By Sharon Muza, BS, CD(DONA), BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE
DONA International recognizes that when working in the birth room or with a postpartum family, doulas help clients find their voice and increase their own self-advocacy skills. That does not mean that we feel the advocacy role is not important. DONA International feels very strong that as an organization, improving maternal-child health is a key component to improving outcomes during the childbearing year. We also believe that advocacy work on the topics of the doula role, increasing doula access, maintaining our professionalism and training options and so much more is critical to support as a leader in the field of labor and postpartum support.
DONA International has long been recognized as the gold standard of doula organizations for its longevity and clear Scope of Practice and Code of Ethics that have stood the test of time. DONA is regularly invited to participate in collaborative efforts and events with other professional organizations also focused on improving birth and postpartum outcomes. We have heard our members speak out in our 2016 member survey and let us know that they want to see DONA International increase their advocacy efforts. DONA leadership totally agrees and is pleased to announce a newly formed Advocacy Committee that is committed to supporting creative solutions that provide sustainability for doulas and access to doula care for all families, including economically vulnerable families.
The application period for the new Advocacy Committee chairperson has closed and the appointment is being finalized. It should be announced shortly. Under this important leadership position, there are currently six subcommittees that need both chairpersons and committee members.
- Health Disparities
- Insurance Payment
- Doula Profession Promotion
- Doula Profession Credibility
- Legislative Action
- Research and Data Collection
You can learn more about the broad scope of the overall Advocacy group and each subcommittee on our new Advocacy page. DONA International is actively recruiting for subcommittee chairs and committee members who are interested in leaning in to help our organization to improve maternal-child health outcomes in many different ways on an international level. Is there a special area that you would love to participate in? Do you have a desire to take on a leadership role? Have you some ideas and connections that would be helpful as we pursue our advocacy goals? Are you simply ready to join other DONA doulas to improve the lives of families? If you can answer yes to any or all of the above questions, please consider shooting the advocacy chair an email, so we can get in touch with you as we move forward with next steps.
Led by the nascent Advocacy Committee, DONA International has joined forces with March for Moms as a partner and participant in the efforts of the March for Moms mission which is dedicated to addressing means that will improve the health of childbearing families. The March for Moms vision is to assure that every person receives comprehensive care in pregnancy and early parenting to foster healthy, stable families. March for Moms has many activities planned for Mother’s Day weekend:
- Friday, May 12th: Join dozens of others as we hit the Hill on Friday and speak to policymakers about the essential need for significant focus and funding on maternal health issues. Sign-up Here
- Saturday, May 13th: Enjoy the sights and sounds of this incredible historic city.
- Sunday, May 14th: The Mother’s Day Rally happens from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm at the Jefferson Memorial (detailed agenda and speaker list)
It is not too late to volunteer your time and energy at one or several of the March for Moms activities this weekend. You can sign up to volunteer now for the many events and lobbying efforts taking place. If you are planning on attending the Sunday event, look for the DONA International banner and signs to connect with other doulas and board leadership.
You can also listen to certified DONA doula and DONA Board member Denise Bolds‘ just released podcast “Awake in Birth with March For Moms May 2017, Washington, D.C” to speak with DONA board members Melissa Harley, Director of Marketing/Public Relations and Ravae Sinclair, Intercultural Director about DONA’s partnership with March for Moms to learn more about DONA’s organizational role and the issues. Interim Advocacy Chair Ana Paula Markel (DONA President Elect) is also featured.
DONA International needs your support, time, efforts and energy to effectively advocate for families during the childbearing year. There are many ways that you can help and we hope that you will consider letting the Advocacy Chair know that you are ready and willing to contribute in any way you can. Your contribution matters! Email now and let us know how you are ready to help.