The Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions (FAHSC) has been awarded two grants from Aetna®, a CVS Health® company. The first is a $75,000 grant to support the delivery of doula care statewide through the network of participating Florida Healthy Start Coalitions. Using the G.R.O.W. Doula model, which was developed by the Healthy Start Coalition of Indian River alongside Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital, the Florida Healthy Start doula program supports, educates, and empowers pregnant women to take control of their health and achieve a healthy pregnancy and birth through the assistance of a professionally trained doula. A doula is a non-medical professional trained to support mothers and families with physical, emotional, and evidence-based information before, during, and after birth.
The Florida Healthy Start doula program leverages the power of peer-to-peer support by recruiting, training, and connecting women within shared communities to support one another during critical times of pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. Nationally, doula care has been shown to reduce cesarean section rates and improve breastfeeding initiation and childbirth satisfaction rates. Some studies have observed a decrease in babies born preterm and with low birth weight and a decrease in transfers to neonatal intensive care units (NICU) when mothers receive the care of a doula during pregnancy and birth. With the support of Aetna, FAHSC will begin implementing the doula program in many parts of Florida in early 2024.
Additionally, FAHSC has been awarded a $15,000 grant from Aetna to support the activities related to facilitating partnerships and service coordination between Aetna and the 32 Florida Healthy Start Coalitions that serve communities throughout the state.
As Aetna positions itself to deliver quality maternity care to its members and clients across the state of Florida, it considers community-based organizations with reach, respect, and influence like FAHSC as critical to its success in building lasting and impactful relationships. The grant funding will support the expansion of Aetna and Florida Healthy Start Coalition partnerships across the state in service to moms and babies and with the goal of improving maternal and infant health outcomes for Medicaid beneficiaries.
FAHSC harnesses the power of over 30 years as a leading nonprofit in the state of Florida to improve the lives of families through services developed to meet the needs of pregnant and post-partum women, fathers, infants, and young children up to age three. Aetna is the leading health solutions company, delivering care like no one else can. They reach more people and improve the health of communities across America through their local presence, digital channels and over 300,000 dedicated colleagues—including more than 40,000 physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and nurse practitioners.
Together, FAHSC and Aetna are committed to improving maternal health outcomes through proven methods, such as doula care. Additionally, their partnership will ensure that women throughout Florida have access to the support of a professionally trained doula, such as those who are currently being trained by Florida Healthy Start Coalitions. Ultimately, the FAHSC and Aetna partnership will have a positive impact on maternal and child health and the health and well-being of Florida families.