Expanding equitable doula access initiative

Advancing Equitable Doula Services: A Collaborative Initiative by March of Dimes and CVS Health Foundation

doula support

March of Dimes is partnering with CVS Health Foundation to increase equitable access to and utilization of community-based doula services. This is a complex issue and will require diverse stakeholders from different sectors to work together in an aligned fashion. Supported by the March of Dimes' Mom and Baby Action Network, this project aims to address three levers of change:

- Strengthening demand for, utilization, and systems integration of doula services;

- Growing, diversifying, and supporting the doula workforce; and

- Improving financial and operational efficiency.

Through this initiative, March of Dimes will leverage its national infrastructure to support phased implementation efforts in two distinct cohorts of three local communities ready to engage in highly coordinated activities to strategically advance these levers of change. Planned activities are co-created with participating communities as a part of the Action Learning Community model.

Doulas are trained professionals who provide continuous physical, emotional and informational support to mothers and families during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. There is growing evidence examining the association between doula care and improvements in maternal health. However, access to doula care has historically been limited in the U.S., with greater utilization among higher-income individuals.

Doulas practicing within their communities are known as community-based doulas. Community-based doulas serve as a resource to pregnant people and families by providing culturally congruent and culturally responsive support and are prepared to address language and cultural gaps. Improving access to and utilization of community-based doula services can benefit pregnant people at risk of experiencing higher rates of unequal treatment and poor birth outcomes.

Strengthening demand for, utilization, and systems integration of doula services

  • Develop and disseminate consumer education materials and learning opportunities
  • Facilitate integration of doula services into local community service organizations serving under-resourced populations
  • Assess and support improvements in facility-based doula practices and policies

Growing, diversifying and supporting the doula workforce

  • Strengthen local doula workforce capacity through training, mentoring, materials, and certifications
  • Support local community-based doula organizations with technical assistance

Improving financial and operational efficiency

  • Identify and elevate best practices regarding cooperative doula models that can help sustain community-based doula services in geographies where reliable payment models have been established

Interested in learning more about the initiative or supporting one of our cohorts? Email: [email protected]

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