Shared Voices for Equity in Birth and Breastfeeding


Last month, HealthConnect One hosted a National Action Summit to explore birth equity – and many other topics. We asked participants what stood out to them about this gathering:

“The real commitment to reflecting on and improving community based models of care was so refreshing and inspiring,” said Kayla Harvey Nasca. “How comfortable the group was,” offered another participant. “The women clearly felt comfortable sharing and being together. There was a palpable trust in the room that bought warmth to the learning.”

Summit-015We also asked about the experience of peer-to-peer learning, which is the core of every meeting, every training, and everything we do.

Kayla shared:

I learned a lot of ways that Bold City Doula Coalition can enhance and improve our community-based doula program. I gained insight as to what my peers and colleagues are dealing with their work and how I can better support them. I learned techniques to improve my own leadership skills in order to help my organization be more successful.

I think peer-to-peer learning is much more valuable than theoretical knowledge so this summit was an amazing educational opportunity for me and my organization.

Then she wrote a whole blog post on the value of Doula Unity!

Another participant told us:

I learned that community health workers heal themselves as they help women avoid what many of them experienced. I realized that the work is sacred not only because of what it does in the community, but because of the bonds that are built and the healing that happens within the women that do the work. I learned that it is the healing and the deep sisterhood in the work that propels women to push beyond the difficulties of the position.

It was the best learning because traditional power dynamics that are associated with learning are not present and/or openly discussed. There was an ability to be open and build trust and exchange not just words: histories, hopes, frustrations, and, positive energy.

It was a blessing to be in the space.

This is what happens when you hold space, raise questions, and wait. This. Right here.

Summit 2015 BabiesFor a glimpse of what others shared on social media during the Summit, go here.

And please – let us know what you think, too. Are you a community-based doula? A breastfeeding peer counselor? A supervisor? An ally? Are you stumbling upon us for the first time?

What burning question do you have about equity in birth and breastfeeding?

Contact us by email or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter. Whatever perspective you’re coming from, we’re listening.