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Public Health & MCH Competencies for Indigenous Community Health Workers

Developed by: 

Sharon Bernecki DeJoy – Associate Professor, West Chester University of Pennsylvania 

Tatiyanna Mintz – Student/Intern, West Chester University of Pennsylvania 

Jasmine Kahentineshen Benedict – Executive Director, Onkwehon:we Midwives Collective 

Regina Willette – NYS Licensed Midwife, Self-Employed/Retired 

Aboriginal women in the U.S. & Canada have a higher risk of poor birth outcomes. It is common for them to experience racism, cultural insensitivity, medical paternalism, the hardships of rural geography & the effects of historical & current colonization. Although medical relocation for birth is meant to provide a safe delivery, it separates the mother from her family & social network, forcing her to experience one of her most important life events surrounded by unfamiliar languages, culture, people & food. This can result in increased maternal newborn complications, increased postpartum depression & decreased breast-feeding rates. Since there has been movement toward supporting the return of birth to First Nation communities for women at low risk of complications & providing training for aboriginal midwives to provide family health services to the community, this training module for community health workers in public/community health & MCH was collaboratively developed. 


This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UE8MC25742; MCH Navigator for $225,000/year. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.