Grant Application

Megan Shope ,MPH, CHES, CD (DONA), The Birth Circle Doula Program, UPMC Department of Family Medicine

Proposed Innovation

Pregnant immigrant and refugee women with limited English proficiency face daunting challenges, including inadequate information, poor explanations, difficulty with interpreters, and a scarcity of providers who understand their backgrounds and cultural practices. Through this innovative project, The Birth Circle Doula program of UPMC’s Department of Family Medicine will provide continued prenatal group classes and postpartum support sessions in Nepali and Spanish to Bhutanese and Latina mothers.

Improvements in Action

The Birth Circle Doula program is an extension of a successful 2015 pilot program funded by the Beckwith Institute’s Clinical Transformation Program. It provides Pittsburgh’s only prenatal education classes and doula support in languages other than English. Providing group education in the expectant mother’s native language has helped families prepare for labor, birth, postpartum care of the mother and baby, and increased shared decision-making.

This current project will:

  • Continue providing prenatal classes in Nepali and Spanish with a focus on accessing resources, navigating the maternity care system, and creating a safe space for Bhutanese and Latina women to come together.
  • Provide DONA birth doula training for at least two Nepali- and Spanish-speaking community facilitators so they can provide additional support.
  • Create a toolkit for the Womancare Birth Center at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, triage, and postpartum unit to enhance communication with expectant mothers. This toolkit will include cards with culturally appropriate pictures and phrases in English, Spanish, and Nepali.

Results – In Progress

Continuation of this project and development of a toolkit will increase awareness of best practices for immigrant and refugee families, and create a model that can easily be replicated throughout the UPMC system. In addition, the team continues to present the project at national conferences with the goal of it becoming a national model.