Acronym Soup for the EOLDoula Movement’s Soul

Like many I recently got a little confused and overwhelmed by all the new end of life doula initiatives that are happening. So, I turned to my mentor Lee Webster founder of New Hampshire Funeral Resources, Education, and Advocacy, to help me sort it all out. Here’s what she had to say:

“Having trouble following the bouncing acronyms in the EOLD world these days? You’re not alone! Here’s a quick guide to help define three different initiatives that have been developing at the same time that has all of our heads spinning! Follow the links to more information.

The National End-of-Life Doula Alliance (NEDA) is a 501c6 Nonprofit Business League for EOLDs. Go to the NEDA Home and About pages, which explain clearly what NEDA is and how it is positioning itself to support EOLDs. As a Membership Organization and Business League, we will put on conferences and retreats and networking get togethers called Doulapaloozas to help doulas meet each other and strengthen ties and share information. We will have directories for you to find each other and to be accessed by the public where you can tout your training and credentials. Plus we’ll send out a monthly newsletter and all the benefits listed on the Membership page. We are also gathering intel from various practitioners and academic, business, and professional fields to develop core competencies that EOLDs may voluntarily choose to be educated in if they wish for greater recognition. NEDA honors and encourages EOLDs of all education and experience. We are in the middle of getting all of our systems up and operational to begin taking membership applications and building our directories and mailing list, so please be patient for this to come online soon.

The National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) has Committees and Councils that contribute to important aspects of their work. They formed a new one recently for EOLDs after Deanna Cochran initiated a proposal to explore how EOLDS and hospices might interface. Some NEDA members are currently on the founding council getting things rolling, but there are others outside of NEDA on the council already. In September, membership will open up so more people can join the council as part of the NHPCO’s internal annual process. This council is run by NHPCO, not NEDA. Learn more about it and how you can participate at

National Professional End-of-Life Doula Certification program (NPEC), run by Professional Doula International (PDI)
NPEC is a completely separate training program run by Deanna Cochran (Quality of Life Care), Patty Burgess (Teaching Transitions and Doing Death Differently), and Suzanne O’Brien (DoulaGivers International). It is a collaborative venture between the three of them to teach the most comprehensive EOLD program they can by joining forces. They will be offering an in-house certification just as most EOLD trainers do that attests to the fact that you successfully completed their course. As part of their offerings, they will be teaching to the core competencies developed by NEDA and the National Home Funeral Alliance (NHFA) that prepare EOLDs and Home Funeral Guides to earn a respective Certificate of Proficiency, which may then position EOLDs to work with hospice in the future should that become available. NPEC has invited other teachers from related fields, some but not all of whom serve on NEDA’s board, to provide additional training as part of their expanded curriculum, but this is not a NEDA initiative.

Not mentioned by Lee is ELPC theĀ  End of Life Practitioners Collective this is the first nationwide service to match EOL care providers with people seeking their specific skills, and brain child and labor of love of Deanna Cochran (whose name you just read a lot). For just $10/year you can create a detailed listing and have access to a vast support network of like-minded people.

What a great time to be an EOL Doula!

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