Will fund first community-based doula program in Niagara Falls
Submitted by Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center
Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center has been awarded a $200,000 Blue Fund grant from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York to support the first community-based doula program in Niagara Falls.
Every Woman and Child Counts is a program aimed at increasing healthy births and patient satisfaction by providing free doula services, in combination with social determinant of health strategies, to combat disparities and improve maternal and newborn health outcomes.
Four community members of diverse racial backgrounds will be recruited, trained and certified through DONA International, a leader in evidence-based doula training. Once certified, they will provide physical, informational and emotional support to 152 expectant parents in Niagara County who have social determinants of health concerns. SDOH are the environmental conditions that affect a wide range of health, functioning and quality-of-life outcomes.
The doulas will also provide birthing support, prenatal and postpartum visits, education and service referrals. In addition, a part-time transport community health worker will be hired to assist in getting clients with transportation barriers to appointments.
Eileen Kineke, maternal & infant health initiative coordinator with Memorial’s P3 Center for Teens, Moms & Kids, said, “By offering valuable doula services at no additional cost to the patient, Every Woman and Child Counts will enrich the birth experiences of many women who have not previously had this level of support.
“Four community members will receive free training and certification to become a doula. This could develop into lifelong career paths in which the doulas can truly make a difference in the lives of birthing people.”
In addition, Memorial’s P3 Center will host “Doula Dialogues,” a series of three Q&A events open to the community. Anyone interested in becoming a doula is encouraged to attend, and applications will be accepted on the spot.
Every Woman and Child Counts, which is set to begin October, aligns with Blue Fund’s goals of promoting maternal health and healthy children and improving racial equality in under-resourced communities with poor social determinants of health.
For more information on “Doula Dialogues” or Memorial’s upcoming community-based doula program, contact Kineke at 716-278-4274.