179052 Agents of change: Including compañeras in caring for the immigrant pregnant women

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Rose Mary J. Albujar, PA-C , Master in Public Health, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA
Alexandra Danino, Lead Companera , Canal Alliance, San Rafael, CA
Carmen Rios-Ramirez, SSW , Women's Health Service, San Rafael, CA
Research has shown that women that receive one on one labor support tend to have fewer medical interventions and increased well-being of the mother and her child. Low-income Latina pregnant women, living in Canal area in Marin County, CA, are particularly vulnerable during this period. Canal Alliance and partner organizations created in 1992 the Compañeras Program. After 15 years of providing support services to pregnant women, Compañeras has proven to be the single most promising intervention in decreasing health disparities in Marin County. The Compañeras Program recruits and trains bilingual, bicultural Canal resident Latina volunteers to become birth coaches so that they can provide prenatal and postpartum support to Latina immigrant mothers using the Promotora model (“peer advocate” model of outreach and service delivery). These volunteers have first-hand knowledge of the health care system and are committed to healthy childbirths in our community. As a result of the program's innovative design and top quality coordination and implementation, Compañeras Program is highly respected by health care professionals and the Canal community alike. Over the 15-year lifespan of the program, it has helped more than 600 high-risk women with life-saving prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum support. Documented outcomes from this program include improved parent-infant interaction, more positive, less mentally and physically stressful prenatal, natal, and postpartum experiences, and increased patient satisfaction, communication, access and quality of care. These positive outcomes allow mothers to face the demands of parenting, especially in the early years.

Learning Objectives:
1. The participants will be able to define the role of a Compañera. 2. The participants will be able to differentiate between the role of a Doula and a Compañera. 2. Participants will be able to describe four positive outcomes for the Companeras Program.

Keywords: Community Health Promoters, Maternal and Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I did the research and wrote the paper as part of my professional training process as an MPH student.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.