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EHS Receives $75,000 Grant from New York's Empire Bluecross Blueshield Foundation for Postpartum Doula Care

Posted on November 10, 2023

Grant Supports Doula Program Geared Toward Improving Maternal Health Outcomes on the Rockaway Peninsula

Far Rockaway, NY (November 10, 2023) – As part of its ongoing efforts to improve maternal and infant health in New York, the Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation recently announced a $75,000 grant for Episcopal Health Services Inc.’s (EHS) Postpartum Doula Care Program, providing 120 underserved women on the Rockaway peninsula with doula services, offering compassion and collaboration while providing physical and emotional support.

“The importance of working to improve maternal care cannot be overstated,” said AnneBeth Litt, MD, chief medical director for Empire BlueCross BlueShield. “At Empire, we remain committed to supporting the critical work of partners like Episcopal Health Services as they strive to make New York a healthier, safer place for mothers and babies with innovative programs like this postpartum doula care program.”

The overarching goal of the postpartum doula program is to reduce morbidity and mortality among mothers and babies in the Rockaways and surrounding communities. Through the support of the postpartum doulas, the program aims to improve breastfeeding, decrease the likelihood of postpartum depression, support better understanding of the needs of the new baby, and improve the physical and mental health of mothers by monitoring and referring them to physicians when needed.

“Doulas have been shown to be associated with improved delivery outcomes, and better overall maternal health,” said Jacqueline Marecheau, MD, chairperson of OB/GYN at EHS. “With maternal health in this country facing increased challenges, we’re proud to offer this important program to help mothers have the best experience possible before, during, and after their delivery.”

Also available are free doula-led classes on childbirth education, baby wearing, lactation, and more, both in-person and virtually. In addition to classes, EHS offers on-call and virtual doula support and resources and referrals throughout the pregnancy journey. To learn more about EHS’ Postpartum Doula Program, visit: or call 516-308-2479.

About Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation

The Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation, the trade name of the Elevance Health Foundation, serves residents and businesses in the 28 eastern and southeastern counties of New York State. The Foundation works to address health equity by focusing on improving the health of the socially vulnerable through strategic partnerships and programs in our communities with an emphasis on maternal child health; mental health; and food as medicine. Additionally, the Foundation also responds to disasters when our communities need us the most. The Foundation coordinates the company’s year-round Dollars for Dollars program which provides a 100 percent match of associates’ donations, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbol are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. To learn more about the Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation and the Elevance Health Foundation, please visit and its blog at

About Episcopal Health Services, Inc.

Episcopal Health Services, Inc. (EHS), is a health system located on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, New York. The system provides emergency and ambulatory care to the densely populated, culturally and economically diverse, and medically underserved Rockaways and the Five Towns populations. The system provides people of all faiths with comprehensive preventive, diagnostic treatment, and rehabilitative services, regardless of ability to pay.

Media Contacts:

Stephanie DuBois (Empire)
(603) 722-3087

Rose Guerrier (EHS)
(347) 546-5242

Caption for Photo:

The Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation recently announced a $75,000 grant for Episcopal Health Services Inc.’s (EHS) Postpartum Doula Care Program, providing 120 underserved women on the Rockaway peninsula with doula services to improve maternal health outcomes. From left to right: Rachel Booth, Assistant Director of Marketing, EHS; Dr. Jacqueline Marecheau, Chairperson of OB/GYN, EHS; Dr. AnneBeth Litt, Chief Medical Director, Empire BlueCross BlueShield; and Te-Ana Souffrant, Lead Doula and Perinatal Care Coordination Manager, EHS.

327 Beach 19th Street Far Rockaway, NY 11691 | TO REACH US: (718) 869-7000