Session Descriptions by Track

Track A: Community Voice

A1. Informal Supports Strengthen The Community

Panelists: Shardaya Fuquay, M.Ed, Victoria Washington & Lena Smith 

Current approaches to addressing the problems families face when navigating complex service systems on behalf of their children rely largely on state or nationally driven efforts, however research shows that informal supports are key to standing in the gap. Our goal is to highlight the way that informal supports have personally impacted our birth stories, breastfeeding journeys and overall parenting experiences. 

Learning Objective(s):

  1. Name informal resources and supports and how are they different than formal/system resources and supports.
  2. State how informal resources and support strengthen and empower families.


A2. Protecting Our Sacred Bundles: The Intersection of Indigenous Birth Work and Doula Legislation

Panelists: Raeanne Madison, MPH, Mariah Eldridge, Lindsey McGahey, Bridie Johnson, LMSW CAADC, QMPH, Bethany Earl, RN, MSN, CNM, IM, IFSD, IBLC 

Community roundtable to discuss the multiple Indigenous perspectives on proposed doula legislation and the importance of protecting Indigenous birthing knowledge.

Learning Objective(s):

  1. Describe one benefit and one concern about the proposed doula legislation from an Indigenous perspective.


A3. The Importance of Getting Men Involved During Pregnancy

Waymond Hayes, Ph.D(c) 

This training consists of effective communication techniques, strategies for establishing and maintaining collaborative relationships with families and partners from the male perspective. Throughout this training, we will examine factors such as socioeconomic conditions, ethnicity, culture, and language as they influence the self-definition of parents and their goals for children.

Learning Objective(s):

  1. List strategies that build on family and community norms. 
  2. State ways to develop and engage in respectful, reciprocal relationships with families.
  3. Name ways to work with father/ father figures. 


A4. #LandBack Through Birthwork: Breastfeeding in Indigenous Communities 

Angie Sanchez, MBA

What is meant by #LandBack, and how does that relate to birthwork? We will discuss what led us to the position we as Indigenous people are in now, and how we are reclaiming all things that belong to our people, from food sovereignty to breastfeeding.

Learning Objective(s):

  1. Explain various ways in which Indigenous communities are reclaiming Indigenous ways of being. 


Track B: Policy and Advocacy

B1. Advancing Fiscal Sustainability for Community Based Doulas: Exploring Pathways & Mechanisms for Advocacy

Zainab Sulaiman, MSc & Twylla Dillion, Ph.D, MBA

This session will discuss the pathways to advance the fiscal sustainability of community-based doulas through Medicaid reimbursement and blended funding mechanisms such as strategies for advocacy within the doula reimbursement movement and exploring tools for advocacy rooted in community voices, needs, and experiences.

Learning Objective(s):

  1. Identify promising mechanisms for advancing the fiscal sustainability of community-based doulas.
  2. Recognize methods for collaboration with community leaders to promote advocacy agendas within birth equality.


B2. Going Beyond Birth Work to Advance Equitable & Just Policy for the Community Based Doula

Chanel Porchia-Albert, CLC, CFSD 

Going beyond birth work by laying down the framework for advancing legislative policy that is grounded in a community centered approach. 

Learning Objective(s):

  1. Demonstrate how community based doulas can use policy to advance reproductive health and the profession in order to provide sustainability. 


B3. Legislating Doula Care in the States to Improve Black Maternal and Infant Health Outcomes: A Conversation with State Legislators

Senator Erika Geiss, Representative Liana Cassar, Representative Julie von Haefen, Senator Becca Rausch,  Representative Pamela Stevenson, & Representative Attica Scott

Learn where the challenges and pitfalls are in our current health-policy framework (state and federal) and how we can change or work through/around those challenges to provide recognition of doulas as important members of the birthworker community and ensure that birthing people have affordable access to doulas. 

Learning Objective(s):

  1. Gain an understanding of how to create policies/legislation that improves access to doulas—especially for our most vulnerable communities of birthing people. 


Track C: Professional Development

C1. Andotaw: Seek and Hear the Indigenous Voices

Meredith Kennedy 

Come enhance your understanding about historical barriers to working with the Anishinaabe while learning resources to help you understand how to work with Anishinaabe families. Let’s explore Mino-Bimaadizwin, The Good Life, to strengthen understanding and improve experiences for our communities. 

Learning Objective(s):

  1. Define Indigenous peoples in Michigan and recognize the Three Fire Tribes, the Anishinaabe.
  2. Summarize three historical barriers when working with some Indigenous peoples – understand historical trauma via US policies that affect working with Indigenous families today.
  3. Recognize resources in your community to build Trust, Love and Respect.


C2. Doulas to the Rescue

Ashli Burney, CD/PCD & Robena Hill, CD 

Description coming soon…


C3. Labor Stages

Cassandra Mongala, B.S., M.S.

One of the main responsibilities of a Doula is to provide educational and physical support during labor. This presentation will help doulas identify the stages of labor as well as give the proper support techniques for each stage.

Learning Objective(s):

  1. Identify the stages of labor.
  2. Perform correct supporting methods for each stage of labor.


C4. “Questions That Need Answers: What Every Community-based Doula Needs to Know”

Cynthia Jackson, LM, CPM

Frequently asked questions for new community-based doulas to understand their role and how to effectively serve their community by improving their communication skills, knowledge check, cultural awareness, and knowing your community. 

Learning Objective(s):

  1. Identify new community-based doula challenges and how to overcome or work through them. 


C5. “Yoga Therapy for Moms-To- BE”

Elizabeth Crenshaw E-RYT 500, YACEP

The holistic focus of yoga therapy integrates the mind, body, and spirit and utilizes a wide range of therapeutic modalities focusing on the whole mom-to-be. Prepare for a more mindful approach to labor and birth, while finding focus through balance and the breath.

Learning Objective(s):

  1. Learn how to breathe deeply and effectively to support overall health and prepare for the challenge of birth. 
  2. Learn positive affirmations to use during pregnancy and labor. 
  3. Learn about bandhas or pelvic floor exercises called Kegels for expectant mothers and postpartum. 


Track D: Workforce Development

D1. “Building a Community-based Doula Program from Ideation to Impact”

Kiddada Green, MAT 

BMBFA’s community-based doulas provide a virtual and home-visiting service to support pregnant women and persons with maternal care during pregnancy, labor & birth, early postpartum care, breastfeeding, and newborn care.  This presentation highlights the impact community-based doulas have on maternal and child health outcomes. 

Learning Objective(s):

  1. Describe Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association’s community-based doula program.
  2. Explain the impact that community-based doula care has on breastfeeding initiation.
  3. State ways to center the experiences of Black families when designing a community-based doula program.


D2. “Healthcare Workforce Diversification”

Kiara Baskin, CD, CLC 

The Day One Doula Collective is a two-part, targeted strategy with the goal of closing the disparity gap and increasing the rate of babies born at a healthy birth weight (5.5lbs or more) in Kent County. Our presentation will highlight our progress implementing a community based doula program in West Michigan and our efforts in elevating the doula profession.

Learning Objective(s):

  1. Describe the impact of the community-based doula program model.
  2. Identify how the community based-doula program model addresses health equity.
  3. Identify ways to support community-based doula programming.


D3. “Reclaiming Birth: Equity and Sustainability in the Community Based Birth Space”

Erica Guthaus, CD 

In Kalamazoo County, Black and Brown babies are still 2.5 times more likely to die before their first birthday than their white counterparts. This staggering disparity continues to require an ever adaptive approach to close the gap. Our concept of Reclaiming Birth emphasizes how equitable access to maternal support during the childbearing year and client driven vs client centered care can have a drastic impact on maternal infant health outcomes, while still providing equitable compensation for birthworkers. 

Learning Objective(s):

  1. Differentiate client/patient centered care and client/patient driven care.
  2. Construct ideas on how to humanize equitable access in community based programs.
  3. Demonstrate understanding of how returning autonomy and power from the MIC to the birthing person is a significant missing piece in the improved outcome conversation.