Training Certified Community Health Workers as Community Doulas and Plans for Expansion Across South Carolina

It has been an exciting year for BirthMatters. In the Spring, we wrapped up two community-based doula trainings, one in Spartanburg and the other in Orangeburg. We have been training and employing community-based doulas in Spartanburg since 2009. We are thrilled to announce that we are setting our sights on other South Carolina communities for expansion.

BirthMatters is a community health worker (CHW) model that replicates HealthConnect One. Now ready to expand beyond Spartanburg to other South Carolina communities,  BirthMatters has created a community-based doula training and mentoring program for certified community health workers, consisting of five weekly 2-hour sessions. 

The topics covered in the training include the historical context of community doula work, childbirth basics, tools and comfort measures, and breastfeeding. The mentoring is done through virtual sessions to prepare for the birth, birth support, and post-birth to process the birth. BirthMatters’ Director of Advocacy and Expansion and Certified Doula Molly Chappell-McPhail says, “It’s great to train certified community health workers who already have the knowledge and experience in building trust and resources navigation. It’s the perfect formula.”

“It’s great to train certified community health workers who already have the knowledge and experience in building trust and resources navigation. It’s the perfect formula.”

– Molly Chappell-McPhail

Romaine Stephens is a Certified Community Health Worker (CHW) and a recent graduate of the BirthMatters Community Doula Training facilitated in Orangeburg, SC, this past Spring by Molly Chappell-McPhail.  Romaine has been a Certified Lactation Counselor since  2011 and currently serves as the Community Engagement Specialist with Family Solutions, a program of the South Carolina Office of Rural Health, providing education and resources on breastfeeding and reproductive care. 

Before training as a Community-Based Doula with BirthMatters, she had supported over 70 families during their birth experiences. When asked about her interest in being trained as a Community Doula, she offered, “I have a passion for pregnancy, women, and children. I love to support them on this journey of motherhood.”

Romaine described the Community Doula Training provided by BirthMatters as “eye-opening.”  With the knowledge she gained from the training, she shared that she plans on “using these resources to empower my fellow CHWs (Community Health Workers), nurses and social workers that I work with. I also plan on using the skills as I am out in the community each week to educate on the impact of doula work.” 

If you are interested in this training please e-mail Molly Chappell-McPhail at molly@birth-matters.org

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