This document outlines ways in which community-based doula programs in New York State have been strategically implemented to serve families most at risk for poor maternal and infant health outcomes. By elevating human rights and reproductive justice principles, community-led doula support serves as a model for envisioning new approaches to the current maternal health crisis in the U.S. It outlines successful elements of community-based doula trainings and practices that would enhance the New York State Pilor and help it meet its ultimate goal of reducing disparities.
New York and other states planning or providing Medicaid coverage of doula care should:
• Adjust reimbursement rates to ensure that doulas have the opportunity to earn a living wage
• Collaborate with and invest in community-based doula programs to ensure that doulas enrolled in Medicaid reimbursement programs are equipped to serve communities of color and low-income communities
• Support best practices through the pilot design, including ensuring adequate training, certification, supervision, mentorship and peer support to appropriately serve communities of color and low-income communities
• Develop a comprehensive approach to wellness and support by ensuring organizations or agencies are equipped with the structure, relationships, and processes in place to provide a coordinated network of referrals
• Provide funds to train and certify a diverse doula workforce, specifically from underserved rural and urban low-income communities, communities of color, and communities facing linguistic or cultural barriers.
• Incorporate community engagement as an essential component to improve health equity.
• Take active steps to raise awareness about the benefits and availability of community-based doulas
Authors: Ancient Song Doula Services, Village Birth International, and Every Mother Counts
Publication Date: March 25, 2019