HealthConnect One is the national leader in advancing equitable, community-based, peer-to-peer support for pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and early parenting.
Our vision is to see every baby, mother, and family thrive in a healthy community. We work to achieve this vision through an equity-focused approach supporting the first 1000 days for birthing families.
We're focused on training, mobilizing, and connecting to one day see every mother & child thrive.
We're training birth equity advocates and community health workers nationwide to continuously grow our network of experts.
We're mobilizing workers by training organizations in 20+ states and supporting them with supplies needed for babies and families.
We connect community members to one another by connecting them to community doulas, breastfeeding counselors, and community health workers.
- To see every mother and child thrive.
- Because we are committed to providing an equitable start for babies and their families.
- To create a thriving ecosystem for Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities.
- To re-invest in communities that have been unfairly marginalized and refused equal health care.
- Because improving birth equity is fundamental to improving racial equity.
- Because every baby is our baby.
HealthConnect One has a deep history of birth equity activism. Since 1986, we have worked with maternal and child health organizations, social services providers, hospitals, birth workers, grassroots organizers, and FQHCs.
Originally named Chicago Health Connection, the organization started as a volunteer effort to develop better ways of promoting breastfeeding with a particular focus on communities of color, as founder Rachel Abramson recalled for a news article in 2018.
After collaborating with groups like the Ounce of Prevention Fund (now Start Early), to create the Chicago Doula Project in the late 1990s, the work expanded nationally.
The organization was renamed HealthConnect One.
We've partnered across more than 50 communities in 20 states...
to design peer-to-peer support programs that increase breastfeeding rates, strengthen parent-child bonding, expand support for mothers and families, reduce C-section rates, and achieve better birth outcomes and economies.
Photos: Jeretha McKinley leading an early breastfeeding class; participants in the Chicago Doula Project, from 1999 or 2000; founding director Rachel Abramson, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, and McKinley at an event
community-based doulas and breastfeeding advocates trained to foster thriving and sustainable communities in 2021
birthworker trainees to be served through our new learning management system through funding from the Illinois Healthcare Foundation
of Black mothers served by our trained community-based doulas were still breastfeeding at six weeks
Selected by WHO/UNICEF to participate on an Expert Panel developing international standards for breastfeeding training
Served on the Wisdom Council of the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative as an Expert Panel Member for the United StatesLearn More About This Work
Consulted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work/Baby-Friendly Hospital InitiativeLearn More About This Work
Worked closely with Illinois Department of Public Health staff helped to publish the Illinois Breastfeeding Peer Counselor CurriculumLearn More About This Work
Collaborated with Cook County Health and Hospital Services Stroger Hospital on a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program for more than two decades
Helped establish the Illinois Community Health Worker AssociationLearn More About This Work
OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM & Board of Directors
The HealthConnect One Leadership Team and Board of Directors ensure successful outcomes for not only the organization, but also for Black, Brown, and Indigenous babies and families.
Our Leadership Team
President and CEO
Twylla Dillion, MBA, PhD is the Executive Director of HC One. She brings 10+ years of experience in the nonprofit sector spanning philanthropy, Medicaid reform, maternal-child health, data analytics, and academia.
In her prior work at United Way of Greater Rochester, Dr. Dillion focused on using data and analytics across the fundraising, grantmaking, and evaluation cycle. Additionally, Dr. Dillion has conducted research on breastfeeding, served as program officer for maternal-child health programs, and worked as a research lead on a Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), the project focused on collaborating with Black moms better to understand contributors to Black maternal mortality/morbidity and develop strategies for better outcomes. She is a graduate of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, where she received her Ph.D. in Health Services Research, Policy and Outcomes, and St. John Fisher College, where she received her MBA.
VP of Finance and Operations
Guillermina Nava is the VP of Finance and Operations at HealthConnect One. She brings 30+ years of non-profit accounting experience to her role at HC One. Guillermina manages all the financial aspects of the agency as well as business operations and human resources.
Before joining HealthConnect One, Guillermina worked her way from Accounting Clerk to Controller at Pilsen-Little Village Community Mental Health Center, Inc., (d/b/a Pilsen Wellness Center) where she was responsible for all of the agency’s financial plans and policies, overseeing their financial affairs, acting as primary contact for the independent auditor, funders, and lending institutions, and supervising the finance department staff.
Ms. Nava received a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from National-Louis University and holds a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from DePaul University. She holds certificates in Commercial Spanish, Conflict Management, Confidentiality & Ethics, and Project Management, and is fully bilingual in Spanish and English.