We are excited to provide an update on our Perinatal Resource Mapping Project, an initiative documenting the perinatal mental health providers, lactation support providers, and doulas operating in the Greater Richmond Area. With seventy two respondents to date, we are gaining a better understanding of gaps that may be present within this service sector. The data we’re collecting will inform our goal of creating a comprehensive, searchable directory of pregnancy, birth, and early parenting resources that, pending funding, will be made publicly available for use by both parents and providers.
PRMP Project Progress
Participating in this project allowed me to understand the necessity of mapping maternal health providers and the importance of data in advancing community support. From looking at data on how various communities are affected by COVID, I was able to understand the difference in need whether it’s through ethnicity or economic standing.
~ Kamene Mang’oka, University of Richmond Student Intern
- From February 1 – March 13, we conducted the COVID19-Survey for Pregnant and Postpartum Parents state-wide, in partnership with Postpartum Support Virginia. The data gathered indicated social connection, mental health support, and lactation support as top level needs. Guided by this input from parents, we are focused on identifying local lactation support providers, perinatal mental health providers, and doula providers for the first phase of the Perinatal Resource Mapping Project (PRMP).
- The PRMP was launched with support from five University of Richmond student interns in Spring, 2021. It was temporarily put on hold after they completed their internship due to lack of staffing. We are happy to say that it has started back up with staff support from Richmond City Health District, as well as the continued participation of one of our original student volunteers, who chose to stay on as a volunteer after graduation. We hope to complete the first phase, identifying local lactation support providers, perinatal mental health providers, and doula providers by mid-September 2021.
- In July, we shared the questions developed for the PRMP with staff at BreastfeedLa, who modified them to conduct a national level survey with the goal of identifying and mapping Asian-American, Pacific Islander Lactation Support Providers.
- Nurture has received $10,000 in funding toward an initial goal of $125,000 to implement and staff a public-facing virtual platform that would allow parents and providers to quickly identify necessary perinatal resources. If we do not receive the full funding, we are planning to go forward with a more modest platform, with the goal of a launch in spring 2022.
Working with Nurture has truly given me the opportunity to better understand the access and availability that the Richmond community has to healthcare providers, specifically concerning access to perinatal care. As a future healthcare worker potentially interested in OB/GYN and maternal care, these organizations and their work have been incredibly interesting to learn about and connect with. This semester has been an eye-opening experience as I continue to learn more about the healthcare system and resources available to my future patients.
~ Hannah Gorga, University of Richmond Student Intern
Things we have learned so far:
After beginning my research on finding maternal mental health providers in the Greater Richmond Region, I quickly noticed that there were far less providers specialized in this area than I would have thought. After seeing that mental health was a topic of concern among new mothers since the start of COVID-19, this realization was troubling.
~ Isabella Araujo, University of Richmond Student Intern
- Survey Responses: Extensive outreach resulted in a total of 72 provider respondents. Several people responded for others that are a part of their organization. Because our goal is to capture demographic data on individual providers, we will be following up to ensure that providers are accurately represented at the individual level. This will help us to get a better understanding of how many providers there are per 1000 birthing people in our health district, as well as how this workforce represents the populations they serve.
- Compensation for Services: There seems to be considerable variation among forms of compensation accepted for services.
- Service Locations: We are beginning to notice a concentration of providers within the City of Richmond. We are also starting to see some trends in the kinds of practice settings in which providers operate. As we continue to more accurately identify providers operating in the region, this may change.
How You Can Help
In order for us to fully capture all the lactation support, perinatal mental health support, and doula support providers operating in our region, we encourage you to share the Perinatal Resource Mapping Project Survey Link with your colleagues who are working in these sectors in the Greater Richmond Area. For the purposes of this project, we are defining this area as Health District 15, which comprises the CIty of Richmond, Henrico County, Chesterfield County, Hanover County, Powhatan, Goochland, Charles City County, and New Kent County.
If you would like to stay updated on the progress of the project, please add your name to this form and we will keep you posted as the project unfolds.
My final takeaway is this: It does not matter how many amazing services are available if people cannot easily find them. This asset map will truly change the game of how perinatal care is accomplished in Richmond. It has been incredible to see how simple yet beneficial it will be for mothers and families to have a designated space to find the providers they need with ease.
~ Hannah Gorga, University of Richmond Student Intern