Occasionally, people visit our blog who have read about the effectiveness of community-based doula models and are researching how to create a program in their area.
If this describes you, please contact us for information or just to talk about what you’re considering. Open Arms has had a community-based doula program for years now and have learned a few things along the way, especially as we’ve built our Outreach Doula program with the White Center Early Learning Initiative, and we are happy to share that expertise with you to help your program get off the ground.
The Open Arms program is based on the Chicago HealthConnect One community-based doula model. To follow that model, there are several key steps that a program must adhere to:
- Employ women who are trusted members of the target community
- Extend and intensify the role of doula with families from early pregnancy through the first months postpartum.
- Collaborate with community stakeholders/institutions and use a diverse team approach
- Facilitate experiential learning using popular education techniques and the HealthConnect One training curriculum
- Value the doulas’ work with salary, supervision and support
Although there are other web pages and programs out there that describe how to start a community-based doula program, we strongly feel that this model provides an excellent foundation for this kind of program. There are reasons for each of these steps, and they have been proven to increase the effectiveness of the program. They also help a community-based program to be truly community-based … if you skip any of these steps, it’s easy to veer off course and provide a program that isn’t actually from the community it serves and therefore will have reduced effectiveness and simply won’t be as valuable to your clients.
Contact us by email or phone at 206-723-6868 and we’d be happy to talk with you.