Doulas as Community Health Workers: Lessons Learned from a Volunteer Program
Abstract:Doulas, women who primarily provide social support during childbirth, have been associated with a number of positive health outcomes. Because the primary model of practice for doulas is a fee-for-service model in which families privately hire a doula, many expectant women who could benefit from doula support are unable to access the service. The Doulas Care program, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, represents one model in which doulas provide services without charge. As a result of their extended role in the community, doulas who work with the Doulas Care program have unique educational needs. Through the use of focus groups with the program's volunteer doulas, educational needs related to overcoming barriers to being a doula working in the community were identified. Recommendations for education and training are made to improve the support doulas offer as community health outreach workers.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: June 1, 2006
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- The Journal of Perinatal Education is the official journal of Lamaze International, whose mission is to promote, support, and protect natural, safe, and healthy birth through education and advocacy. The journal publishes peer-reviewed articles and evidence-based, practical resources that childbirth educators and other health care professionals can use to enhance the quality and effectiveness of their care or teaching to prepare expectant parents for birth.
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