On Saturday February 9, 2019, a group of birth workers gathered in Providence, RI to participate in the Maternal Child Specialist (MCH) training developed and facilitated by midwife Jennie Joseph. Based on her model the JJ Way®, this course is a training and certification program that equips health navigators, community health workers, outreach personnel, care coordinators, home visitors, doulas, childbirth educators, lactation educators, nurses, midwives, and physicians to understand their local and regional resources. This training provides ways to negotiate and navigate through the systems that provide perinatal health care and safety for women and babies who are at particular risk for poor outcomes.

The training was hosted by the Umoja Nia Collective, a Rhode Island-based group of diverse full spectrum doulas who provide a range of perinatal services to families in the state. Quatia Osorio, local doula, midwife in training,and founder of Our Journ3i expressed concern about the state of birth work and support. “Sometimes we have to take a step back and say, are we helping, hindering or hurting in some of our work though guided by the best intentions. We can’t offer a service and not be ready to meet the demand and/or not have the resources equipped to do the work appropriately.” The training itself was well-attended by a diverse group including local doulas, midwives, nurses, lactation consultants, community organizers, and public health workers, to name a few.

The MCH training is also one of many offered by the Commonsense Childbirth Institute. Full courses offered by the institute include Easy Access Clinic training,  Maternal Child Health Specialist (MCHS), Certified Childbirth Consultant Program (CCC), Certified