March 21, 2008

Project Concern International Improving Health of Pregnant Women in San Diego

Project Concern International, with its partners UCSD Hearts and the Hands Volunteer Doula program, successfully trained childbirth assistants, or Doulas, as part of the California Border Healthy Start (CBHS) program.

San Diego’s CBHS program is improving the health of low-income pregnant women, mothers, and their babies in areas that represent the highest levels of poverty and poor birth outcomes in San Diego County by enhancing the capacity of the local maternal and child health social service systems and increasing effective outreach and recruitment into prenatal services early in pregnancy.

The CBHS has employed Patient Navigators, or promotoras, to provide the outreach and case management of pregnant women. They provide continuity of care for both the mother and child from pregnancy up to two years after delivery. The project also offers support groups for mental depression during pregnancy and after delivery as well as one-on-one and group health education for mothers. As part of these efforts, trained Doulas are available for those pregnant women who are enrolled in the program.

Doulas being trained as part of Project Center program to improve the health of pregnant women.

Doulas provide assistance during childbirth and are trained to give continuous, non-medical physical and emotional support to women in labor. A Doula’s expertise is in offering comfort and reassurance. A Doula helps the birthing mother feel safe and confident throughout labor, delivery, and the immediate postpartum period.

Director of the UCSD program, Ann Fulcher, led the trainings and said, “It is truly a joy to be present at birth and know that you have been a part of this miracle”.

CBHS is funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services and is part of a national initiative designed to coordinate and strengthen perinatal services for high risk, low access populations. For the implementation of the CBHS project, Project Concern International (PCI) has partnered with San Diego County HHSA Maternal, Child and Family Health Services Branch; Scripps Mercy Hospital Chula Vista; UCSD Medical Center including the UCSD Volunteer Doula Program; Family Health Centers of San Diego; La Maestra Community Clinic; Comprehensive Health Center; San Diego Family Care and Best Start Birth Center.

Project Concern International is a San Diego-based health and humanitarian organization dedicated to saving lives and building healthy communities around the world. With over 46 years of experience, Project Concern International reaches more than 3 million people each year in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. To learn more about PCI’s lifesaving programs worldwide, visit

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