‘Meet the Doulas’ publication available for community, professionals

Earlier this spring, 23 area residents underwent training to become Michigan Department of Health & Human Services certified doulas, through a program coordinated by the Great Start Collaborative and Parent Coalition of Charlevoix, Emmet and Northern Antrim Counties. Now, the community can access these doulas, learn about their training, and contact them for services through a new publication put together by the collaborative: “Meet the Doulas.”

Doulas are birthworkers who assist pregnant individuals throughout their pregnancy and during birth. In January, the state of Michigan began covering doula services, increasing the need for these services, according to Savanah Cool, Director of the Great Start Collaborative.

Anticipating the need, Cool brought DONA International trainer Jessica English to the area in May, when the group of trainees learned the skills to become doulas over a four-day period. They are now DONA International trained birth doulas and are actively working to establish their placement on the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services Doula Registry, and to become approved providers with each of the Medicaid health plans. They also participated in add-on training components, such as Supporting Survivors, led by the Women’s Resource Center, Orientation to Community Resources, led by the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, and Working with 2SLGBTQIA+ Parents and Families, led by Planned Parenthood of Michigan. 

Once the doulas completed the training, the next step was to create a way for the community and referring professionals, such as health care providers and family support providers, to easily access and contact them, Cool said. The new guide includes an introduction to the doulas, and shares a little about what called them to birthwork. Their coverage area of service and contact information are also included, allowing community members to reach out directly to inquire about services or schedule a meet and greet.

Access the “Meet the Doulas” publication on the Great Start website: https://greatstartcollaborative.org/projects 

What is a doula?

Doulas are trained birthworkers who provide non-clinical emotional, physical, and informational support to pregnant people and their families before, during and after birth. A doula is a birth professional whose goal is to help families have a safe, healthy, and positive birth experience. 

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