The PA Doula Commission is pleased to announce its official launch as a nonprofit organization! The mission of The PA Doula Commission is to promote equitable access to doula services through workforce development for the doula profession while facilitating childbirth with dignity, improving perinatal health outcomes, and eliminating barriers by reducing healthcare disparities. The founding mothers of the Commission are Gerria Coffee, President; Aleta Heard, Vice President; Theresa Pettaway, Treasurer; and Lauren Pietrowski, Secretary.
The Commission is focused on five priorities for the next year, including fair reimbursement strategies for doulas, working on Pennsylvania state certification and standards development through the PA Certification Board, developing a provider type for Medicaid Reimbursement with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, furthering the recognition, promotion and protection of the doula profession, and establishing the PA Doula Commission Advisory Board.
The PA Doula Commission is the result of efforts by the statewide Doula and Perinatal Community Health Worker Advisory Group. The Women's Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal) and the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) convened the Advisory Group's 100+ members in April 2021 to create more equitable access to doulas and to develop a statewide infrastructure to support the work of doulas and perinatal community health workers across Pennsylvania. Within the Advisory Group, a Doula Alliance led by five doulas has gained consensus on definitions, core competencies, and standards to create a doula certification program in Pennsylvania and to reimburse and certify doulas. Uplifting doulas' work is a core component of JHF's strategy to address maternal health inequities, as doulas bridge the gap between birthing families and healthcare teams, especially for Black birthing families. This development builds on JHF and WHAMglobal's work to improve maternal health through management of the Pennsylvania Perinatal Quality Collaborative and participation in the Moving on Maternal Depression and Safer Childbirth Cities initiatives.