About This Group
Chair: Jenifer Holloman BS MEd
The Consumer Engagement Action Group is dedicated to ensuring that consumers are present at the policy making level when maternity care policy is being developed that could directly impact their access to a maternity care system which integrates planned home birth as an option. They hope to develop a framework where consumers can be considered part of the decision making process so that the public is engaged in medical oversight and quality improvement discussions, and policy formation. The goal is to have a consumer representative on every relevant professional board or committee that focusses on maternity care.
Activities To Date
- Surveyed US based health professional organizations that already have consumer representation at leadership levels.
- Surveyed international maternity care organizations to identify best practices
- Defined a maternity care consumer advocate
- Described the ideal consumer representative – knowledge, skills, experience and abilities
- Identified and prioritized key stakeholder organizations where consumer representation is needed.
Work In Progress
Identify and evaluate relevant maternity care consumer representative training modules. If one cannot be found it may be necessary to develop one.
- Training will teach potential consumer representatives on how to participate effectively and professionally. Training is to include communication skills, how to engage and understand research, board meeting protocols and a clear (understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a consumer advocate. Developing understanding of the challenges facing providers and communicating what home birth parents need in each of these areas will better prepare consumers to constructively share their perspective and more effectively impact decision making.
Next Steps and Future Projects
- Identify and train 2 consumer representatives
- Work with HBCS research group to do a study targeted at families who choose planned home birth so we can gather real data on what consumers need
- Document and share this group’s activities
- Identify a pool of potential consumer representatives from diverse backgrounds that can represent the birthing public.
- Include more families of color from diverse United States communities in ALL birth rights advocacy work as it relates to addressing disparities in health care and access to planned home birth
- Identify consumer speakers and participants for HBCS delegates or maternity care organizations that want to organize educational panels and discussions for maternity care providers in training. These speakers would be prepared to address health care disparities in both urban and rural communities
- Act as a bridge to the public ensuring that key information is making its way into the hands of women and families by disseminating important and relevant reports/research
We believe that increased participation by consumers in multi-stakeholder initiatives is essential to improving maternity care, including the development of high quality home birth services within an integrated maternity care system.