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In the News...

WIC Peer Counselors’ Perceptions of Breastfeeding in African American Women with Lower Incomes

[Abstract] – Journal of Human Lactation – December 5, 2014

Indiana strives to reduce infant mortality rate

by Lauren Slavin, Herald Times - November 23, 2014

Spartanburg doula program helps young mothers have healthy babies

by Lynne P. Shackleford, Spartanburg Journal Herald - November 14, 2014

Care Models That Work: Community-Based Doulas

by AMY ROMANO, Maternity Neighborhood - NOV 14, 2014

We Need Doula Care to Achieve Reproductive Justice

by Elizabeth Dawes Gay, RH Reality Check - November 11, 2014

The Perinatal Revolution - white paper on Community-Based Doula Programs

The Perinatal Revolution

Download HealthConnect One's new white paper to learn about the role community-based doulas play in high-risk communities across the U.S.

Press Release - Click here.

Senator Durbin presents HealthConnect One's Community Health Worker of the Year Award:

June 12, 2014

Senator Durbin presents HC One's CHW of the Year Award

Another Obamacare goal: Spend money on prevention, save money on cure [FRONT PAGE]

By Karen Springen, Special to the Chicago Tribune - July 6, 2014

"'The goal is to really shift from treating sick people to keeping our population healthy,' said Rachel Abramson, executive director of HealthConnect One, which has used ACA money to promote breast-feeding and evaluate community-based doula programs."

Racial Justice, Difference, and the Peer-to-Peer Model

By Rachel Abramson, HC One Executive Director

Part of the YWCA "Stand Against Racism" blog carnival - April 25, 2014

"I am a child of the sixties, and a Jew who takes seriously the prophetic challenge to pursue justice. But my connection to the struggle for racial justice has become more personal for me through my work in health care and in public health..."

Gateways to Two Generations: The Potential for Early Childhood Programs and Partnerships to Support Children and Their Parents Together

New Report - released by Ascend at THE ASPEN INSTITUTE - January 2014

"Promising Approaches: Develop strong parent-child relationships early. Doulas provide intensive emotional support through weekly home visits. HealthConnect One provides a community-based doula model currently used or in development in more than 100 communities nationally. Local communities select respected members of their community to receive extensive training in health promotion to provide relationship-driven support for expectant families. Another initiative, in place in Wisconsin’s Rock and Walworth counties, integrates doulas into the Early Head Start program. They accompany mothers on prenatal visits, attend the birth, and continue to provide relationship-based support at least 12 months after the birth. They also encourage the involvement of family members and fathers in the pregnancy, birth, and lives of the mothers and children."  - Page 16

The Amazing People Who Are Changing How Low-Income Moms Give Birth

by Catherine Pearson, Huff Post Parents - September 12, 2013

"Although doulas may be especially helpful to poor minority women with limited access to reproductive care, doulas themselves come up short in racial and economic diversity. As the authors of the recent Medicaid study put it, 'most doulas are white middle-class women serving white middle-class women.' Organizations like HealthConnect One, one of the longest-running community doula programs in the U.S., are trying to close this gap by insisting that the doulas they employ live in the same neighborhoods as their clients and be trusted members of the community."

Community Health Workers — A Local Solution to a Global Problem

The New England Journal of Medicine - September 5, 2013

"CHWs have been part of the U.S. health care landscape for decades, serving as community advocates, social activists, health promoters, and patient navigators... To further develop the promise of CHWs, policymakers and health system leaders could take five initial steps..."

Black Mothers' Breastfeeding Association Expands Community-Based Programming to Support Detroit Mothers

BMBFA Press Release - August 7, 2013

"This is an amazing opportunity for BMBFA to continue its grass roots work by embracing a proven community-based model," states Kiddada Green, Founding Director of BMBFA. "We are very intent upon following the five essential components of HealthConnect One's community model. One component in particular requires us to employ women who are trusted members of the target community. So not only are we able to support positive maternity outcomes, but we are also able to provide jobs to women from our community."

Outreach Doula Program Becomes Nationally Accredited

Washington Global Health Alliance - August 6, 2013

"Open Arms, a member of WGHA, proudly announces that the Open Arms Perinatal Services Outreach Doula Program has received national accreditation from HealthConnect One. The Outreach Doula Program - which has offered strong support in the Somali and Latina communities in Seattle since 2008 - is the first community doula program in the nation to achieve accreditation." [Read more]

Home Visiting Services Account Grantee Receives National Accreditation

by Holly Wyrwich, Thrive by Five WA - August 1, 2013

Focus: HOPE program helps train new-mom counselors

Detroit Free Press - March 22, 2013

"At 15 and pregnant, JacDell Chance felt far from confident about giving birth and breastfeeding her baby."

"'Your mentality and mind-set is not focused on the perseverance,' Chance said Friday as she sat in a classroom at the Detroit nonprofit Focus: HOPE's Center for Children. 'It's 'How can I put my heart back together? How can I get rid of this guilty feeling?' It makes it complicated.'"

Hospitals push breast-feeding in hopes of getting 'baby-friendly' label [FRONT PAGE]

Jennifer Delgado, Chicago Tribune - January 10, 2013


"After the births of her first two children, Charmaine Sharkey's neighborhood hospital gave her cans of baby formula and sent her on her way... But Sharkey tried something different when her youngest, Dynasty, was born six months ago.  The 28-year-old mother from Englewood breast-fed the 6-pound baby, a change she credits to guidance and programs offered by Stroger Hospital of Cook County..." 

Grant-Funded Doula Program Helps New Mothers

Trinitas Regional Medical Center News (Elizabeth, NJ) - August 24, 2012

"Experienced mothers give expectant women the mothering they need" ~ About launching the Mothering Mothers/Apoyando Madres community-based doula program in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Awards & Recognition

U.S. DHHS - Office of Minority Health

Chicago CHW Local Network Coordinator Laura Bahena was selected in April 2011 to serve on the National Steering Committee for Promotores de Salud. This Steering Committee will work in collaboration with the Federal Workgroup for the Promotores initiative, to provide leadership and guidance in the development and implementation of a newly established National Initiative for Promotores de Salud focused on Latino/Hispanic populations.  Congratulations, Laura!

Best Business Email Marketing - City of Chicago Treasurer's Office - 2011
City of Chicago - Treasurer's Office

HealthConnect One is thrilled to have won first prize in the 2011 "Best Business Email Marketing" contest for small businesses and non-profits, for our "Have You Ever Been a Baby?" campaign.  Thank you to the Chicago City Treasurer's Office, to Constant Contact, and to everyone who participated in this campaign! 

APHA's MCH Leadership Award

HealthConnect One's Executive Director Rachel Abramson received national recognition from the American Public Health Association's Maternal and Child Health Section when she was named their 2009 Outstanding Leader in Advocacy. This award recognizes leaders who serve at a local, state or national level and who have made significant contributions to the field by creating the political will to improve the health of mothers and children. For more information on HC One's advocacy work for the community-based doula model, please link here.


Health & Medicine Policy Research Group
- Health Award

Rachel Abramson was selected by the Health & Medicine Policy Research Group for their 2009 Health Award. The HMPRG Awards Ceremony and Cocktail Party was held Thursday, October 1, 2009. 

To hear acceptance speeches...

For further information...

Building a Healthier Chicago

HealthConnect One takes the Stakeholder Spotlight on breastfeeding.

Doula Project Award

Our original "Doula Project," funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, was highlighted at the 20th anniversary meeting of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Local Funding Partnership Program in Scottsdale, AZ. As part of a panel celebrating successful local, statewide and national projects, Rachel Abramson, HC One's Executive Director, shared the story of the HealthConnect One (formerly Chicago Health Connection) Doula Project, which became the pilot for national replication of the community-based doula model. In 2003, The Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies State Impact Award went to HC One for this work.  For more information about the original project, check out the report on the Robert Wood Johnson site.

News Archives

What Can Mississippi Learn From Iran?

New York Times Magazine - July 27, 2012


"The practice of community health workers going door to door has been applied everywhere from China to Mexico. According to Carl H. Rush of the University of Texas Institute of Health Policy, in the United States, community health workers have been used on a small scale for decades. More recently, he says, hospitals around the country are realizing the potential for community health workers to lower their costs."


Public Eye - Rosetta Walls, Breastfeeding Peer Counselor

Time Out Chicago - July 19-25, 2012


What do you do for a living? I'm a breastfeeding educator at Stroger Hospital.

Is there a lot to it? [Laughs] Well , right now a lot of women have gotten away from it, especially in the African-American community, so...

Mothering Mothers: The Elizabeth Community-based Doula Program - Video

Produced by Kelly Creedon - July 2012


Running 6:12, this video tells the story of Elizabeth NJ's Community-Based Doula Program, narrated in part by Doula Supervisor, and including new moms in the program, and doulas-in-training. It takes awhile to load, but it's worth it!

Best Venerable Program for Pregnant and Parenting Teens

Chicago Reader - "Best of Chicago 2012" - June 20, 2012


"For 32 years Marillac, a west-side social service center, has been working to strengthen the bond between teen parents and their children. Home visitors help pregnant teens..." [read more]

Baby Steps for Breastfeeding Success - Video

Cook County Public Health - May 2012

Describes a hospital's role in supporting moms and babies, drawing on the expertise of the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, HealthConnect One, Little Company of Mary Hospital, and Northwest Community Hospital (6 minutes)

Kellogg Invests $3M in Community Health Workers

HealthConnect One Media Release - February 3, 2012

The birth of a new career

by Marketplace from American Public Media - December 23, 2011

New programs help low-income women train to become doulas and birthing assistants.

Give Where the Women Are

by DailyWorth - December 13, 2011

"When you give aid to women, what happens? Studies show that women use the support they get to build and enrich their communities. You give, they give (and you may get a tax break)—a triple win."

HealthConnect One is proud to be spotlighted alongside the Global Fund for Women and The White House Project.

Hospital enlists new moms in fight against childhood obesity

The Daily Herald - November 21, 2011


Northwest Community Hospital in Illinois launches a breastfeeding peer counselor program, with guidance from HC One and federal funding through Communities Putting Prevention to Work.

After WBEZ report, hospital steps up breastfeeding efforts

Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ 91.5 FM) - August 2, 2011


Holy Cross, HC One's partner in the Healthy Places collaborative, is the first Chicago hospital to register in the United Nations' Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative.

Remember infant health

Chicago Tribune "Voice of the People" - July 8, 2011


HC One Executive Director Rachel Abramson shares her views on birth and the economy, in response to the July 5th Chicago Tribune editorial, "Come on, baby."

Regulators let breast milk compete with formula in hospitals

Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ 91.5 FM) - May 5, 2011

RADIO:  When it comes to feeding infants, the healthiest option is mother’s milk. But many Chicago-area hospitals don’t act like it. Should authorities crack down?

The Comunity-Based Doula Program Initiative - The First Project Period
HRSA’s Division of Healthy Start and Perinatal Services in the Maternal and Child Health Bureau - Webcast - April 26, 2011

Breast-feeding disparities sharp in Chicago-area hospitals

Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ 91.5 FM) - March 14, 2011

RADIO:  HC One Executive Director Rachel Abramson shares her perspective on hospital practices which support breastfeeding, and WBEZ reporter Chip Mitchell compares Illinois Hospital Report Card data from the 49 hospitals that deliver babies in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.

Community Stories: Catching Our Babies  

Seattle Channel - March 14, 2011

VIDEO:  Open Arms Perinatal Services Clinical Director Michelle Sarju speaks about doulas, midwives, home births, and the medical model of birth in the African-American community.  Michelle Sarju is one of the few African-American midwives in Washington state.  Open Arms is one of HC One's Community-Based Doula Replication Sites.


Learning for Life: Outreach Doulas supporting Latina, Somali mothers

King 5 News - June 23, 2010

Doula becoming a household name

ABC News - May 22, 2010

10 Questions for U.S. Doulas

Published by Rieko Kishi, RN, CNM, PhD, from Showa University Northern Yokohama Hospital, and longtime friend of HealthConnect One.

Child Research Net - March 19, 2010

There’s No Place Like Home

This report highlights the HC One community-based doula model, and concludes that federal funding investment in home visiting programs, connecting women and their families to a broad range of services, is critical to supporting low-income families.

Center for American Progress - January 5, 2010


Exploring opinions and beliefs about cord blood donation among Hispanic and non-Hispanic black women
by Dianne Rucinski, Risé Jones, Brenda Reyes, Lawon Tidwell, RoiAnn Phillips, and Denise Delves, from the Institute for Health Research and Policy, HealthConnect One, and Mercy Hospital, Chicago, Illinois - December 29, 2009

Bright Idea: Doulas Support Young Moms

National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth - December 2009

Atlanta: The Doula Story

This video, created by STV Productions, profiles Perez Ridley, a Community-Based Doula in Atlanta, GA, who counsels pregnant teens on behalf of the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention.

Community-Based Doulas: A Good Investment in Our Future

Blog by Jane Fonda featured in The Huffington Post - July 7, 2009

G-CAPP's Doula Project was one of HC One's original replication sites, and we congratulate them on this great coverage!


Learning for Life: Demonstration Communities

Community-Based Doula Program at Open Arms Perinatal Services

Channel 5 - Seattle, WA - April 22, 2009


HRSA Awards $6.3 Million to Launch New Parents Initiative, 'Doulas' Training

HRSA Archive - October 2008

Mothering the Mother' During Childbirth, and After

New York Times - September 2005


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"I was a doula serving people from my community. Serving people from my community keeps me going.”

- Lizette Pacheco, AAS, CPE, Senior Managing Director, Migrant Health Promotion