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CommunityRegionSan Marcos

Doula program removes barriers for mothers

SAN MARCOS — TrueCare, a community-based health center serving San Diego and Riverside counties, has been awarded a $2 million federal grant for its new doula program.

The United States has the worst maternal mortality outcomes among industrialized nations. Women of color are two to three times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes.

“Not only have women of color endured generations of inequities in the health care system, but today they are dying at alarming rates during childbirth,” said TrueCare President and CEO Michelle D. Gonzalez. “This national crisis disproportionately impacts our communities.”

Research demonstrates that doula — trained professionals who support mothers through childbirth — increase maternal engagement during prenatal care, offer better preparation for labor and birth, reduce cesarean deliveries and increase breastfeeding success.

Doulas are traditionally accessible only to women who can afford the additional out-of-pocket cost. TrueCare’s new doula program will help to remove that financial barrier for the region’s mothers.

Adding a doula program to TrueCare’s wellness services reinforces the organization’s mission of providing comprehensive, affordable and culturally sensitive health care options. TrueCare prioritizes a patient-centered approach that offers specialized care in a warm and welcoming environment.

The organization also serves as a migrant health center providing tailored health care services to migrant farm workers and their families.

“As a person-focused health center with integrated women’s health services and a comprehensive offering for quality physical and mental health care, we are excited to be a systemic force in bettering pregnancy experiences and health outcomes for both moms and babies,” said TrueCare Chief Medical Officer Marie Russell. “We have plans to launch programming to enhance culturally humble maternity care through this new and unique service not typically offered at a community health center.”

The health center received the $2 million grant to fund the doula program from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Additional information on TrueCare’s doula program will be released later this summer. For more information about TrueCare, please visit To schedule an appointment, call or text 760-736-6767.

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