ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Perfectly planned one week before Mother’s Day, and on the final day of Maternal Mental Health Awareness week, Senator Samra Brouk hosted the second annual community baby shower, designed to be a one-stop-shop for new and expecting families.

Sunday afternoon, parents and little ones alike gathered at the Ryan R-Center on Webster Ave for the event, which featured more than 30 community-led organizations, aiming to bridge the gap in care and services.

“We have organizations here who can tell you about doula care during the birthing process, we have organizations here who can help you with breastfeeding,” Senator Brouk said. “We have organizations that can help you find childcare, and also we have over thousands and thousands of diapers, and wipes and baby clothes. If you do have that need, we’ve got you there too.”

“It’s important to be here today because every birthing family deserves to have a joyful and safe birth and postpartum period,” HealthConnectOne Executive Director Twylla Dillion said. “It’s vital that they understand the work that doula’s do, that’s something that HealthConnectOne advocates for across the country.”

The baby shower also featured a panel discussion on doula care while educating the community about the important work they do. A doula is a non-clinical support person who provides childbirth education, comfort measures, advocacy and educates families on how to speak up for themselves.

Increasing access to doula care under Medicaid is something the Senator, a mom herself, has been advocating for in the state budget.

“Unfortunately, in this country a lot of racism is embedded into the healthcare system and doulas are able to help mitigate some of that harm by encouraging birthing people to say they don’t agree with something, or to understand when a measure may not be appropriate for them,” Dillion said.

“We have so much to learn, and we have so much to give to each other, right – so what we really want to do is really be able to make sure we are loving on our community,” Royalty Birth Services Panelist and Owner Phyllis Sharp. “I’m born and raised in Rochester, here on the east side, and a part of the west side, but love the city and educate and empower them.”

Senator Brouk’s Senate Bill calls for the establishment of a work group to set reimbursement rates for doulas in the state Medicaid program. The proposal calls for that reimbursement rate.

The Senator’s proposal for doula care for Medicaid enrollees calls for a reimbursement rate of $1,930 per patient.

According to the Senator’s office, out-of-pocket costs for doula care can vary, with an average range of $800 to $2,000.