Virtual Conference
Mrs. Judy Lentz

Mrs. Judy Lentz

University of Maryland, USA

Title: The Doula model in American health care in the 21st century


The doula model has been utilized in American healthcare for the past fifty years. The model dates to biblical times – a woman who serves – the model that has passed the test of time. American women sought to improve the birthing experience in the mid-70s and the doula model utilized in England was incorporated into American obstetrical care to respond to this need.  

With the turn of the 21st century, providing greater comfort to the dying became the focus. The birth doula model became the template. Over the next two decades, other types of doulas – comfort doulas, delirium doulas, hospice doulas, end-of-life doulas, death doulas and palliative care doulas evolved. These doulas have provided companionship, comfort, support, advocacy, and education for many individuals and loved ones who are experiencing serious illnesses.  

Doulas have access to educational training and certification however standardization of registration, education and/or certification has been sporadic and inconsistent. Many doulas are volunteers and yet many others are paid for their services.  The variations in service, type, reimbursement, and roles make this model less attractive and yet the values of cost-effectiveness, care satisfaction and guidance through the difficult medical experience justifies further consideration in future research.


Judy Lentz is the retired CEO of the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA), retiring from this position in July 2012 after 12 years. Simultaneously, Ms. Lentz developed and taught the online palliative care track of the Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing to Doctorate in Nursing Practice Adult Geriatric Program at the University of South Alabama from 2011 through 2013. 

Prior to the CEO position, Ms. Lentz was an Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist for nearly 20 years and was responsible for initiating the oncology clinical services that began in 1983 at Sewickley Valley Hospital (SVH) in Sewickley, PA. She also received the SVH Distinguished Service award in 1992.

Ms. Lentz is widely published and frequently presents locally, regionally, and nationally on various topics specific to oncology and palliative care nursing. She has received the Pathfinder in Palliative Care Award from the American Cancer Society, the HPNA Distinguished Career Award, and the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine President’s Citation Award. She is a Fellow in Palliative Care Nursing. Currently, Ms. Lentz is a second-year Ph.D. in Palliative Care candidate at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

In her volunteer role, Ms. Lentz serves numerous individuals as a Palliative Care Doula privately and in her faith community coordinating a Palliative Care Ministry originally in Sharon Community Presbyterian Church in Moon Township, PA that began in 2014 and now at the Rock Presbyterian Church in Greenwood, SC.