun fact: Diya is captain of her Indian dance team at University of Miami.
Temitope Michael-Olaniran (Fafore) is the founder and chief consultant of Little Ones PIECMH™ Consulting, an organization providing perinatal emotional readiness education to reduce the risk for Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) and developmental delays/disorders.
She is a Ph.D. student specializing in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health and Developmental Disorders at Fielding Graduate University. Temi is a CAPPA Trained Postpartum Doula, a Certified New Parent Educator, U.S. Army Veteran, an Author, #boymom, and Wife. She enjoys traveling, blogging, and spending time with her family.
In her words, “Participating in Emory University’s Urban Health Initiative maternal health projects presents opportunities for me to effectively address the maternal health crisis in Atlanta”.
Fun Fact: Temi has lived in three continents and toured 12 European nations by air, land, and sea.
Alyssa is a DONA-trained doula and has a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health. She cares for the total wellbeing of pregnant individuals, ensuring that their needs beyond just the childbearing process are met.
Alyssa also encorporates strong advocacy skills in her role as a doula, helping pregnant individuals to experience care from providers that is respectful and evidence-based. She utilizes her knowledge regarding public health to assist in the operation of several volunteer doula programs, including UHI’s Atlanta Doula Connect.
Fun Fact: Alyssa has a twin sister!
Tracie is a Clinical Research Coordinator at Emory SOM, with a dual role in business development. She has an Executive MBA, a master’s degree in Psychology and is matriculating towards a PhD in business psychology. She has conducted research in the areas of healthcare administration, rehabilitation medicine and behavior change.
Tracie is driven to improve community outcomes, and affect public policy to improve education, health and wellness in underserved communities.
Fun fact: her hobbies include crafting and designing jewelry with metalsmithing and other mediums.
Steven is a native of Atlanta, GA and is thrilled to be working with Emory University’s Urban Health Initiative. He has always had a passion for volunteer work and healthcare, especially tending to the needs of the underserved population.
Steven graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with a Biology minor. He has obtained a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) degree, and is currently a medical student matriculating to obtain a Doctorate of Medicine (MD) degree.
It is Steven’s hope that the Atlanta Doula Connect project will serve as a beacon of light to address the rising maternal death rate of American women, and especially that of women of color.
Fun Fact: Steven is a huge sports fan, but his favorite sport is baseball!