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Doula and Childbirth Education Pioneer Penny Simkin to Receive Honorary Bastyr Doctorate

Penny Simkin, PT

Ingrid Pape-Sheldon | pennysimkin.com

10,000 people.

That is the size of some small towns or universities. And it is the number of women, couples and siblings that Seattle doula and childbirth pioneer Penny Simkin, PT, CD has helped prepare for childbirth. Simkin is the author of several best-selling books for supporting women in labor and has been a crucial leader for the doula movement nationwide.

For this and her numerous other achievements, Bastyr University has announced it will confer an honorary degree upon Simkin in June.

Simkin, is the namesake for Bastyr University's Simkin Center for Allied Birth Vocations, which trains doula, childbirth educators, lactation educators and other allied childbirth professionals. The center was started at Seattle Midwifery School, which merged with the university in 2010.

Simkin is a physical therapist who has specialized in childbirth education and labor support since 1968. She will receive an honorary Doctor of Natural Health Arts and Sciences degree at commencement on June 20, 2011, to recognize her significant global contributions to childbirth education and humane care in childbirth.

"Penny Simkin's name is synonymous with the effort to improve women's experience of childbirth," says Annie Kennedy, director of the Simkin Center. "For Penny to be a member of the Bastyr University family is a tremendous honor and it is only fitting that we return that honor by recognizing her at this year's graduation ceremony."

In addition to a nearly 50-year childbirth-education and labor-support practice, Simkin has authored many books and articles, including the new edition of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide and The Birth Partner. She also is co-founder of Doulas of North America International (now called DONA International), helped launch the local doula certifying organization Pacific Association for Labor Support (now PALS Doulas), was a founding teacher at Great Starts (now a program of Parent Trust Washington) and has been a member of the editorial staff of the journal Birth. She currently serves as an adjunct faculty member at Bastyr University and serves on the boards of dozens of organizations committed to improving the childbirth for women worldwide.

Books, DVDs and Childbirth Preparation Materials by Penny Simkin

  • The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions

  • Five Births with a Doula (DVD)

  • Penny Simkin's Comfort Measures for Childbirth (DVD)

  • Amazing Talents of the Newborn (DVD)

  • Flashcards of Medications Used in Labor & Birth

  • Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn:The Complete Guide, 4th Edition, with  April Bolding, Janelle Durham, Janet Whalley, & Ann Keppler

  • Relaxation, Rhythm, & Ritual: The 3 Rs of Childbirth (DVD)

  • Simkin's Ratings of Comfort Measures for Childbirth

  • The Labor Progress Handbook (3rd Edition)

  • When Survivors Give Birth: Understanding and Healing the Effects of Early Sexual Abuse on the Childbearing Woman

To learn more about each, click here: Books by Penny Simkin

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