Online Program

Community-based doula support in NYC: Expanding access through partnerships with community-based organizations

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Nan Strauss, J.D., Choices in Childbirth, New York, NY
Doula support before, during, and following birth is recognized as one of the most effective strategies to improve maternal health outcomes, yet few women in underserved communities can access this beneficial service. Community-based doula programs have demonstrated success in reducing disparities and meeting the needs of women at the greatest risk of poor birth outcomes. However, some community-based doula programs are highly resource intensive, restricting their reach. Other programs are limited in the services offered, limiting their impact.

A new city-wide program in New York City has been developed to meet women’s need for comprehensive, coordinated support services in a way that is resource-efficient.  This new program trains community-based doulas and links them with existing community-based organizations that have not previously offered doula support to their clients. This approach expands the community-based doula workforce, increases the diversity of the doula workforce, augments the services offered by community-based organizations, and enhances the care the doulas can provide.  The model expands access to continuous, comprehensive support for women at risk of poor outcomes.  Because doulas are the only support workers who provide care during labor, birth, and the early post-partum period, their support fills an existing gap and increases continuity of care.

This session will describe the benefits of doula care, the model of care developed by the program, the rationale behind this model, data and information collected by the program, and the results of the program evaluation in its initial year of operation. The session will include feedback obtained in focus groups with participants in the program, as well as lessons that can be applied in other communities.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Identify common models of community-based doula programs operating in underserved communities Describe how community-based doulas fill gaps in available services Compare new model for providing comprehensive, community-based support for women during pregnancy, birth, and beyond Discuss benefits and challenges of supplementing existing community-based organizations' services with community-based doulas Evaluate the benefits and challenges of the new model of community-based doula support

Keyword(s): Birth Outcomes, Underserved

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked in maternal health, reproductive rights, and human rights law and policy for 12 years including researching and authoring reports and papers on US maternal health, developing state and federal legislation, conducting litigation in federal court, and advocating for changes in maternal and reproductive health law and policy. I recently authored a report on doula care and the ACA and am conducting program evaluation for a community-based doula program in NYC.
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.