- Massachusetts Health Policy Commission
Media Contact for HPC AWARDS $400,000 TO COMBAT RACIAL INEQUITIES IN MATERNAL HEALTH
Matthew Kitsos, Press Secretary
BOSTON — Today, the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) announced an investment of $390,381 to two birthing hospitals, Baystate Medical Center and Boston Medical Center, through the Birth Equity and Support through the Inclusion of Doula Expertise (BESIDE) investment program. The BESIDE Investment Program aims to address inequities in maternal health outcomes and improve the care and patient experience of Black birthing people by increasing access to and use of doula services.
“The HPC is proud to invest in doula care models that center the experiences of Black birthing people in health care settings before, during, and after delivery, to ensure their voices are heard and respected,” said David Seltz, HPC Executive Director. “We look forward to working with our awardees to launch their programs and help ensure their success.”
BESIDE Investment Program Awards
The two BESIDE awards, selected through a rigorous application and review process, will:
- Increase the number of Black birthing people who are informed about the benefits of doula care and offered the opportunity to work with doulas, particularly doulas who are from the communities (e.g., geographic, cultural) of, or share lived experience of inequities with Black birthing people.
- Improve the prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum care of Black birthing people through the support of doulas.
- Support the development of a culture of understanding and mutual respect between doulas and clinical and administrative staff within Massachusetts birthing hospitals and birth centers.
- Embed principles of racial equity and cultural humility in the design and implementation of programs offering doula services.
Baystate Medical Center
Award Amount: $193,457
Baystate Medical Center will build a new doula program for Black birthing people by contracting with Springfield Family Doulas. The program will support 30 birthing people over the course of two years and train three additional doulas. The program includes significant community outreach and communication to ensure community members are aware of the role and benefits of doulas. All obstetrics (OB) staff at Baystate are undergoing anti-racism and cultural humility trainings led by a local organization run by women of color. Some staff also participate in a Racial Disparities and Health Equity committee within the OBGYN department. The BESIDE team will also survey community organizations to better understand the needs of Black birthing people in the community.
Boston Medical Center
Award Amount: $196,924
Boston Medical Center proposes to build on their existing Birth Sisters doula program by expanding access to services for Black birthing people. The BESIDE program will fund services for 120 Black birthing people over two years supported by one doula in year one and two additional doulas in year two. Some BESIDE funding will be allocated to electronic health records (EHR) training for Birth Sisters to better support care integration. Birth Sisters staff will continue to participate in a Maternal and Child Equity Workgroup as well as a new advisory committee of Birth Sisters, former clients, and clinical staff.
In June 2021, the HPC issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for organizations to apply for funding through the BESIDE Investment Program. The HPC anticipates that programs will launch operations in winter 2022.
More information on the awardees’ initiatives, including proposed program designs and community organization partners, can be found on the HPC’s website.