I am writing to you from Washington D.C., where I have just wrapped up attending the DONA International Annual Trainers Retreat. This gathering was a chance for birth and postpartum trainers to meet, share and discuss workshop activities, learn, network and receive training updates from our Director of Education, Kyndal May.  One of the highlights of the retreat was a 4-hour session –  “Addressing Racism: The Work of Inclusion and Cultivating Connections Across our Differences”, with Guest Facilitators: Heather Thompson and Aimee Brill. There were more than 50 trainers in attendance at the retreat, as well as many of the Board of Directors, who, while not trainers, lead our organization with their energy and time every single day.

Immediately following the Trainers Retreat, the DONA Board of Directors and the Lamaze International Board of Directors shared a joint luncheon to discuss mutual business and then Lamaze International began their 2017 Advocacy Summit with Keynote Speakers Neel Shah, MD, MPP and Ginger Breedlove, CNM, Ph.D., FACNM talking about advocacy, consumers and childbirth educators.

Many DONA International Trainers and DONA Doulas joined Lamaze International to participate in advocacy efforts on the second day of the Summit, by meeting with their Senators and Representatives to discuss supporting legislation that improves outcomes for parents and babies.  DONA International wants to see improved maternal-infant health outcomes for all parents, not just our doula clients.  DONA International and their members are key players in advocacy efforts, including our recent sponsorship of March for Moms in May of 2017.

If you are interested in becoming involved in activities that pertain to advocacy with other DONA International members, start here with some more information from a previous post on this topic: DONA International Commits to Increased Advocacy Efforts to Improve Maternal-Child Health Outcomes and You Are Invited.

Here are some pictures from today’s events of DONA doulas advocating for families on Capitol Hill, in Washington D.C.

DONA Board and Dr. Neel Shah

Alice Turner, Kathleen Leathers, Sherri Wilkerson and Stefanie Kelly

Melissa Harley, Ana Paula Markel, HeatherGail Lovejoy










Annie Kennedy, Penny Simkin and Anni Grauer

LCCE Roberta Scott, Annie Kennedy, DONA Founder, Penny Simkin, DONA Founder, LCCE Sandra Bardsley

Idaho Senator Risch and Kyndal May

Melissa Harley, Cara Terreri and Robin Elise Weiss talking to Washington staffer.

Debra Pascali Bonaro

HeatherGail Lovejoy