This year, because you believe in maternal and child health and support the work of HealthConnect One, we impacted 5,700 people across the nation through our Community- Based Doula Program and Breastfeeding Peer Counselor trainings.
Together we can improve maternal and infant outcomes, most importantly, reducing maternal and infant mortality rates. This means more birthing moms, individuals, and families in communities of color will get the gold-standard and quality support they need and, more importantly, deserve.
Everyone deserves a positive birth experience, and because you believe in our work, we are able to continue advocating for birth equity so that expectant parents have a positive experience of pregnancy, birth and the earliest moments of parenting.
HealthConnect One (HC One) launched the Birth Equity Leadership Academy (BELA) in the spring of 2017, to develop effective and authentic leadership on maternal and child health within communities that are often marginalized, and to amplify the voices of these leaders through a coordinated national network.
BELA is the first national network focused on birth equity.
After approximately 18 months of implementation, we have identified six key lessons learned:
- Community and connection break the isolation of individual birth workers
- Modeling, support and mentorship impact how individuals work with families and community
- Seed grants paired with mentorship launch innovative, expansive ideas
- Developing leadership in communities means supporting both professional and personal growth
- Focusing on equity requires a significant time investment
- Time, capacity and process are crucial elements of success
For details, please download the full brief here:
LESSONS FROM THE FIELD:
BUILDING A NATIONAL BIRTH EQUITY NETWORK
A vital part of BELA is the community projects initiative, which provides mini grants and technical support in order to increase capacity for serving vulnerable and marginalized communities around maternal and child health.
HealthConnect One is currently supporting community demonstration projects from BELA leaders across the country in the form of $80,000 in mini grants. The overarching goals of these mini grants are to foster collaboration, share learning, and support new or current work in underserved communities and communities of color.
For a summary of lessons learned in launching this mini grant funding strategy, please download the full brief here:
LESSONS FROM THE FIELD:
BUILDING A COMMUNITY ROOTED SMALL PROJECTS FUNDING STRATEGY
Community-based doulas have been increasingly recognized in recent years for improving health, reducing costs, and effectively addressing health disparities. However, their services have continued to be underfunded, which has plagued the ability to make them available on a broad scale.
In light of this potential to positively impact health and the existing barriers to sustainable funding, HealthConnect One (HC One) commissioned TRP Health Policy (TRP), a nationally recognized bipartisan policy firm, to research potential sustainable funding streams, policy opportunities, and strategies for sustaining community-based doula services.
This publication is a summary of that research, which focused on doulas but is also applicable to breastfeeding peer counselors, community health workers, and others working to improve maternal, infant, and family health outcomes.
In Chicago 30 years ago, the mission was straightforward: Encourage mothers to breast- feed. What we discovered was that mothers felt disconnected, with no one to rely on, no one who spoke their language, and no one who knew where they were coming from. That’s where HealthConnect One’s impact began.
HealthConnect One holds space for tough conversations surrounding birth and health equity. We hold space for change, for creativity, for innovation. We engage honestly, broadly, unapologetically, and we invite into the conversation those who are often unheard.
This year, our National Action Summit, “Shared Voices for Equity in Birth and Breastfeeding,” brought together over 100 women — community health workers from all over the country, including Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, Arizona, Oregon and Puerto Rico — for 3 days. They were community-based doulas, breastfeeding peer counselors, doctors, nurses, academics, and home visitors dedicated to advocating for healthy moms and healthy babies.