Doula Care in Minnesota

This is part of series of posts by recipients of the 2020 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Stephanie Acquaye, NUR ’21

This summer, our nation was forced to open our eyes to some of the greatest challenges we have faced in decades. As I wrestled to process the events of the summer, I also strove to spread hope, love, and support to my family, friends, and the communities around us. One way in which I was able to do this was by working to provide administrative support as an intern at Everyday Miracles, a doula organization in Minneapolis, Minnesota which provides education, physical resources, and doulas to expectant parents.

I have a passion for women’s health and am amazed by the changes the body undergoes during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. As a volunteer doula in Philly, I support expectant parents and their families through a process that can be as challenging as it is beautiful. Although doulas are not medical professionals, doulas do provide informational, emotional, and physical support during pregnancy and birth, and studies have shown this support to have a marked positive impact on the health of mothers and infants. Though doula care is increasingly utilized, Pennsylvania is not currently a state in which doula services are covered under Medicaid, and so the system of doula care I had observed until this summer was one in which families from lower socioeconomic backgrounds could only access doula care if and when doulas were able to offer discounted or sliding-scale services.

In my home state of Minnesota, the system is different. Through my work as an administrative intern, I learned how Everyday Miracles utilizes the provisions of the Minnesota Doula Bill, a bill which allows for reimbursement for doula services from certified doulas, to expand doula care to families of all socioeconomic backgrounds. The organization also works with insurance companies to provide car seats, breast pumps, and parent education classes to families in the area. Among other things, I helped match expectant parents with doulas, completed follow up calls and emails during the process, and compiled a local resource list for families in the area. In working with this impactful non-profit this summer, I was able to observe and contribute to a sustainable model of doula care first-hand, and I also learned about some of the challenges such an organization faces.

With the timing of this internship, I was given a front seat to watch, learn from, and support the efforts of this community-based organization in working to ensure parents are still supported and able to receive education and wellness services during such a large-scale health crisis. I was amazed by the efficiency and impact of such a small yet dedicated team of individuals, and inspired by the speed at which they adjusted to the demands of serving families in the midst of a pandemic.

Through this experience, I gained real-world knowledge of some ways in which health policy directly impacts healthcare access, grew in my knowledge and experience as a women’s health advocate and strengthened my passion to work to improve family and community health in my future career as a nurse. I am deeply grateful for Career Services support which allowed me to surmount financial barriers in order to pursue this opportunity.

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