The Association of Wholistic Maternal and Newborn Health focuses on the intersection of public health and midwifery to address healthcare disparities and to engender a more equitable maternity care system for all women and infants.



Parent Prenatal Classes & Birth Professional Training.



Childbirth Companionship & Advocacy.



Changing mothers & babies lives.



Improve Maternity Care Quality.



Reduce Maternal & Infant Health Inequities & Disparities.



Improve Maternity Care Quality



The Association of Wholistic Maternal and Newborn Health focuses on the intersection of public health and midwifery to address healthcare disparities and to engender a more equitable maternity care system for all women and infants.



Happy Mamas, Healthy Babies

Working for social justice in maternal and child health.

Community-Based Doula Program | Perinatal Support Specialist Training | Professional Learning & Networking

Funding for our Community-Based Doula Program Funded by Health Net


To register for our trainings go to: Eventbrite

Fill Volunteer Application Form

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”  (Rob Siltanen)


Now Enrolling for our 4-Week Childbirth Preparation Class EMPOWERED BIRTH CHOICES, begins November 2, 2019. For more information or to register, email Debbie Benton or call (626) 388-2191 ext. 2.


Health Net Community Doula Program

African-American/Black pregnant women who have Health Net Medi-Cal are eligible to receive a Doula free of charge through our Health Net Community Doula Program.   To refer someone or enroll, email us, or fill out our Expectant Parent Inquiry Form,  or call (626) 388-2191 ( Ext 1). Learn more about the program.

Happy Mama Healthy Baby Community Doula Program

For pregnant persons who are not African-American, or do not have Health Net Medi-Cal,  Doula Services are offered on sliding scale rate or free of charge by volunteer Doulas.  Eligible for persons who have Medi-Cal or are low-income.  For more information, contact us or call (626) 388-2191 (ext. 2). Learn more about the program.


From November 11-22, 2019, we will be offering our Perinatal Support Specialist/Community-Based Doula Training in South Los Angeles. This 6-Day training is for anyone who wants to work for birthing justice and improve birth outcomes for women and infants of color. Topics covered are: The Impact of Historical Trauma on African-American women’s birth outcomes,  Cultural Awareness, Implicit Bias Training for Birth Workers, Maternal and Infant Mental Health, Childbirth Education, Birth and Postpartum Doula Support and Lactation Support, and much, much more. Taught by Cordelia Hanna, MPH, CHES, Founder of The Association for Wholistic Maternal and Newborn Health and other guest instructors. Work-Study scholarships available for low-income persons of color, group discounts and early bird rates and payment plans available. Register or Learn More.



For too long America has failed to acknowledge the outrageous and seemingly intractable rates of poor maternal and infant  health and deaths of mothers and infants in childbirth. The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of any industrialized country in the world. More than two women die every day in the US from pregnancy-related causes. And while the vast majority of industrialized countries have reduced their maternal mortality ratios, for the past 25 years the numbers of women lost during pregnancy, birth or postpartum have increased dramatically in the U.S., and Black/African-American women have born the brunt of these deaths. 


  • African-American/Black babies die at 2-1/2 times the rate of European-American/White babies, and are more than 3 times as likely to be born prematurely.
  • Maternal deaths are higher among Hispanic and Native American women compared to European-American/White women in the US.
  • Hispanic women make up 46% of all women in LA County, but 50% of all maternal deaths. African-American/Black women make up 9.2% of all women in LA County, but 31.8% of all maternal deaths.
  • European-American/White women make up 28.9% of women in LA County, but only 4.5% of maternal deaths. (California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics, Vital Statistics, 2007 from: LA Best Babies Network).
  • African-American/Black  women in the U.S. are at especially high risk; they are 4-5 times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications compared to European-American/White women.
  • Between 1999 and 2004 in Los Angeles County, the Maternal Mortality rate of African-American women rose 157%, to 45.6 per 100,000 live births, more than double the rise among European-American/White women.
  • Over the same period there was also an unexpected 765% surge in the maternal mortality rate of Asian/Pacific Islanders.(LABBN, 2009).


Women of color are less likely to go into pregnancy in good health because of a lack of access to primary health care services. They are also less likely to have access to adequate maternal health care services, and they report discrimination and prejudice during their maternity experiences. African-American/Black women are by far the largest demographic to suffer these outcomes, it has been this way for five decades and yet they are seldom able to make their voices heard. Its time for change. We are here to be the change we want to see in the world.


“The struggle for birthing alternatives is inseparable from struggles for racial, economic and social justice and the fundamental transformation of global maternal-care systems.” (Chinyere Oparah)


The Association for Wholistic Maternal and Newborn Health (AWMNH) is a community-based, multicultural organization located in Los Angeles, California. We are  501 (c) (3) non-profit public charity 509 (a) (2).

We are multicultural, multidisciplinary perinatal professionals joined together with a common vision to promote maternal and infant health, improve maternity care quality and access, reduce perinatal health disparities and  achieve social justice in maternal and infant health.

Our board of directors, advisory committee and consultants are  perinatal health experts with training and expertise in Doula Support, childbirth education, lactation counseling, pre and perinatal psychology, preventative medicine, maternity and newborn nursing, obstetrics and gynecology, maternal-fetal medicine, midwifery, health education and promotion and public health.


As catalysts for maternity care reform, we are champions for mothers and infants, We promote client-centered, holistic, respectful care for all childbearing persons.  We strive to  improve birth outcomes for all childbearing persons and their infants, with a special emphasis on communities of color experiencing social inequities due to racism, discrimination and prejudice and poverty.

Childbirth Education and  Doula Support Services

Our Community-Based Doula Program serves low to moderate income families who have Medi-Cal. We provide childbirth education for expectant parents and doula support and postpartum care for parents-to-be and new parents. We believe every family should have access to a Doula,  a term that was first used in a 1969 anthropological study conducted by Dana Raphael, a protégée of Anthropologist Margret Mead. Raphael derived the term from modern Greek (δούλα, doúla (pron. /ˈðula/), “servant-woman”). Marshall Klaus and John Kennell, who conducted the first clinical trials on the medical outcomes of doula-attended births, adopted the term to refer to a person providing labor support (Wikipedia, n.d.).

Access to Doula support is limited for low-income families and Medi-Cal recipients, so The Association for Wholistic Maternal and Newborn Health  offers volunteer and low-cost Doula support.  We work on a sliding Scale. No-one is turned away for inability to pay. We speak Spanish, and are multicultural.

We offer prenatal, childbirth and lactation and postpartum Doula support, offered by Community-Based Doulas and Breastfeeding Peer Counselors. Se Habla Espanol.

Professional Training & Networking Opportunities
We also sponsor networking and training opportunities for mental health, social service and maternal/child health professionals through  our  training and certification programs and continuing education opportunities for  Midwives, Nurses, Physicians, Doulas, Childbirth Educators, Certified Health Education Specialists, etc.

Our events include The Mother-Friendly Childbirth Symposium, The Birthing Justice Forum and Annual Maternal-Child Health Advocate Awards Recognition, and film screenings & discussions, seminars which provide opportunities for networking, sharing and cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Speakers at our conferences have included leading perinatal professionals including Dr. Robbie Davis-Floyd, Ph.D., Cultural and Medical Anthropologist, Dr. Christine Morton, Ph.D., Medical Sociologist from Stanford University, Dr. Sarah Buckley, MD, researcher and author of Undisturbed Birth, and Dr. Julia Chinyere Oparah, Sociology researcher at Mills College, author of #BattlingOverBirth, a human rights report and social media campaign based on a five-year-long participatory action research project about Black women’s experiences of pregnancy and childbirth in California.

Maternal-Child Health Champion Awards

Our Maternal-Child Health Champion Awards have been given to leaders in the movement for Birthing Justice such as Jennie Joseph, LM, CPM, founder of The JJ Way, Hermine Hayes-Klein, JD, Birth Rights Attorney and Founder of Human Rights in Childbirth, and Dr. Monica Mclemore, Ph.D., MPH, RN from University of California San Francisco. We have presented lifetime achievement awards to  Shafia Monroe, founder of the International Center for Traditional Childbearing, and the late Geraldine Perry-Williams, MSN, PHN,  Maternal-Child Health Director for the City of Pasadena, California, Program Coordinator of the Pasadena Public Health Department Black Infant Health Program.

Our organizational partners (past and present) include California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, California Nurse-Midwives Association and Black Women Birthing Justice.


To increase access, awareness, and availability of MotherBaby-Friendly Maternity Care. We are also committed to social justice in maternity care, in order to improve birth outcomes for all women, persons and their newborns.


The Association of Wholistic Maternal and Newborn Health focuses on the intersection of public health and midwifery to address health care disparities and to engender a more equitable maternity care system for all women and infants. Our focus areas are:

  • Education for Birth Preparation and Cultural Change.
  • Advocacy for Maternal-Infant Health Care Policy Reform.
  • Expanding Access to MotherBaby-Friendly Maternity Care.
  • Working for Social Justice in Maternal and Infant Health.

    Community Blessing of the Doulas, Los Angeles, March, 2019. Photo by Maggie Ehrig


  • As advocates for mothers and babies, we seek to ensure that all childbearing persons are treated with dignity and respect duringthe pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum periods.
  • We promote a self-growth approach to pregnancy; which is a special and unique time in a woman’s and a person’s life.
  • We believe each pregnant woman or person should be surrounded by a loving and supportive community and each baby should be born into the hands of skilled, compassionate and respectful caregivers.
  • We protect the MotherBaby dyad whose needs are mutually dependent.
  • We are reverent of the sacred nature of birth and are inspired by its potential to transform women, relationships, families, and communities.
  • Our intent is to mobilize the perinatal community to implement culturally-relevant approaches to perinatal health promotion.
  • We strive to improve birth outcomes and quality of maternity and newborn care in all settings: clinics, hospitals, birth centers, and domiciliary settings.
  • We are dedicated to helping families have empowering, satisfying and joyous experiences from conception through gestation, childbirth, and early parenthood.





Community-Based Doula Program Expansion (2019-2021)

In collaboration with Health Net, we are expanding our Community-Based Doula Program and will be reaching 150+ clients in 2019. To receive information fill out this form.


Father’s Discussion and Support Group (Ongoing-2nd Saturday of Every Month)

For male partners of clients enrolled in the Health Net Community Doula Program, this group meets the 2nd Saturday of each month. It is facilitated by an African-American/Black father.  Learn More.



Empowered Birth Choices Childbirth Preparation Class (November 2019)

A 4-week series of classes on preparation for childbirth, for pregnant women and partners, will be held on Saturdays, November 2, 9, 23 & 30  (no class November 16) from 10:00 am to 1:30 pm.  In this class, expectant parents will learn about the birth process, labor coping methods, making informed choices, breastfeeding and emotional and physical changes of postpartum. Class is free for all who have Medi-Cal. Register Now



Perinatal Support Specialist Training and Certification Program (November 11-22, 2019  and June, 2020) 

This training prepares participants to become community-based doulas empowered with knowledge and skills to address persistent perinatal disparities and inequities in communities of color in America. Topics include: the impact of historical racism on African-American, Native-American and Latino women’s reproductive health and birth outcomes. Trainers are multicultural and include African-American, Latino and  European-American experts in maternal and child health, and perinatal psychology. Limited scholarships are available.  Learn More


Heart and Hands Postpartum Doula Training & Certification Program (January 23 & 24, 2020)

In this training, participants will learn about how to care for women and infants in the immediate postpartum period. Topics include: counseling skills, breastfeeding support, emotional support of mothers including perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and physical care of mothers following childbirth. Also discussed is physical care of newborn babies including newborn procedures, appearance, sleep and wake states, and promoting bonding and attachment. No prior experience is needed to enroll in this course. Learn More




Mothercraft Circle: Mother’s Support Group (3rd Friday of each Month)

First Meeting: Motherwit: Tales of the Womb, Friday, October 25, 2019

This is a Mindfulness Mother’s Support Group, which meets on 4th Friday of every month, facilitated by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker Nakeya Fields, LCSW and  Cordelia Hanna, MPH, CHES, Perinatal Health Educator. Sessions include yoga, art therapy, mindfulness, and discussion. These circles are a safe and supported space for pregnant women and new mothers to share “motherwit” (mother’s wisdom) and “mothercraft” — the  practicalities of being a mother. The kick off event, Motherwit: Tales of the Womb,  is Friday, October 25th from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm in South Los Angeles,  and will be a safe haven to share expectations and experiences of childbirth, both positive and negative, and challenges of early motherhood.  Free  of  charge for all who have Medi-Cal. RSVP required. Insurance billing may be available. Learn More.





The Association for Wholistic Maternal and Newborn Health is  a public charity. We are exempt from federal income tax under section 501 (c) 3 of the IRS code. Contributions to our organization are tax-deductible under section 170 of the code. We are qualified to receive tax-deductible requests, devises, transfers or gifts under section 2055, 2106 or 2522 of the code.  

GuideStar Gold Seal of Transparency

Want to Learn More Before You Donate? Check us out on Guidestar. Our EIN is 95-445-1418




African-American Health Net Medi-Cal Members can receive a Doula for Free! Call us at (626)388-2191 ext. 1 to enroll.