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A steering committee is composed of experts, authority figures, and senior stakeholders with a specific goal and clear scope of work. The steering committee is purposefully comprised mostly of doulas for this reason. It is an advisory board that:

  • ensures that all viewpoints are heard and manages any conflicts between stakeholders or departments; it brings members together to gather diverse opinions and perspectives; it interacts / seeks advice from experts, peer groups, end users, and industry professionals.

  • is responsible for advancing shared goals and measuring progress toward meeting established benchmarks, timelines, and goals. 

  • provides expert input and advises on project goals, strategy, language, guidelines, and community standards. Addresses areas of concern and problem solving with full transparency.

Guiding Principles

As it pertains to access to doula care in Maine, our guiding principles lead with an equitable and inclusive mindset. Below is information on our best practices, DEIBJ and leadership.

Best practices and guiding principles for the Maine Doula Steering Committee (MDSC) include, but are not limited to, the following principles and guidelines. This will provide a framework for pursuing this work and will inform our decision making and highlight expected behaviors.​

  • Open & Transparent Communications

    • With a goal toward deep listening and honoring that this is a large group, we want to make sure all communities and members have the opportunity to be heard. The need for diverse outreach and varied communication informs this approach. This includes the need to communicate to/with the neurodivergent populations, language barriers, cultural differences etc.  While this will frame our work in a broader sense, we also need to incorporate these varied communication styles within our own MDSC meetings. Some specific practices:

      • Recording Meetings 

        • Permission to be asked at the beginning of each meeting. 

      • Taking Meeting Notes

        • With the opportunity to email feedback and add context

      • Subtitles on for video conferencing

      • Addressing language barriers / need for translators

      • Conducting timely polls and survey to ensure MDSC members are being heard. 

        • In the continued interest of deep listening and outreach to diverse Maine populations, we will be honoring different communications styles.  One way will be to conduct polling within the MDSC  to allow us to gain a deeper understanding and greater context in a safe space. 

      • Practice Cultural Competence + Cultural Humility

        • Cultures can differ in ways they communicate; interact with others; and understand time or deadlines. We practice cultural humility .

        • Committed to fostering other accommodations as needs arise


  • Diversity

    • Proactively seeking out diverse populations within the Maine community to ensure we are hearing from as many populations that are impacted by this work and care. Develop and embed inclusive policies, processes, and practices throughout this process.

  • Equity: 

    • Cultivate health equity by understanding and addressing the impact of current disparities and inequities and how this pertains to birth outcomes and birth work.

  • Inclusivity:

    • Building intentional and sustainable inclusion practices for impacted people including race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status, physical disability status, socioeconomic level, and neuro divergences. Some examples (not meant to be a comprehensive list) include: neutral language/use of pronouns when appropriate, person first language, welcoming spaces, ongoing accommodations, removal of  barriers. 

  • Belonging: 

    • Create a working group in which participants feel accepted as their full selves, connected with one another and experience agency and confidence in contributing to the organization, its purpose and actions.

  • Justice:

    • The intention to work within an ethical framework that includes the regular examination of our practices, equitable pathways for all participating and benefiting parties, removing known barriers and the continued advocacy for marginalized, underrepresented, under-resourced populations.

Chair / CoChair

The chair or co-chairs of a steering committee liaise between all pertinent parties involved (ie. legislators) and members of the steering committee. The co(chair) needs to balance timely decision making and advancing shared goals while being cognizant of timelines and deadlines. The (co)chair works as a representative to liaise with outside parties.  In general, all direct communications would be sent to/from the co(chairs) with predetermined exceptions. 



Guiding Principles
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