Pursuant to Section 88 of Chapter 41 of the Acts of 2019, the HPC made $500,000 available to birthing hospitals and birth centers through the Birth Equity and Support through the Inclusion of Doula Expertise (BESIDE) Investment Program. To address existing racial inequities in maternal health outcomes, the HPC has chosen to focus on the evidenced-based model of community-supported birth, specifically through the provision of doula services for Black birthing people.
The BESIDE Investment Program aims to:
- 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.
BESIDE Investment Program Awards
On September 15, 2021, the HPC Board of Commissioners approved funds to be awarded to two Massachusetts hospitals to support their proposed BESIDE programs. Awardees and their funding amounts are:
Baystate Medical Center $193,457
Boston Medical Center $196,924