258919 Health outcomes and cost-savings of the community-based doula model

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 10:50 AM - 11:10 AM

Sarah Kerch, MPH , HealthConnect One, Chicago, IL
Kristin M. Rankin, PhD , School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
HealthConnect One's leadership and training model promotes ongoing, supportive relationships with women in underserved communities prenatally, during birth and into the postpartum period. HC One has implemented the community-based doula (CBD) model for 15 years at over 40 community agencies in urban and rural settings throughout the country. An important component of the CBD model is community participation. Local agencies must employ women who are trusted members of the target community to serve as doulas. CBDs, as community health workers within the maternal and child health service field, provide support to mothers prenatally, during labor and birth, and postpartum.

The CBD model has shown positive results on several scales. While developing relationships with expecting mothers and families, CBDs link clients to critical prenatal care, increasing access to and utilization of health care services. CBD programs have also shown pregnancy support leads to healthy mothers and infants, such as fewer preterm births and C-sections, shortened labor, improved breastfeeding and lowered risk of infant acute illnesses. These outcomes result in an estimated 16.6% cost savings for direct services in Medicaid populations (~$2,000,000 per 1,000 clients) during the first two years postpartum. Further savings to health care payers and society result from better long term maternal and child health outcomes.

A CBD working on the ground will share her work with underserved communities. Together, we will provide anecdotes of CBDs' laborious work and the results of the CBD model, illustrating the power of providing community-based, peer-to-peer support for pregnancy, birth and early parenting.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
1.Describe current efforts of community-based doulas in a variety of settings throughout the nation 2.Identify and evaluate health benefits of the community-based doula model 3.Identify cost savings by implementing a community-based doula program

Keywords: Maternal Health, Infant Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have over four years of public health experience including my role as the Maternal & Child Health (MCH) Data Coordinator. In this role, I train and support community-based doula and breastfeeding peer counselor replication sites to implement evaluation programs. Evaluation programs at each site revolve around the use of Doula Data and the Breastfeeding Data System, web-based evaluation systems developed by HC One staff and contractors.
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.