Our Work

counselor watches a trainee practice breastfeeding with baby doll

The First 1,000 Days

The first 1,000 days, from pregnancy through the first almost three years of every child’s life, presents a unique window of time and an opportunity to create the foundations for optimum health and development.Pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and parenting in the first 1,000 days affect how our brains work, how young children respond to stress, and how we form trusting relationships.HealthConnect One informs and supports people in communities experiencing marginalization due to race/ethnicity, socio-economic status, culture and/or language so they can be informed about the first 1,000 days.

We develop programs rooted in community and provide training for frontline staff so that:

  • Mothers have support during pregnancy, attend their doctor appointments and can have support during labor and birth
  • Families bond with their newborn and get support for breastfeeding and healthy food options
  • Children and caregivers have access to psychosocial supports, understand early learning and reduce stress in the home as much as possible

HealthConnect One applies an equity focused approach to all of our work.  We aim to improve pregnancy, birth and early parenting experiences for communities that have been historically marginalized and inadequately served.

Five Essential Components

HealthConnect One programs rely on five essential components:

  1. Employ women who are trusted members of the target community
  2. Extend and intensify the peer support role from early pregnancy into the postpartum period
  3. Collaborate with community stakeholders and institutions, using a diverse team approach
  4. Facilitate experiential learning using popular education techniques and the HC One training curriculum
  5. Value the community health worker’s role

While we provide a wide range of coaching, training, technical assistance, and program development to our partners in the field of maternal and child health, we are best known for the following:

Community-Based Doula Home Visiting

HealthConnect One’s Community-Based Doula Program is the only home visiting program with a commitment to support birthing families prenatally, during labor and postpartum.

Community-based doulas provide culturally sensitive pregnancy and childbirth education, early linkage to health care and other services; labor coaching, breast- feeding promotion and counseling, and parenting education, while encouraging parental attachment.  The peer-to-peer relationship and the continuity of care knit a fabric of support around the family, which has broad and deep impact on a variety of outcomes.

You can read more about HealthConnect One’s Community-Based Doula Pro- gram Model in the 2018 Home Visiting Yearbook, published by the National Home

Breastfeeding Peer Counseling

HealthConnect One trains Lactation/Breastfeeding Peer Counselors and develops Lactation/Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Programs embedded in clinics, health centers, community organizations and national agencies, leading to rapid and dramatic increases in breastfeeding rates.

A Lactation/Breastfeeding Peer Counselor is a woman who had a successful breastfeeding/lactation experience and is interested in supporting other women in her community to nurse their babies.  She offers culturally appropriate support and information, identifies breastfeeding/lactation challenges, and provides strategies to help women achieve their infant feeding goals.

Birth Equity Leadership Academy

HealthConnect One launched the Birth Equity Leadership Academy (BELA)TM in 2017 to address the persistent lack of equity surrounding birth in our country.  The first cohort grew to include 159 people from 27 states plus Washington, D.C.  and Puerto Rico.

Based on 30-plus years of collaboration with birth workers, allies and innovators around the country, our Birth Equity Leadership Academy:

Provides mentorship, leadership development, and learning opportunities for a diverse cohort of more than 150 trailblazers working in their own communities to achieve equitable support for birthing families

Convenes regional gatherings which are open to all, to share skills, strategy, research and support on the road to birth equity

Offers a series of public webinars focused on skill-building for people and organizations committed to equity in pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and early parenting

Advocacy

Do you need a partner to assist in policy development or mobilization of the perinatal community? HealthConnect One drafts policy reports including the Perinatal Revolution (2014), and most recently Creating Policy for Equitable Doula Access (2019).

HealthConnect One’s Every Baby Our Baby Network is a movement of CHWs, doulas and lactation specialists, skilled in peer-to-peer learning, who can speak with the voice of experience on the need for these services in marginalized communities.

Coaching

Are you a front-line manager, medical provider, community organizer, or agency administrator concerned about maternal and early childhood health? Do you have questions about how to boost the efficacy of your programs in any of our areas or expertise?

Let us know your problem and we’ll be happy to offer suggestions. Our expert coaching team members all started as community residents, gaining expertise over the years. Get in touch via our contact page or call 312-243-4772.