Black Mothers' Breastfeeding Association Receives Grant to Help Reduce Preterm Births in Detroit

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The award received from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund will support Black Mothers' Breastfeeding Association's progress towards accreditation of their community-based doula program.

“I am forever grateful for the Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association. They have given my daughter the best start possible. This resource is priceless and an asset to the greater Detroit community.”

Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA) has received a $39,600 grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. The funds are allocated to develop, implement, and support the pre-application process for HealthConnect One’s (HC One) Community-based Doula Accreditation Program (CBDAP). The CBDAP process is designed to help organizations systematically approach accreditation. The goal of the project is to build greater fidelity to the HC One’s evidence-based community-based doula model; therefore, improving quality of service and outcomes for program participants receiving BMBFA’s doula services in Detroit. This is a unique, innovative program model that provides extended, intensive support to families throughout pregnancy, during labor and childbirth, and in the early months of parenting in communities that face high risks of negative birth and developmental outcomes. Accreditation will build, extend and strengthen Detroit’s workforce capacity for community-based doulas by adhering to standards for high-quality doula care. The funding period runs from August 1, 2016 to July 31, 2017.

BMBFA’s community approach to breastfeeding support has been deemed innovative due to its explicit focus on narrowing the racial disparity gap that exists in breastfeeding and infant mortality rates.

Naomi, a BMBFA doula participant, states, “I am forever grateful for the Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association. They have given my daughter the best start possible. This resource is priceless and an asset to the greater Detroit community.” The Reproductive Injustice report, published by SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and the Center for Reproductive Rights reports that “only 6% of prenatal women have benefited from doula care services. Of the more than 300 black women surveyed in the report, 39% report that they would have liked to have doula care. However, even when doula care services are attainable for the woman, often times the cost to cover doula services is unachievable.”

“HealthConnect One is delighted to celebrate the awarding of a significant grant to Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. The award supports the sustainability of BMBFA’s work in the community to impact the health and birth outcomes of black mothers and infants in Detroit. It is particularly significant that grant funds will help to support the expansion of BMBFA’s “Community-based Doula Accreditation Program,” as it will bring women in their community high quality and sustainable prenatal, birthing and postpartum education, awareness and support. We highly value BMBFA’s work, and believe it has the potential to achieve significant, long-term impact,” states Rachel Abramson, executive director for HealthConnect One.

“We’re excited to support the Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association’s efforts to reduce racial disparities in breastfeeding success,” said Laurie Solotorow, senior program officer for the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. “The Community-based Doula Accreditation Program will help ensure proper pre- and post-natal care for pregnant women, mothers, and babies in Detroit. For these families, the benefits will last a lifetime.” Not only do the benefits help families, according to “The Perinatal Revolution,” published by HealthConnect One, “higher breastfeeding rates lead to both short and long term cost savings for both mother and baby, saving $13 billion in pediatric costs and $18.3 billion in maternal health costs annually. It is clear that doula care will have long-lasting benefits for families, communities and the economy.

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Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA) is a non-profit organization. Its mission is to reduce racial inequities in breastfeeding support for African Americans by building foundational networks of support and strengthening systems to overcome historical, societal and social barriers to breastfeeding success. BMBFA's programs include Black Mothers' Breastfeeding Club, community-based doula services and community-based breastfeeding peer counselor services. For more information, visit http://www.BMBFA.org.

“The Michigan Health Endowment (MHEF) Fund was created through passage of Public Act 4 of 2013. The MHEF’s mission is to improve the health of Michigan residents and reduce the cost of health care with special emphasis on the health and wellness of children and seniors. The goal of the Fund is to have a significant and measurable impact on improving the health of Michigan residents.” For more information, visit http://www.healthendowmentfund.org.

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Stacy Davis
Black Mothers' Breastfeeding Association
since: 12/2009
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