Healthy Blue Partners with Doulas of Douglas County to Address Racial Disparities in Maternal and Infant Health

Doulas of Douglas County announces that Healthy Blue is a new sponsor and partner in expanding access to doula support and improving health outcomes for mothers of color and birthing parents. 

The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate among developed countries. Black women and birthing parents are more than three times more likely to die in childbirth than white women and birthing parents. Doula support can address these health inequities for at-risk individuals--low-income, rural, and communities of color. 

Doulas of Douglas County provides support during pregnancy, at birth and through the postpartum period. In addition to these services, families served by a doula can access support such as up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave (funded through a United Way Anti-Poverty grant) and a community closet with items such as breastfeeding supplies, pregnancy clothing and diapers.  

“Our goal is to ensure that women of color in our community have what they need to successfully parent their young children,” said Traci Dotson, Doulas of Douglas County program manager.   

Doulas of Douglas County recently launched a program with funding from the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund to develop a network of infant and toddler childcare centers for mothers and birthing parents returning to work after parental leave.  

“Our newborn babies are learning right after birth,” said Daneka Vann, Doulas of Douglas County education specialist. “I’m excited to join with mothers of color to get our babies off to the best possible start in life.  We are building a community working together to invest in our babies and ourselves as parents.”  

Healthy Blue provides Doulas of Douglas County with funding for: 

  • Free doula support for 50 birthing people
  • Office space for Doulas of Douglas County to host childbirth education classes, breastfeeding support and other community gatherings for families
  • Supplies for the Maternity, Birth and Wellness Community Closet

Healthy Blue is a collaboration of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) and Anthem Partnership Holding Company, which was formed in hopes of being selected to serve KanCare when the state issues Medicaid managed care contracts next year.