Master's Project Title:

Great Lakes Inter – Tribal Council Community Based Doula Program Evaluation Report: Participant and Staff Perspectives on Program Services

MCH Student:

Elizabeth Pihlaja

Date of Defense:

January 9 , 2013


OBJECTIVES: This evaluation of the Great Lakes Inter – Tribal Council community-based doula program examined the perceived satisfaction of program staff, including doulas recruited from the community, and clients, including pregnant and postpartum women.

METHODS: Qualitative data was obtained from staff and client surveys to assess satisfaction with program services and implementation, as well as report services that were perceived to be helpful or valued. Program staff also participated in semi-structured interviews to further report on the usefulness of program services, barriers to successful implementation, and provide suggestions for improvement.

RESULTS: Qualitative data analysis indicated that both staff and clients were generally satisfied with the  program. Key themes of both staff and client responses included satisfaction with both support and education services provided by doulas. Responses categorized as relating to education provided by staff were reported most frequently as being useful in the  prenatal period, with a shift to support services, especially practical support such as providing baby supplies, being reported most frequently as helpful during the postpartum period. Staff provided several suggestions to remove barriers and improve the program, including procuring more funding and streamlining operations by eliminating one or both administering agencies.

CONCLUSIONS: Though findings from the qualitative analysis generally mirror those of prior studies, the shift of weights of helpful services (from education in pregnancy to more support – based services during and after labor) reported by clients has not been demonstrated in previous literature, and may warrant further exploration to provide a more targeted service model and improve satisfaction and outcomes.