Our Impact in 2023
As the Research and Evaluation team, we view ourselves as a bridge to bring the community voice into research. By working closely with program staff and MCC Advocates, our long-term goal is to build a “culture of data” at MCC.
Each of MCC’s programs begins with research and ends with evaluation. Research informs how programs are structured, and evaluation assesses the program's success.
We work closely with program staff to help demystify data and how it benefits MCC families. We accomplish this is by working with programs to understand what questions we are trying to answer and how to evaluate impact. Understanding the outcomes provides insight to help improve processes.
Research is not just about the numbers. It is an ongoing conversation. Building relationships is a crucial part of our work. Research informs MCC’s programs, and MCC’s programs inform research.
For example, you may have read about MCC's Community Doula and Lactation Program in the 2023 Annual Report. This program notably demonstrates how MCC works to help people birth with dignity. As the doulas, lactation counselors, and program managers learn from families what helps them feel empowered to birth with dignity, they share this information with us.
We also evaluated the systems the Community Doula and Lactation Team were using for their data collection and found ways to improve their processes and incorporate them into MCC’s research database. For instance, we are creating a system to match doulas and families more effectively. Incorporating more program elements into the database makes data entry more efficient, provides more quality data, and ultimately leads to more accuracy in evaluating program outcomes.
Last year, MCC doulas provided us with data from 155 births and here is what we learned:
- 95% of parents said their doula was present continuously throughout their labor and birth.
- 89% of parents had skin-to-skin contact with their baby within the first two hours after birth.
- 79% of parents were able to latch and chest/breastfeed within the first two hours after birth.
- 95% of families had prenatal visits with their doula.
Data garnered from program evaluation will be used to adjust and adapt the program and ensure its continued effectiveness for future families.
MCC is also uniquely positioned for community-engaged research. Bringing together community-centered work with our internal research capabilities, we provide an essential perspective to the ever-growing body of research on maternal and child health and early childhood development. We contribute thought leadership to many community-engaged research partnerships, serving on community advisory boards, research study teams, and as advisors to university graduate programs.
The long-term vision of the Research and Evaluation Department is to examine the disparities in the communities where MCC works to close those gaps with the families we support. MCC is actively working to disrupt systemic racism and the systems of oppression that are engrained in our culture. For our team, this means approaching research in an ethical way and working in tandem with staff and families to amplify their voices and build trusting partnerships.
Consistent, data-driven evaluation helps improve MCC’s programs and ensures that more families will have the ability to birth with dignity, parent with autonomy, and raise babies who are healthy, growing, and thriving.