HealthConnect One has promoted child and maternal health since 1986. HCO’s largest program, The Harris Doula Institute, replicates their community-based doula model across the country. A community-based doula is a trained indigenous community leader who mentors pregnant women during the months of pregnancy, birth and the immediate post-partum period, leading to an increase in positive birth and family success outcomes.
How we helped
For twelve years, MCFG worked with HealthConnect One (HC One) on policy advocacy to establish a federal funding stream for community-based doula programs in the United States. First Laura, and later, Laura and Mac worked with HC One to devise a national, grassroots advocacy strategy to build relationships with elected officials at the federal level to educate them about the important benefits of the community-based doula model. Laura and Mac also worked with HealthConnect One’s National Community-Based Doula and Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Network to cultivate advocacy champions (or, as we like to call them, Super Heroes), across the country. In addition to policy advocacy, McAlpine Consulting provided event and conference coordination services for HC One, led by Mairita Smiltars.
McAlpine Consulting for Growth has worked with HCO since August 2002, providing policy advocacy to establish federal funding for community-based doula programs in the United States. McAlpine Consulting provides direct advocacy services by connecting to and building relationships with elected officials at the federal level to educate them about the importance of the community-based doula model. In addition to direct advocacy, McAlpine Consulting for Growth guides the grassroots advocacy efforts of HCO’s national Community-based Doula Network, comprised of several hundred members from across the country.
The first-ever federal funding stream for community-based doula programs was signed into law by President Bush on December 26, 2007 as part of the omnibus appropriations bill. This bill, which included $1.536 million in funding available to community-based doula programs through a competitive grants process, marked the culmination of years of hard work, but also the beginning of a new phase.
HCO was recently named the Community-based Doula Leadership Institute and granted an award from the federal funding of $590,000 over 2 years to provide training and assistance to a cohort of six community-based doula programs. McAlpine Consulting will continue to direct the grassroots policy advocacy work to maintain and expand the federal funding stream.
Meeting Facilitation and Event Planning
In addition to policy advocacy, McAlpine Consulting for Growth also provides event and conference coordination for HCO. On February 26, 2008 in Washington D.C., HealthConnect One co-hosted a very successful legislative briefing with the office of Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-IL). Mairita Smiltars assisted HCO with the planning and event coordination for the Lobby Day, which included twenty participants from doula sites in five states and the District of Columbia.
Mairita Smiltars also provided conference coordination for Birth, Breastfeeding & Beyond, a national networking conference that provided a forum for stakeholders and practitioners to learn, discuss, and plan around community-based approaches to promoting the health of women, infants and their families.