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 July 20, 2019. For more information or to register, email Debbie Benton or call (626) 388-2191 ext. 2.

News Update – May 2019


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.



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 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 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  social justice in maternal and infant health, locally and globally.

Our board of directors, advisory committee and consultants are perinatal health experts with training and expertise in Doula Support, Childbirth Education, Lactation Counseling, Perinatal Psychology, Preventative Medicine, Maternity and Newborn Nursing, 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 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. No-one is turned away for inability to pay.

We accept donations from persons or trusts  who would like to make it possible for disadvantaged persons to have quality Doula support, and to provide training free of charge to persons of color to serve their communities as Doulas.

Perinatal Professional Training and Networking

We also sponsor networking and training opportunities for mental health, social service and maternal/child health professionals through certification programs and continuing education opportunities.

Photo by Linda Jones

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.

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.


  • As advocates for mothers and babies, we seek to ensure that all childbearing persons are treated with dignity and respect during the 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 (Begins August 2019)

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 (September 2019)

A 4-week series of classes on preparation for childbirth, for pregnant women and partners, will be held on Saturdays, Sept. 7, 14, 28 and October 5 (no class Sept. 21st) from 10:00 am to 1:30 pm. Class is free for all who have Medi-Cal. Register Now



Perinatal Support Specialist Training and Certification Program (Fall, 2019 and Summer, 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. Instruction option to take course in Spanish. Limited scholarships are available. Learn More



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