top of page


Doula care, or the support of a trained professional during, before, and/or after birth, consistently shows positive impacts for women not only in terms of their birthing experience but also in birth outcomes. This study evaluated the impact of the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s initiative to provide community doula care to pregnant Black and Pacific Islander women through SisterWeb Community Doula Network. The program provides doula care before, during, and after birth, including prenatal visits, labor and delivery support, and postpartum visits, to eligible women delivering at San Francisco hospitals.


From 2019 to 2022, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, San Francisco worked with SisterWeb to conduct process and outcome evaluations of this initiative. We aimed to determine the impact of community doula care on a range of clinical outcomes and patient-reported outcomes, including engagement with prenatal and postpartum care, satisfaction with childbirth, and experience of respectful care. We used mixed methods and a range of data sources—program data, surveys, and in-depth interviews—to achieve this aim. The UCSF Preterm Birth Initiative funded this project.


Members of the UCB and UCSF research team meet with SisterWeb leaders for the first monthly meeting in April 2019.

Members of the UCB research team meet with SisterWeb leaders at SisterWeb's cottage garden in March 2022.

Process Evaluation Report
Black doc and patient

From 2019 to 2020, the SHARE Program partnered with SisterWeb Community Doula Network and UCSF to conduct a process evaluation of two of SisterWeb's programs during their first year of operation.

Publications from process and outcome evaluations

Nguyen A, Arteaga S, Mystic M-I, Cuentos A, Armstead M, Arcara J, Jackson AV, Marshall C, Gomez AM. Supporting birthing people and supporting doulas: the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on a Community-Based Doula Organization in San FranciscoHealth Equity. 2023;7:1;356–363.

Reed R, Nguyen A, Armstead M, Cuentos A, Mystic M, Arcara J, Jackson AV, Marshall C, Gomez AM. “An extra layer of pressure to be my best self”: Healthcare provider perspectives on how doulas foster accountability and bridge gaps in pregnancy-related careSSM - Qualitative Research in Health. 2023;3:100259.

Arcara J, Cuentos A, Abdallah O, Armstead M, Jackson A, Marshall C, Gomez AM. What, when, and how long? Doula time use in a community doula program in San Francisco, California. Women’s Health. 2023;19.

Arteaga S, Hubbard E, Arcara J, Cuentos A. Armstead M, Jackson A, Gomez AM, Marshall C. "They're gonna be there to advocate for me so I'm not by myself": A qualitative analysis of Black women's motivations for seeking and experiences with community doula care. Women and Birth. 2023;36(3);257–263.

Marshall C, Arteaga S, Arcara J, Cuentos A, Armstead M, Jackson A, Gómez AM. Barriers and Facilitators to the Implementation of a Community Doula Program for Black and Pacific Islander Pregnant People in San Francisco: Findings from a Partnered Process EvaluationMaternal and Child Health Journal. 2022;26(4):872-881.

Gómez AM, Arteaga S, Arcara J, Cuentos A, Armstead M, Mehra R, Logan RG, Jackson AV, Marshall CJ. “My 9 to 5 Job Is Birth Work”: A Case Study of Two Compensation Approaches for Community Doula CareInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021;18(20):10817.

bottom of page