Lucy Collazo Named Healthy Start's Doula of the Year
Stuart, Fla. - Lucy Collazo, a recent retiree from the local business community, has found a whole new career through the Martin County Healthy Start Coalition’s Doula program.
In her first year with the program, Collazo helped fifteen women give birth to healthy babies, won the praise of her clients and colleagues, and earned the title of “Doula of the Year.”
“Lucy has both the skills and the compassion to make her an excellent Doula,” said Healthy Start CEO Samantha Suffich. “She is right by the mother’s side every moment with care and support, and that makes a tremendous difference in helping us achieve our goals of every baby born healthy and every mother supported, regardless of race, ethnicity or income.”
A doula is a trained non-medical assistant who provides physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during, and shortly after childbirth. The Doula program is designed to serve low-income, high-risk women throughout their pregnancy and the birth process to improve pregnancy, maternal, and infant health outcomes.
Since the program began in May 2022, Healthy Start has trained 33 doulas. In just one year, doulas assisted in 72 births. “Our doulas help us to be fully responsive to our expectant mothers,” according to Margo Keane, program coordinator. “They come from the communities we serve and they understand the needs of the women and their families. They are that crucial link between the mothers and the medical professionals.” Ten of the doulas are bilingual in English and Spanish, and four of them speak Creole.
National studies show the techniques used by doulas have a positive effect on the whole family and lead to better birth outcomes. With doula support, women tend to need less medical intervention and their babies tend to be born healthier than without this personal support.
“I first heard about the Doula program from a friend,” Collazo said. “I’m so glad that I followed up and joined the program. It’s truly life-affirming.”
The Doula training program is funded through the Lichtenberger Family Charitable Fund and Ranieri Family Charitable Fund at The Community Foundation Martin - St. Lucie along with the Children’s Services Council of Martin County.
Community members interest in becoming a Doula or receiving doula services can contact Community Doula Program Coordinator Margo Keane at email@example.com, 772-463-2888, x145.
About Martin County Healthy Start
Martin County Healthy Start is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that every baby is born healthy. It provides educational and health services to pregnant women, new mothers and their families at no cost, particularly expectant mothers who are at risk for late or no prenatal care.
Part of a statewide coalition, Healthy Start connects pregnant women and young mothers with essential services including prenatal care, home visitations by a nurse or social worker, breastfeeding support, parenting education, car seat and sleeping safety, a free diaper pantry, and access to other community partner agencies through the Betty Moore Prenatal Outreach Center. The David Cardno Father and Child Resource Center, also part of the Martin County Healthy Start Coalition, helps fathers to become more involved in parenting and offers legal assistance to fathers who are separated from their children.
The programs of Martin County Healthy Start Coalition are voluntary and available to all Florida residents at no cost.