Using Prevention Research to Reduce Racial Disparities in Health Through Innovative Funding Strategies: The Case of Doula Care

Judy A. Temple, Nishank Varshney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Racial disparities in maternal birth outcomes are substantial even when comparing women with similar levels of education. While racial differences in maternal death at birth or shortly afterward have attracted significant attention from researchers, non-fatal but potentially life-threatening pregnancy complications are 30–40 times more common than maternal deaths. Black women have the worst maternal health outcomes. Only recently have health researchers started to view structural racism rather than race as the critical factor underlying these persistent inequities. We discuss the economic framework that prevention scientists can use to convince policymakers to make sustainable investments in maternal health by expanding funding for doula care. While a few states allow Medicaid to fund doula services, most women at risk of poor maternal health outcomes arising from structural racism lack access to culturally sensitive caregivers during the pre-and post-partum periods as well as during birth. We provide a guide to how research in health services can be more readily translated to policy recommendations by describing two innovative ways that cost–benefit analysis can help direct private and public funding to support doula care for Black women and others at risk of poor birth outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-118
Number of pages11
JournalPrevention Science
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The first author received financial support from the Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry, and Scholarship program from the University of Minnesota.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, Society for Prevention Research.

Keywords

  • Data-driven philanthropy
  • Doulas
  • Economic evaluation
  • Health disparities
  • Pay for success
  • Prevention
  • Social impact bonds

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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