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Building Capacity for Research on Community Doula Care: A Stakeholder-Engaged Process in California

  • Marshall, Cassondra J
  • Nguyen, Ashley
  • Arteaga, Stephanie
  • Hubbard, Erin
  • Armstead, Marna
  • Peprah-Wilson, Sayida
  • Britt, Starr
  • McLemore, Monica R
  • Gomez, Anu Manchikanti
Publication Date
Jan 24, 2024
eScholarship - University of California
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PurposeIn an effort to address persistent inequities in maternal and infant health, policymakers and advocates have pushed to expand access to doula care. Several states, including California, now cover doula services through Medicaid. As coverage expands, research on the impact of doula care will likely increase. To develop best practices for research, it is critical to engage community doulas, clients, and other key stakeholders.DescriptionOur overarching goal was to build capacity for future doula- and client-centered research on community doula care. First, we established a Steering Committee with members from seven relevant stakeholder groups: community doulas, former or potential doula clients, clinicians, payers, advocates, researchers, and public health professionals. Second, we conducted a needs assessment to identify and understand stakeholders' needs and values for research on community doula care. Findings from the needs assessment informed our third step, conducting a research prioritization to develop a shared research agenda related to community doula care with the Steering Committee. We adapted the Research Prioritization by Affected Communities protocol to guide this process, which resulted in a final list of 21 priority research questions. Lastly, we offered a training to increase capacity among community doulas to engage in research on community doula care.AssessmentOur findings provide direction for those interested in conducting research on doula care, as well as policymakers and funders.ConclusionThe findings of our stakeholder-engaged process provide a roadmap that will lead to equity-oriented research centering clients, doulas, and their communities.

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