FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2017 Durbin Community Health Worker of the Year: Yvette McKee
CHICAGO – HealthConnect One is pleased to announce that the 2017 Durbin Community Health Worker of the Year Award goes to Yvette McKee, a community-based doula from Open Arms Perinatal Services in Seattle, Washington. Established by HealthConnect One in 2014 and championed by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), this award recognizes a Community Health Worker who has made a tremendous impact on maternal and child health.
“Ms. McKee embodies the true essence of community support,” writes Director of Programs, Michelle Morse, who nominated her for this award. “She is thoughtful and caring and her commitment always shines through. She single-handedly shaped the Birth Doula Services Program, which matches over 200 moms who are at and below the federal poverty line with volunteer and paid doulas.” This past summer, Yvette led a Community-Based Doula Training which brought together members of the African-American, Somali, Native American and Latinx/Latina communities to train as birth doulas. “Yvette brought humor, wisdom, expertise and a deep sense of community to each of these trainings,” says Morse.
Doulas and other Community Health Workers around the world assist individuals and communities to adopt healthy behaviors; they provide social support, informal counseling, and information on available resources; they may gather data to help identify community health needs; they advocate for individuals and community health; and they are trusted members of the communities they serve, often bridging cultural and language barriers to support their clients in communicating with health care systems.
The Award is named after Senator Richard J. Durbin from Illinois, who has consistently demonstrated his support for community health workers, bringing public awareness to the value of community health workers. “Doulas and community health workers are invaluable resources in helping ensure that every baby, mother, and family can thrive,” Durbin said. “It’s been heartening to see the progress HealthConnect One has made over the years in expanding its doula program to more than 50 communities across the country. I am honored to have this award named after me, and I am pleased to congratulate Yvette McKee on being named the 2017 Community Health Worker of the Year.”
HealthConnect One has collaborated with over 50 communities in 20 states, and pioneered their award-winning community-based doula program model in 1996. Open Arms Perinatal Services was the first site to be accredited for replicating this model.
The 2017 Durbin Community Health Worker of the Year Award will be presented as part of HealthConnect One’s 30th anniversary celebration, 30 Years of Making Waves:
June 15, 2017 – 6:00 PM
Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA)
220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago IL 60611
Photo Opportunities Available
HealthConnect One® is the national leader in advancing respectful, community-based, peer-to-peer support for pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and early parenting: www.healthconnectone.org