Erie County Doula Task Force

About the Doula Task Force

The Erie County Doula Task Force was created to address the maternal health disparities seen among African American/Black women and infants during pregnancy, delivery, and the postpartum period. The Task Force was created in response to the New York State Department of Health Medicaid Pilot Project, which allows for Medicaid eligible patients to receive doula care.  


Task Force Goals

  1. Increase community knowledge and understanding of the Medicaid Pilot Project and doula services. 
  2. Train additional doulas who are representative of the Medicaid eligible community in Erie County. 
  3. Increase knowledge of practice topics for currently practicing doulas. 
  4. Increase healthcare provider understanding of doula services and the role of doulas in the birthing process. 

What is a Doula?

DONA International defines a doula as a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to a mother, before, during, and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.  

The New York State Doula Pilot Program defines a doula as a non–medical birth coach who assists a woman during the prenatal period, labor, delivery, and post-childbirth. 

New York State Doula Pilot Program

  • The Department of Health announced the launch of a pilot expansion of the State´s Medicaid program to cover doula services for Medicaid fee–for–service and Medicaid Managed Care enrollees. Phase 1 of the pilot program launched in Erie County on March 1, 2019. The doula pilot is a part of the State´s multi–pronged initiative to target maternal mortality and reduce racial disparities in health outcomes.  
  • Research suggests the use of a Doula may have a positive effect on health outcomes. The pilot will focus on Erie and Kings Counties which have among the highest maternal and infant mortality rates and largest number of Medicaid births in New York State. The New York State Medicaid Program will reimburse participating doulas for up to four prenatal visits, support during labor and delivery, and up to four postpartum visits. 
  • The Department of Health will evaluate the doula pilot for reach, effectiveness, and doula and member satisfaction. Maternal outcomes assessed will include breastfeeding rates and adherence to postpartum visits. Two surveys will be given to both doulas and the members they serve.  
  • For more information on the Medicaid Pilot Project, please visit:  

Get Involved!

If you would like to learn more about the work of the Erie County Doula Task Force or assist in achieving their goals, please contact:

Program Coordinator Autum Carter
Phone: (716) 835-9358 ext. 106