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FEMA streamlines disaster assistance program; La. expands access to pregnancy doulas

Flood debris lines a street in Louisiana.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has changed to how disaster aid is given out. The move could offer survivors of natural disasters a simpler and more streamlined process to get help.

Frank Matranga, the director of individual assistance for FEMA’s Office of Response & Recovery, joins the show with more details.

A new law that went into effect in January requires private insurers to cover doula services for pregnancies in Louisiana.

Numerous studies have shown that pregnancy doulas — non-medical professionals who support and advocate for pregnant patients before, during and after they deliver their babies — improve maternal health outcomes. But until this year, they have been out of reach for many expecting Louisiana mothers.

Alena Maschke, health reporter for The Times Picayune/The Advocate, tells us more.

We could soon have more research on the Gulf of Mexico. That’s thanks to a new ship currently being built in Houma. It’s part of the U.S. Academic Research Fleet.

Eva Tesfaye, Coastal Desk reporter, tells us how the ship could fill gaps in research in the understudied region.

Today’s episode of Louisiana Considered was hosted by Karen Henderson. Our managing producer is Alana Schrieber. Matt Bloom and Aubry Procell are assistant producers. Our engineer is Garrett Pittman.

You can listen to Louisiana Considered Monday through Friday at 12 and 7 p.m. It’s available on Spotify, Google Play and wherever you get your podcasts.

Louisiana Considered wants to hear from you! Please fill out ourpitch line to let us know what kinds of story ideas you have for our show. And while you’re at it, fill out ourlistener survey! We want to keep bringing you the kinds of conversations you’d like to listen to.

Louisiana Considered is made possible with support from our listeners. Thank you!

Karen Henderson is an award-winning journalist whose stories have aired nationally on NPR.