In honor of Black Maternal Health Week (April 11-17, 2022), Ready, Set, Soar Ohio has invited local Black-led organizations and organizations committed to advancing health equity to participate in a blog series sharing how their work supports Black maternal health and improves outcomes for Black mothers.
Founded and led by Black Mamas Matter Alliance, Black Maternal Health Week is a week of awareness and community building intended to deepen the national conversation about Black maternal health in the United States; amplify community-driven policy, research, and care solutions; center the voices of Black mothers, women, families, and stakeholders; and more.
The blog featured below was written by Da’na M. Langford, CNM and Tenisha Gaines, MBA, co-founders of Village of Healing.
Village of Healing’s mission is to end racial disparities by providing an environment of healing. We are committed to eliminating social determinants of health through individual development, education, financial stability, safe affordable housing, and improved health outcomes. We are offering all members of the community life empowering skills through multiple sources and mediums that will in turn heal and empower the village. We work to ensure health that leads to not only surviving but thriving.
Our co-founders Da’na M. Langford and Tenisha Gaines have more than 26 years of experience working in hospital systems. Each participated in community-based committees organized to address racial disparities in maternal and infant health, yet these committees did not reflect Black women and children who are devastated by structural racial disparities. Black-led organizations who brought concrete actions steps to these committees were constantly being challenged, while large white led-organizations were granted substantial dollars—and outcomes for Black mothers and babies worsened. Ms. Langford and Ms. Gaines joined the efforts of these Black-led organizations and together, they put words to action with the founding of Village of Healing in 2019.
Our Mother to Mother program provides support and mentorship to pregnant and parenting Black mothers experiencing maternal mental health complications. Trained volunteers who are healing from a maternal mental health complication serve as models for recovery and inspiration. The program’s goals include reducing the stigma around accessing mental health care in the Black community. We connect mothers with mental health care providers for at least three sessions and help women develop long-lasting coping skills that promote positive wellbeing for themselves.
Our professional Black Women’s Group consists of members who are aged 30 or older and who have earned at least an undergraduate degree. Facilitated by a Black women licensed social worker (LSW) with a master’s degree, this bimonthly program provides a sister circle forum to process the intersectionality of being professional, Black, and a woman. Studies have shown that socio-economic status is not a protective factor for Black women; all benefit from supporting each other in this safe space of open, deep dialogue that promotes bonds beyond the program.
On February 14, 2022, we opened the doors to The Village of Healing Center with the mission to deliver quality health care services that meet the social and cultural needs of patients, improving health outcomes and quality of care that eliminates racial and ethnic health disparities.
The center addresses part of ongoing efforts to improve the quality of and access to care for Black women, utilizing Black nurse midwives, in a city that a recent study has found to be the worst metropolitan area for Black women in many facets, including health. The flagship center is focused on women’s health care with the evidence-based approach of Black providers caring for Black patients. The research shows that when a patient and provider share the same ethnicity, health disparities decrease, outcomes are approved, and patient satisfaction with care is increased.
We have already seen and heard some of the increase in satisfaction with care after having a Black provider:
"Da’na has been the most outstanding midwife I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. Not only was she there my entire pregnancy, she has continued to be by my side and answer every question and late-night phone call. She is the true definition of a medical professional. She always finds a way to ease my comfort when I am worried about any health issues involving me and my son. I could never ask for a better midwife than Da’na and honestly, I could never leave her services.” ~ Ashley, grateful patient and mom
For any questions about our programming or to refer women for our services, please give us a call at 216-815-4325 (HEAL).
To learn more about Village of Healing, please visit https://www.villageofhealingcle.com/.
Da’na M. Langford, CNM
Da’na M. Langford is a Cleveland native. As a certified nurse midwife and previous experience as a women’s health nurse practitioner, her expertise initiated and expanded while working in Albany, Georgia, and St. Petersburg, Florida. She returned to her roots in Cleveland, Ohio. While working as a certified nurse midwife and serving on numerous committees, she observed Black women were not being heard in the discussion of racial disparities in maternal and infant health. She co-founded Village of Healing, a community development organization focused on healing and empowering the village to eliminate social determinants of health and decrease disparities. Under that umbrella The Village of Healing Center was developed to deliver quality health care that meets the social and cultural needs of patients.
She founded Da’na M. Langford Consulting, an enterprise focused on uplifting communities and addressing systemic injustices through education, executive coaching, and advocacy. Through core competencies in nursing, midwife coaching and community education with cultural sensitivity, this uniquely positions the organization to empower clients, to provide specific evidence-based evaluation, and to implement customized consultation.
With a host of experience working in hospital systems as a certified nurse midwife, for more than 12 years, Da’na is invested in serving the Black community. She brings clinical bedside and corporate boardroom experience coupled with an adherent passion for the eradication of racial disparities to her companies and the communities she serves. Through her numerous committee positions, and panel discussion speaking engagements, and serving as a mentor to professionals and students, a preceptor to nursing students and advanced practice nursing students she has committed her career to serving, educating, empowering, and advocating for black women.
Da’na has a Bachelor of Science in Sports Medicine- Athletic Training from Eastern Michigan University and a Master of Science with a specialization in Midwifery and Women’s Health from The Ohio State University. She serves as President of Mom Effect Board of Directors, member of the Ohio Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review (PAMR) committee, member of Ohio Council to Advance Maternal Health, president of BHS (Benedictine and Beaumont) Black Alumni Association, and mentor for F.A.M.E (Females Achieving Minority Excellence) and Beaumont School students.
Tenisha Gaines, MBA
Tenisha Gaines, co-founder and executive director of The Village of Healing Center was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. Tenisha has dedicated her career over the past 22 years to community and healthcare. Through perseverance, she has worked her way from medical assistant to now holding a Master’s in Business Administration. In 2017 Tenisha became a certified lactation counselor and in 2018 completed the coaching program through Case Western Reserve and earned her Coaching Certificate.
Tenisha’s career has encompassed all levels of leadership, development, and mentoring. Tenisha can motivate and inspire individuals in identifying their potential. Through her education, she has made positive changes in the community she serves through advocacy and passion. Tenisha serves on several committees within the community that are dedicated to decreasing disparities.
The health and wellbeing of her community remain at the core of Tenisha’s beliefs. She has committed her career to serving and advocating for black women.