Ashley NguyenIndependent journalist Ashley Nguyen got to the root of maternal health issues faced by birthing individuals across the country.  

Marquette students Rachel Ryan and Sarah Lipo worked with Nguyen on the series. The team examined relevant maternal health issues.

The team published a piece in The Lilya publication of The Washington Post, in early March 2021 covering the reintroduction of nine bills, along with the introduction of three new ones, that seek to address widening racial disparities in the maternal health crisis, especially in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a four-part series in The Lily, the team found that Medicaid reimbursement for doulas could be "an essential part of the solution" to the worsening maternal mortality crisis in the United States. Doulas offer emotional, informational and culturally congruent care to pregnant individuals, which can reduce widening racial disparities in health. They focused specifically on the states of Oregon and Minnesota, two states that have solid Medicaid reimbursement programs that "falling wildly short," with unsustainable wages and complicated system navigation.

As a part of the series, the team created a website with important information for doulas called Doula series footnotes.

Follow-up stories appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and The Lily.

Nguyen organized a public forum in May 2021 at which birth workers discussed maternal health challenges and solutions.

Works published to date:

February 8, 2021
Black maternal health is in crisis. Here’s how lawmakers hope the ‘Momnibus’ package will help.

March 1, 2021
Behind the growing movement to include doulas under Medicaid
What is a doula? And other answers to common questions 
Oregon covers doula work, but progress is moving at a ‘glacial pace’
Doula work is ‘taxing’ with little pay. Can Minnesota make it more sustainable?

Companion website: Doula series footnotes

April 18, 2021
Six moments from Black Maternal Health Week you may have missed

April 28, 2021
Medicaid coverage for doulas and the postpartum period, grants for Black women's health, all part of Gov. Tony Evers' budget proposal

How Wisconsin organizations supporting reproductive health and parenting weathered the pandemic

May 5, 2021 
Home birth requests ‘went through the roof’ when the pandemic hit. Are they here to stay?

May 21, 2021

Some big companies are starting to cover the cost of doulas. Will others follow?