Providing compassionate support to birthing persons of color, regardless of financial barriers

Our Services

Late Pregnancy

  • Guidance on creating a birth plan
  • Helping you prepare your body for a healthy and safe delivery 

Labor & Birth

  • Evidence-based mental, emotional, and physical support as to assist you during labor & delivery
  • Serving as your advocate during the birthing process

Breastfeeding & Postpartum

  • Supporting you through the the transition home with your new addition
  • Connecting you with lactation and post-partum resources in the area

Doula support is a safe and cost-effective intervention to improve birth outcomes.

A doula is a companion who provides support during pregnancy, labor, birth, and early postpartum.  A doula is formally trained in compassionate care but is not a medical professional and does NOT take the place of a doctor.

Doula services have been shown to positively impact the social determinants of health, support birth equity, and decrease existing health and racial disparities. 

 

Executive Team

Catrina Rule

Chair

Hillery Ross

Administrative Coordinator

Kimberley Sims

Doula Coordinator

Jamie Hekker

Secretary

Allison Keessen

Treasurer

Kanisha Davis

Family Representative

About Us

Our initiative grew out of a Early Childhood Racial Equity Leaders Cohort formed in 2021 by the Great Start Coalition Collaborative of Muskegon County.

Through discussions about health disparities and infant mortality rates for babies of color, and with support from various local organizations and nonprofits, a group of women leaders in Muskegon formed the How YOU Birth Doula initiative.

In May 2023, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund awarded the How YOU Birth Doula Initiative a grant of $197,567.

Other significant contributors to this project include the Trinity Health Community Benefit Board Initiative, the Great Start Collaborative at the MAISD, the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, the United Way of Lakeshore, and the Muskegon Health Equity Council, with Access Health serving as the nonprofit fiduciary.

We are working to build up the community doula workforce with  free training, ongoing education, startup materials, administrative backing, and referrals for a growing number of doulas.

Vision & Goals

We are leveraging Michigan’s recent Medicaid coverage for doula services to expand access in Muskegon County, thereby reducing health disparities, particularly for women of color.

To date, the How YOU Birth Doula initiative has: 

  • Recruited and trained 11 birth doulas 
  • Recruited and trained 17 postpartum doulas
  • Recorded 14 doula-assisted births

In Muskegon County . . .

49% of Black births have had less than adequate prenatal care

The infant mortality rate is 4 times higher for children of color than it is for white children

Contact Us

You can also call us at 231-769-0314