The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation awarded $150,000 to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital (SJEH) to further the expansion of the Maternal Health Doula Services Program.
This program supports pre-and postnatal women in the Rockaways, providing access to a free professional doula who assists in childbirth. Doulas provide physical, emotional and informational support to mothers to achieve the most satisfying birth experience.
Dr. Jacqueline M. Marecheau, the chairperson of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at SJEH, said significant public health concerns in the U.S. regarding racial and ethnic disparities where Black mothers are three times more likely to die in childbirth.
“In Far Rockaway, these disparities exist at a much higher rate than in other areas of Queens and New York City,” Marecheau said. “Thanks to the MCHF, the women in this high acuity community have the needed access. It levels out the playing field to transform the social determinants of health in the Rockaways.”
The Doula Services Program was first launched as a pilot in July 2022 through a crowdfunding campaign led by the ICARE Foundation. The funding provided by Mother Cabrini Health Foundation will help expand upon this program to serve a greater number of women.
“To complement its statewide grant-making efforts and improve the health of underserved and vulnerable New Yorkers in a truly impactful way, this year the foundation is continuing its commitment to strategic, long-term grants to address key issues of health equity and access as they impact low-income and vulnerable populations,” said Kathryn Connerton, president and CEO of Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton and chair of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation’s Statewide Grants Committee overseeing strategic grants.
The grant will also provide education for hospital staff, including what the doula’s role is in the birth process.