President Biden Now Is the Time To Invest In The Health Care of All Mothers

PRESS CONTACT: Kristian Ramos,

Chicago – To commemorate the inauguration of President Joe Biden, HealthConnect One Executive Director Dr. Twylla Dillion released the following statement: 

“Our nation is not perfect; it is “unfinished,” as Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman beautifully described in her poem, stating that “catastrophe cannot prevail over us.” The centering of youth in today’s inauguration helped drive home the hope of America. I am joyful at the prospect that this centering will remain during this President Biden’s term and beyond if we are to see the changes necessary for birth equity.

President Joe Biden has pledged to build our country back better than before, to heal the bitter divides that have rocked our country over the past four years. To achieve both of these goals, the President must invest in building stronger communities by investing in mothers. 

To see Vice President Kamala Harris sworn in had a personal resonance with me as a child of Jamaican immigrants raised by a single mother. To see her enter this role as the first Black, Asian, and woman VP is incredibly inspirational and crucial for our nation’s healing. As HealthConnect One’s  leader, I am hopeful that the Momnibus Act that she sponsored as a senator passes in this new administration.

HealthConnect One is working to rebuild community health by partnering and collaborating with Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities that experience the greatest inequity in the current health care system to create a stronger country. 

As our country grapples with pandemic-related challenges and the movement toward racial and social justice, the time is now to support and advance outcomes that build healthy communities.  

Together, we can rebuild a system that supports healthy communities today and for future generations.  Through advocacy, coaching, training, technical assistance, and program development services, we are improving maternal-child health outcomes and rebuilding healthy communities. We look forward to working with President Biden and his administration on the critical work ahead.” 

HealthConnect One is the national leader in advancing equitable, community-based, peer-to-peer support for pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and early parenting. HealthConnect One is committed to collaborating with Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities to ensure safe and healthy pregnancies and births, thriving babies and families, and successful early parenting and nutrition.


Protect Democracy for Moms, Babies and Families

Shirley Chilsom once said, “unless we start to fight and defeat the enemies in our own country, poverty, and racism, and make our talk of equality and opportunity ring true, we are exposed in the eyes of the world as hypocrites when we talk about making people free.”

All these years later, America is still combating poverty, racism, and we are still fighting for decency.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the insurrection that took place in our nation’s capital over the certification of our election results. Make no mistake, the world watched the chaos in the capital.

This assault on our democracy is sending the wrong message.  

We should be celebrating the election of Rev. Raphael Gamaliel Warnock for his historic win, becoming the first Black senator from Georgia. 

We should be congratulating US Senator-elect Jon Ossoff on his election. 

Both Warnock and Ossoff support the Affordable Care Act, which is critical to healthy births in the Black, Brown and Indigenous communities where HealthConnect One co-develops programs with community members and organizations. Both Warnock and Ossoff uphold women’s rights, particularly their pro-choice position aligns with our position on bodily autonomy at HealthConnect One. 

Despite the violence that took place in D.C., I encourage those of us who are intent on improving the lives and health of Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities to be proud of what we can accomplish when we work collectively. We should be invigorated and bolder than ever before to work for what is just and right in a nation where freedom is considered a central tenet.


Dr. Twylla Dillion
Executive Director

Let’s End 2020 Strong! Support Moms and Babies

Dear Friends,

The pandemic continues, and Black, Brown and Indigenous moms, babies and families continue to be impacted at disproportionate levels. COVID-19 has amplified existing racial injustices, health care inequities and trauma in these communities.

Now is the time to invest in Black, Brown and Indigenous communities. Join the heroes who have emerged and are making a difference. People just like you who are committed to racial equity during a national health crisis. People who are committed to hope.

As we talk to birth workers and moms across the country, they speak of their need for support, information, and resources, but they also talk about hope. Tenesha, a birth worker in Georgia, shared:

Moms who attend our virtual baby café vent about the stressors of COVID-19 while trying to maintain their milk supplies and safe pregnancy and their mental states. I’m hopeful that another family has a safe and COVID-19 free pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding experience, all while keeping their mental sanity and everyday life safe.

Help us birth hope for moms, babies and families in communities devastated by COVID-19 by donating to HealthConnect One today! Your generous donation helps balance the scales for birthing Black, Brown and Indigenous families and the birth workers supporting them.

Donate today, by mail or online at, and check out our 2020 Annual Report while you are there!

Let’s end 2020 strong! Together, we continue to birth healthier communities during this turbulent time.


Dr. Twylla Dillion,

Executive Director

P.S. Donate now! Turn your commitment to moms, babies and families into action! Your gift provides programs that save the lives of Black, Brown and Indigenous moms and babies, and the need is urgent!

HealthConnect One Praises Selection Of Xavier Becerra For HHS Secretary


PRESS CONTACT: Kristian Ramos,

Washington D.C. –  President-elect Joe Biden has selected Xavier Becerra, the attorney general of California, as his nominee for secretary of health and human services, tapping a former congressman who would be the first Latino to run the department as it battles the coronavirus pandemic. 

In response to this appointment Twylla Dillon, Executive Director of HealthConnect One released the following statement:

“HealthConnect One praises the selection of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as the next Secretary of Health and Human Services. Becerra has long been a champion of women’s reproductive rights. At a time in which maternal health is facing unparalleled challenges, we need strong leadership from HHS. Our communities are already facing record-high maternal mortality rates, COVID -19 is spreading our health care system to the brink. We look forward to working with President-elect Biden and his choice for HHS Secretary to help mothers build stronger, healthier communities.”

HealthConnect One is the national leader in advancing equitable, community-based, peer-to-peer support for pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and early parenting. Our vision is to see every baby, mother, and family thrive in a healthy community. We work to achieve this vision through an equity-focused approach supporting the first 1000 days for birthing families.


5 Voting Resources To Flex Your Voting Power

Dear friends, 

Elections are underway across the nation. The results of the elections will have a long-reaching impact on our nation’s healthcare systems and on the health of Black, Brown, and Indigenous families. 

WHAT’S ON THE BALLOT-> Find out here where the Presidential candidates stand on the healthcare policies that impact maternal health and the welfare of birthing families. 

FIND YOUR POLLING LOCATION> Find answers to questions about your state here- such as polling locations, in-person registration, and other local questions.

VOTER ID-> Two-thirds of states expect you to provide identification to let you vote at the polls. Find out about your state’s voter ID laws here.

FIRST TIME VOTER? -> This video can help you prepare to vote, and here’s a handy checklist with everything you need to cast your vote. 

WHATS ON THE BALLOT? -> In addition to the Presidential candidates, there are various candidates and issues on the ballot that will impact how decisions are made for our birthing families. Find out more here.

Thank you for lending your voice and advocacy in support of birthing families!

The HealthConnect One Team 

Thank you for watching with us this week

Whether you are an advocate for change for birthing families, community-based doula, peer counselor or other community health worker, in Congress advocating for Black maternal health, a colleague working to change systems and policies,– or just learning about the issue of birth equity — we thank you for viewing our content this week!

Together we are strong and birthing a world that supports all moms, babies, and families.

Thank you, Birth Equity Leaders! All the leaders and faculty of BELA are impacting their communities in important ways especially during COVID-19.

Thank you, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood! As the Irving Harris Legacy Award honoree, you are a leader in the field of policy for Black maternal health, working to find solutions to improve birth outcomes for Black mothers.

We hope you will continue to support these fierce leaders who are needed even more by moms and birthing families during this difficult time.

Lastly, HealthConnect One is more relevant than ever as we continue to work for birth equity and change the conversation around pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and early parenting. It is with your support that together we can move closer to realizing birth equity for every birthing person across our country.

We welcome your feedback and thoughts on the next move forward to support families and treat every baby, as our baby.

Best wishes,

HealthConnect One


We’re also grateful to sponsors of our virtual Every Baby Our Baby this year: Gold sponsors the Irving Harris Foundation and Perigee Fund; Silver sponsor, Navistar, and Copper sponsors, Mairita Smiltars, Gordon Mayer Communications, and Graceful Fusion Birth Doula Trainings.

Our work to support and train community-based doulas, peer counselors and other community health workers continues. We appreciate you for being here. If you are able to support this work at any level, you can contribute here.

Thank you!

Support our work


Irving Harris Advocacy Award: U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood (IL-14)

“The disparity in maternal health is] a crisis that has demanded action for decades and is now getting the attention it deserves,” –U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14)  quoted by the Wilson Center


The Irving Harris Legacy Award is given to individuals and organizations making an impact on maternal health and birth equity. Though our organization serves communities across the U.S., we did not have to look far from our Chicago home base to find a leader who well deserves this recognition.

This year, Congresswoman Underwood, D- Ill, led 62 members of the House of Representatives in a bipartisan letter urging the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that the U.S. is taking steps to understand the unique risks and complications of COVID-19 in pregnant women.

In March, alongside Senator Kamala Harris, D-Cal, and her Black Maternal Health Caucus co-chair Congresswoman Alma Adams, D-NC, Underwood helped introduce the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2020. The Act will fill gaps in existing legislation to comprehensively address every dimension of the black maternal health crisis in the nation.

The Black Maternal Health Caucus is one of the largest bipartisan caucuses in Congress, with more than 100 members. It is organized around the goals of elevating the Black maternal health crisis within Congress and advancing policy solutions to improve maternal health outcomes and end disparities.

“It’s both alarming and unacceptable that maternal mortality rates continue to rise in the United States, and the situation is even worse for Black women, who are three to four times more likely to die. This issue affects too many women and families and will take a comprehensive approach to end disparities,” said Congresswoman Underwood.

“I would like to thank HealthConnect One for honoring me with the Irving Harris Legacy Award, a humbling reminder of the critical urgency of the work address of us to address our nation’s maternal health crisis,” Rep. Underwood shared. “I am grateful for HealthConnect One’s partnership with the Black Maternal Health Caucus that I co-chair, working with us to advance the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act and other policies to improve outcomes and save lives.”

HealthConnect One is grateful to Congresswoman Underwood, a true champion, for her leadership in improving the lives of moms, birthing families, and babies.


day 2 promo of EBOB event to intro CHW AwardEvery Baby Our Baby 2020

We’re also grateful to sponsors of our virtual Every Baby Our Baby this year: Gold sponsors the Irving Harris Foundation and Perigee Fund; Silver sponsor, Navistar, and Copper sponsors, Mairita Smiltars, Gordon Mayer Communications, and Graceful Fusion Birth Doula Trainings.

Our work to support and train community-based doulas, peer counselors and other community health workers continues. We appreciate you for being here. If you are able to support this work at any level, you can contribute here.

Thank you! Support our work


Inspiring birth work during COVID-19 by BELA Leaders

Every Baby Our Baby has been the focus of HealthConnect One’s annual fundraising event for several years. This year we are going virtual with the event and one reason is to hold up the inspiring examples of work by Birth Equity Leadership Academy leaders. They exemplify and help power a growing movement for birth equity.

Here are a few examples of BELA leaders’ public contributions during COVID-19 from the past few weeks:

Cassie Calderone, Chicago, IL 
BELA leader and birth/postpartum doula Cassie Calderone returned to work from her own maternity leave in late March, just a week after the city’s shelter-in-place order went into effect. She was featured in the Chicago Reader’s article A Push for More Options. 

Nicole Marie White, Detroit, MI 
BELA leader and doula Nicole Marie White was a featured guest on the Good Birth for All podcast discussing safety and rights in the current moment with Elephant Circle co-founder Indra Lusero May 15. More about Nicole is on her organization’s website.

Jacqueline Lambert, Indianola, MS
BELA leader and WIC peer counselor Jacqueline Lambert’s organization The Baby Cafe was featured on in a segment called Local Organization Helping Moms During Pandemic. The organization has now gone virtual and is helping moms and their families through their healthy pregnancy program.

Quatia Osorio, Providence, RI 
BELA leader and doula Quatia Osorio was featured in a Providence Journal article, Women & Infants Hospital makes room for doulas’ helping hands, hearts. Osorio, who was in the hospital for the birth of client Bria Haynes’ daughter, shared how important support people are during birth. You can read more about her journey to be a doula on her organization’s site.

To-Wen Tseng, San Diego, CA 
BELA leader and free-lance writer To-Wen Tseng shared her “Quick COVID-19 Guide for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Mothers” on her own blog, I’d Rather Be Breastfeeding. Tseng, based in San Diego, is the writer who became a breastfeeding advocate and whose own story we shared on our website last year. Read To-wen’s story on our site.

We will continue to share examples of BELA leaders’ public contributions during COVID-19 as they come in. In the meantime, we hope you will join us in celebrating our BELA leaders and faculty who are on the frontlines supporting moms, babies, and families. Learn more…

ASI webinar logo

Gratis! Seminario web 6/26 – Apoyando a Familias Durante COVID-19 y Emergencias

A medida que continuamos navegando con COVID-19 (Corona Virus), nuestras familias y comunidades durante el embarazo y despues aún necesitan apoyo. El seminario web estará dirigido por Alimentación Segura Infantil (ASI) en Puerto Rico (PR). Compartirán su enfoque para apoyar a las familias durante emergencias y durante esta pandemia de salud pública.

ASI continúa apoyando a las familias de manera efectiva durante estos tiempos difíciles y centra un enfoque de líderes comunitarios. ASI ha estado brindando apoyo entre líderes de confianza y arraigado en la comunidad durante más de 2 años y medio. Se enfocan en apoyar a las familias desde el nacimiento hasta el posparto. ASI también compartirá en este seminario web su aprendizaje de la preparación para emergencias y cómo continuar apoyando a las familias de manera efectiva durante estos tiempos difíciles.

Espacio limitado, regístrese hoy

ASI es una organización sin fines de lucro que trabaja para la alimentación segura de infantes y niñxs pequeñxs. También tienen como meta capacitar a líderes comunitarixs como especialistas en lactancia y alimentación segura. ASI se enfoca en la capacitación de los miembros de la comunidad para convertirse en especialistas en lactancia y alimentación infantil durante emergencias y tiempos de estabilidad. ASI es un líder nacional en equidad alimentaria en lactancia, se organizan para cuestiones de equidad de embarazo, parto y posparto en PR y brindan servicio directo a las familias.

Este seminario web discutirá lo siguiente:

La importancia de la continuidad del apoyo de consejeras de lactancia de confianza en la comunidad durante una pandemia y emergencias

Importancia del apoyo basado en la comunidad para familias durante el embarazo, parto, posparto y la lactancia

Impacto de COVID-19 y situaciones de emergencia en las familias embarazadas, parto, y lactancia

Inspirado para y por líderes de color y Latinx

Espacio limitado, regístrese hoy

New webinar: 6/25 – Supporting Families During COVID-19 and Emergencies

As we continue to navigate COVID-19 our birthing families and communities still need support. The webinar will be led by Alimentación Segura Infantil (ASI) in Puerto Rico (PR). They will share their approach to supporting families during emergencies and this public health pandemic. ASI continues to support families effectively in PR during these challenging times and centers a grassroots peer-to-peer approach.

ASI has been providing peer support that is trusted and rooted in the community for over 2 ½ years. They focus on supporting families from birth through the postpartum period. ASI will also share in this webinar their learning from emergency preparedness and how to continue to support families effectively during these challenging times.

Space is limited, register today! 

ASI is a nonprofit organization that works for food security for infants and young children, addressing the systemic barriers which affect equitable access before, during, and after emergency situations. We focus on training community members to become specialists in lactation and infant feeding during emergencies and times of stability. ASI is a national leader in first food equity, they organize for birth equity issues in PR and provide direct service to families.

This webinar will discuss the following:

Importance of continuity of support from trusted peers in the community during pandemic and emergencies

Importance of community-rooted based support for birthing parents and lactating parents

Impact of COVID-19 and emergency situations on lactation and birthing families

Inspiration for and by Leaders of Color and Latinx

Space is limited, register today!