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Black Doula Collaborative NEWS

Updated: Feb 23

An update from Healthy Baby Network on Doula Care in our community. Jasmine Brewer, Doula Program Manager, and Jacqueline Lindsey, Program Development Director introduced the Community Based Doula Program.

Healthy Baby Network houses the Black Doula Collaborative and the Community Based Doula Program. The Community Based Doula Program was started as a two-year initiative that was funded by Finger Lakes Performing Provider Systems (FLPPS) to train Doulas to expand the Black Doula Collaborative. The funding allowed for six full-time, and two part-time Doulas to be trained. The Doulas were selected from the community and trained through 20 sessions covering various topics such as communication, pregnancy, breast, and chest feeding, labor and delivery and obstetrical interventions and alternatives.

Afterwards, there is on-going education, supervision, and mentorship. While this program started as a two-year initiative, it has been extended, often called the Healthy Baby Network (HBN) Community-Based Doula Program.

The program had several major objectives including: increased education on pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting, reduction in preterm and low birth weights, fewer medical interventions, and reduction incesarean deliveries and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admissions. Jasmine shared how the program has been successful in meeting several of their goals, including participants in the program experiencing lower pre-term births, lower NICU admissions compared to the rest of Monroe County, the region, and even New York State. Compared to the region, individuals in the program had lower rates of medical interventions, such as Pitocin, episiotomies, and epidural use. Birthing individuals in the

program also had higher rates of initiating breastfeeding upwards of 94%, exceeding the New York State rate.

Jacqueline updated us on a Breastfeeding Peer Counseling Training program that just wrapped up. The training was formulated with Health ConnectOne to expand the collaborative of breastfeeding counselors. This program is focused more on pediatric offices and supporting breast and chest feeding parents while the baby is present. However, parents can enroll in the prenatal period, and the program can work with parents upwards of one year if needed. This program will expand the network of individuals who are able to offer education and support for new parents.

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