News Release

Grants will support doula integration to improve maternal health care

HARTFORD, Conn. (April 4, 2024) – With funding from the Connecticut Health Foundation, Hartford Hospital will make changes to policies to better integrate doulas into patient care teams. This pilot is intended to improve maternal health outcomes for people of color.

Doulas provide emotional and physical support for pregnant people before, during, and after childbirth. They are not always medical professionals, but act as advocates for the birthing parent. Research has shown that doulas can help improve maternal health outcomes, including reducing the number of cesarean sections and premature deliveries. The current health care system needs to improve its support, promotion, and integration of doulas. The goal of this pilot program is designed to do just that at Hartford Hospital, with plans and hopes to eventually expand it to the entire Hartford HealthCare system.

The $63,000 grant will allow Hartford Hospital to work with community-based doulas and community organizations to study and adjust how to welcome doulas into the hospital. That includes rewriting the hospital’s policies to make doulas an integral part of a patient’s care team. Funding will also be used for training and education for hospital staff on the role of doulas and how to collaborate with them.

“Community-based doulas have proven to be particularly effective for people of color and those with low-incomes,” said Tiffany Donelson, president and CEO of the Connecticut Health Foundation. “This work to change policies and practices is an opportunity to ensure that doulas are not only welcome in the delivery room but are treated as an essential part of the birthing process.”

“Hartford HealthCare understands the impact doulas from the community have on someone’s birth. Creating a welcoming environment for doulas is vital. We aim to strengthen trust between patients and the care team, support a holistic experience, collaboratively improve health outcomes and advance health equity,” said Daileann Hemmings, Program Director of Maternal Health Equity at Hartford Hospital.

This grant was among four awarded by the Connecticut Health Foundation this quarter, totaling $213,000. The other grantees are:

Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, Inc., Middletown, $100,000
This grant will be used to support research into the cost of expanding HUSKY insurance to state residents under the age of 25, regardless of immigration status. The research will build upon a 2022 RAND report, “Expanding Insurance Coverage to Undocumented Immigrants in Connecticut,” and will update the projected impact, costs, and savings of HUSKY expansion. This research will be used to inform policy making in the state.


President’s discretionary grants are awarded to organizations and institutions that respond to the foundation’s overall mission or priority areas.

Latinas and Power Corp., Essex, $25,000
This funding will support the work of the Latinas in Leadership Institute, a program of Latinas and Power Corp., designed to empower women in Connecticut to advocate for health equity. This grant will be used for a storytelling project that will highlight health equity issues and be shared through several different media channels. The project aims to create awareness and engage others on the topic.

The Connecticut Association of School Based Health Centers, Hartford, $25,000
This grant will support efforts to expand school-based health centers to communities with limited health services. The funds will be used towards advocacy for sustainable funding for these centers, and education for staff members and partners on addressing racial inequities. The Connecticut Association of School Based Health Centers will also use this grant to explore how to create a statewide data collection system for school-based health centers and develop a stronger and more diverse medical workforce.

For more information, please contact Gaby Molina at or 860-724-1580 x 133

About the Connecticut Health Foundation
The Connecticut Health Foundation is the state’s largest independent health philanthropy dedicated to improving health outcomes for people of color. Since its creation in 1999, the foundation has awarded more than $78 million to nonprofit organizations and public entities to expand health equity, reduce health disparities, expand health coverage, and improve the health of all Connecticut residents.