Doulas Deserve Sustainability: Forecasting and Sustainability Tool for Community Doula Organizations! 

Published March 25, 2023 under Blog

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May 23 - Doula FAST (2)

Chicago (March 22, 2023) – HealthConnect One and The Burke Foundation are pleased to announce the upcoming launch of a user-friendly tool that will help community-based doula organizations track anticipated program costs, plan for sustainability, and advocate for equitable reimbursement rates from Medicaid and other insurers. 

Developed by Dr. Slawa Rokicki of the Rutgers School of Public Health, with support from the Burke Foundation and thought partnership from the Children’s Home Society of New Jersey and HealthConnect One and its community doula network, the Forecasting and Sustainability Tool for Community Doula Organizations (Doula FAST) accounts for direct service and infrastructure costs, Medicaid billing rates, other revenue sources, and client caseloads to identify potential shortfalls.

Doula FAST will officially launch during a webinar on March 29 at noon EDT. The webinar will feature Dr. Rokicki, Dr. Twylla Dillion and Shonvá Millien (HealthConnect One), Jacqueline Lindsey (Healthy Baby Network), and Karen Courtney (Children’s Home Society of New Jersey). Attendees will get a demonstration of how to use the tool and how it helps community doula organizations and the implications for the field. Click here to view a recording of the Doula FAST webinar. A preview of this pioneering tool is also hosted on the HealthConnect One website.

“Community doulas play an invaluable role in advancing birth equity,” Senior Program Officer Renée Nogales at the Burke Foundation said. “Local nonprofits offering these services need sustainable revenue to provide doulas fair compensation and maintain a robust infrastructure so doulas can focus on what they do best. This tool shows what’s needed to create that operational support for high-quality, respectful, and culturally congruent maternity care.”

The team developed a version for New Jersey users, with state-specific Medicaid policies and rates, and a customizable version to use in other states.

Doula FAST helps:

  • Quantify and show budget line items needed to operate a high-quality community doula program
  • Pinpoint where budget shortfalls might emerge depending on available funding sources, such as Medicaid and private insurance
  • Assist with strategic budget planning by enabling the use of various scenarios based on local implementation and policy contexts
  • Offer policymakers, advocates, and funders data that they can use to develop solutions to help sustain community-based doula care

“Ensuring that community-based doulas are available to serve the communities where they are most needed requires programmatic financial sustainability”, said Executive Director Dr. Twylla Dillion of HealthConnect One. I am excited about our partnership with The Burke Foundation, and Dr. Slawa Rokicki of Rutgers School of Public Health to launch the Doula FAST Tool. The tool will support doula programs to better plan and sustain their organizations.”

Dr. Rokicki said, “We hope this user-friendly tool will help community doula organizations easily assess how Medicaid coverage of doula services impacts program sustainability. It also provides policymakers with important information on the resources needed to implement high-quality community doula programs, and how current reimbursement rates match up to those resources.” 

The tool is for organizations and agencies providing community doula services, those assessing whether to provide these services, and others who want to support a strong community doula workforce, such as policymakers, advocates, and public or private funders.


About HealthConnect One HealthConnect One is a nationally recognized nonprofit training and technical assistance agency that uses innovative, community-centered approaches to support direct-service providers in promoting the health of mothers, infants, and birthing families. Operating with the awareness that birth equity is fundamental to racial equity, HealthConnect One collaborates with community-based organizations and advocates, to train community health workers, connect community-based initiatives, and mobilize diverse stakeholders to build policies and programs that improve birth equity. Learn more about our work here:

About The Burke Foundation

The Burke Foundation provides catalytic funding to nonprofit partners, state agencies, and communities to promote meaningful and measurable impact on children and families across New Jersey. Burke is particularly focused on the First 1,000 Days – investing upstream in primary prevention and community connections to address the stark racial disparities in early health outcomes for families of color – along with growing and strengthening a diverse perinatal workforce, including community doulas, midwives, and public health nurses. Learn more at

Unless otherwise noted, the Forecasting and Sustainability Tool for Community Doula Organizations is copyrighted by Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, with all rights reserved. Mention of the tool must describe it as “developed by the Rutgers School of Public Health, with support from the Burke Foundation.”

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