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  • Kalia McCray

Support Doula Advocacy!

Updated: May 1, 2023

On February 18th, the Birth Equity Project team, as well as community partners from Melinated Moms & Calming Nature Doula Center and Services, held a session at the New York State Association of Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Conference in Albany! The team held a session titled “Maternal Health: Increasing Doula Access to Underserved Communities," sponsored by State Senator Samra G. Brouk & State Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn.


The Erie Niagara AHEC team led the session on how vital the role of a doula is in combating maternal and infant health disparities in Black and Brown individuals. We were honored to have U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand speak at our session along with State Senator Brouk, State Assemblymember Rodneyse, State Senator Webb, NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Councilmember Brooks Powers, and State Assemblymember Inez Dickens. Panelists included Madeline Ackley (ENAHEC Birth Equity Project Program Specialist), Shannon Johns (Calming Nature Doula Center and Services Founder & CEO), Alexcia Harrod (Melinated Moms Vice President/Co-Founder), Chanel Porchia-Albert (Ancient Songs Doula Services Founder & CEO), Kimberly Seals Allers (Irth Founder), and Allegra White (Milf Made Founder). The panelists were able to speak to the work of doulas, their impact, and what needs to be done moving forward to improve the maternal health outcomes of Black and Brown women.


A special thank you to State Senator Samra Brouk and State Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn for sponsoring the session and all of those involved in working towards mitigating racial maternal health disparities!


If you are a Medicaid-eligible Black or Brown mother in Erie County and you would like to be connected with a doula to help you through your prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum journey at no cost, apply here! Please contact mackley@erieniagaraahec.org with any questions.


The Birth Equity Project team with community partners and State Senator Samra Brouk at the Legislative Conference in Albany on February 18. From left to right: Kalia McCray, Alexcia Harrod (Melinated Moms), Danise Wilson, State Senator Samra Brouk, Shannon Johns (Calming Nature Doula), Brittany Tranello, Madeline Ackley.

Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn and State Senator Samra Brouk.

Danise Wilson with U.S. Senator for New York Kirsten Gillibrand at the Legislative Conference after her statement at the session.

Madeline Ackley (ENAHEC), Shannon Johns (Calming Nature Doula Services), Alexcia Harrod (Melinated Moms).

Danise Wilson (ENAHEC Director) pictured with panelists. Left to right: Shannon Johns (Calming Nature Doula Services), Alexcia Harrod (Melinated Moms), Danise Wilson (ENAHEC), Chanel Porchia-Albert (Ancient Songs Doula Services), Kimberly Seals Allers (Irth), Allegra White (Milf-Made).

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