I Will Miss Dr. Kennell

Dr. Kennellweb“If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.”

-Dr. John H. Kennell

 

I’m missing Dr. John Kennell, who died recently after a long illness. I met him when he came to speak at our 2003 doula conference. My family was lucky enough to have dinner with him and talk to him, about birth among other things. He co-wrote The Doula Book and was a founder of our current doula movement. He was an indomitable spirit who encouraged me and Jan Mallak in our quest to write our own doula book. When we did, he graciously wrote our foreword and endorsed our book. He was a founder of Doulas of North America and a great believer in the helping hand of a doula in labor. As a doula myself, I know he will be missed.

 

DONA’s website says this about Dr. Kennell:

“It is with great sorrow that we share the news of the August 27, 2013 death of one of our beloved founders, John H. Kennell, MD. A pediatrician, Dr. Kennell and his colleague, neonatologist Dr. Marshall Klaus, conducted the earliest controlled trials examining the effects of continuous support on labor outcomes. They noted impressive results.

In 1992, Drs. Kennell and Klaus, Phyllis Klaus, Penny Simkin and Annie Kennedy founded Doulas of North America (now DONA International) to train and certify labor support companions. His famous quote about doulas has inspired families and birth advocates worldwide: “If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.” (1998)”

Here is a link to the short video, The Essential Ingredient,: Doula, which has Dr. Kennell speaking about the doula movement.