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Sept 2023 AHS Doula Working Group Update

AHS Doula Working Group Update

Hello from the AHS Doula Working Group!

We have a lot to share with you. Here you will find updates from the past year of collaboration and a request for your feedback on several items.

**This item requires your action

1. Committee Recap, Update, & Structure

4. Educational Document

5. In Closing


1. Committee Recap and Updates

Over the past year, due to administrative constraints, several meetings were canceled and as a result progress on these matters has been much slower than anticipated. Several meetings early on were spent discussing the doula’s role, points of common misunderstanding, and exploring the complexities of having an unregulated, privately hired support person present in AHS facilities.

Purpose: The AHS Doula Working Group was formed by AHS, in collaboration with the doulas of Alberta, in response to access concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond the pandemic, the committee has begun to address concerns, hesitancy, and misunderstandings around a doula’s presence in hospitals.

Goal: The committee’s central goal is to create and uphold guidelines and educational opportunities that better facilitate the safe and collaborative inclusion of doulas in AHS facilities for the betterment of patient experience.

Committee Structure

The current structure of the committee consists of a ‘Committee Co-Lead’ who functions as the chair of the doula side of the committee. The title of this position is to reflect that there is an AHS Committee Co-Lead. Two members from the Doula Association of Alberta (DAA) are appointed by the DAA board to sit on the committee. Two members are nominated from the wider doula community and voted in to represent the doula public not (necessarily) affiliated with any organization or association.

The current committee members have served since the committee was formed in 2021. Terms are two-years long, and current committee members have the option for an additional two-year term in their current position. The current members will remain in place until February 2024. At that time, elections and appointments will take place to update the committee roles.

Access to the committee Terms of reference can be viewed here. As the committee is an active and ongoing initiative, updates to the Terms of Reference will take place to accurately reflect the structure and collective needs of the committee.


Committee Co-Lead: Doula Tayla Malott

The doula committee co-lead will be selected by the AHS co-lead, based on their demonstrated commitment and relevant past experience. This role will become available to the community one year after the other four are selected to allow for enhanced continuity. This seat cannot be held by a current board member of the DAA in order to facilitate separation between the committee work and DAA objectives; the role may be held by a DAA general member, or a DAA non-member.

DAA Representatives: Doulas Lindsey Bowns + Tia Biggs

Two committee members will be appointed by the DAA board. These individuals may be board members or general members of the DAA. These committee members will be responsible for relaying the ongoings of the committee back to the DAA & for relaying the DAA’s perspective back to the committee.

Community Representatives: Doulas Christine Jennings + vacant

Two committee members will be selected by a community vote. This vote will be overseen by the doula co-lead & is open to the entire doula community (membership to any professional group or association is not required). This vote will take place following DAA members’ appointment, so as to allow DAA members to run for a community elected position if they desire.

We are hopeful there will be keen interest from the wider community to participate in upcoming elections for committee roles. Elections are expected to take place in February 2024, with the process surrounding nominations and elections to be detailed on the DAA website and social media channels.

Ongoing Communication

All updates about committee work, elections, and documents to review will be posted to our update page. On this page you can also subscribe for email updates as they become available.

A new email address has been established for this committee: albertadoulascommittee@gmail.com. Anonymous or unprofessional messages will not be acknowledged. If you would prefer to speak to a committee member directly and request that your feedback be shared to the group anonymously, that is welcome.

The AHS Doula Committee is committed to open and transparent communication with the entirety of the doula community. The DAA will support the committee in their communication needs by sharing key messages on social media, and emailing updates to their membership.

The AHS Doula Committee will be communicating directly through email with local doula cooperatives, midwifery clinics, and birth work partners respectively.

2. Guidance Document Review

A guidance document was produced and published by AHS to outline the non-medical role and responsibilities of doulas, while ensuring that patient safety is not compromised by their presence. The committee did not have an opportunity to give significant feedback before publication. Upon review, several important issues were identified for revision. This version of the document has been shared by AHS. Since the publication changes have been made to the document. The newest version is available for you to view here. This version will replace the current one on AHS’s website in the coming months.

This document belongs to AHS, not to the committee or doulas. As a result, the role of the doula’s in the committee is to relay feedback, and not to directly dictate changes or outcomes of this document. This working group has been very collaborative, taking care to address as many viewpoints as possible while creating a document that is meant to help healthcare providers safely welcome doulas into AHS facilities. We would like to collect your feedback on the current version:


3. Submit Your Feedback on The Guidance Document

Survey results will not be anonymous, as we are encouraging an open dialogue on all the topics discussed. We welcome differences of opinion, but expect all feedback to be respectful, well intentioned, and professional. The survey will close September 18th, 2023.


4. Education Document Review

A second and more robust document is being produced by the committee doulas as a more specific explanation of a doula’s role and interaction with families. This document belongs to the doula side of our committee and is not owned by AHS, but functions with the intention that it will be approved by AHS prior to being distributed to their staff as an educational resource. This document is currently a draft, and is subject to updates. The document and survey for this document will be sent out early fall 2023.

5. In Closing

The current committee is dedicated to our goal to collaboratively establish guidance and accountability for appropriate, respectful, and professional conduct for doulas and AHS teams supporting birthing families in acute care sites in Alberta.

Together, the committee is dedicated to providing timely and ongoing proactive communication to the doula community.

With thanks from,

Tayla, Tia, Lindsey, & ChristineAHS Doula Working Group Update







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