UCSD Hearts & Hands Volunteer Doula Program

Cause Area

  • Advocacy & Human Rights
  • Children & Youth
  • Community
  • Health & Medicine
  • Women


UCSD Jacobs Medical Center9300 Campus Point DriveLa Jolla, CA 92037 United States

Organization Information

Mission Statement

To work within the UC San Diego Medical Center's patient care team as volunteer birth assistants who provide non-clinical support in accordance with each mother's preferences during her childbirth. And, to be a widely regarded, sustainable program model shown to enhance clinical outcomes and increase patient satisfaction.


Helping families through childbirth is a gift to everyone involved.
No medical training is needed, and it's ok if you haven't had a baby yourself.
Our doulas have attended the births of over 7,000 babies at UC San Diego's Birth Center and Labor & Delivery Units in Hillcrest and La Jolla since 2000.

We provide training, mentoring, and on-going support for a diverse group of volunteers who want to get experience for private doula work or for careers in nursing, midwifery, or medicine - but many of our doulas simply love guiding families through this important life experience, and don't have any other personal goals for this unique type of volunteering. We give emotional support and offer physical care and comfort during the entire birth process. Labor and birth can be many hours long. All you need is stamina and interest; we’ll teach you the rest.
This may be the most personally gratifying but challenging volunteer position you will encounter - though perhaps not a good fit for busy students and nursing mothers.
Studies show healthier birth outcomes when a doula is present. Plus, we get rave reviews from mothers, partners, and hospital staff ... we think the babies really like us too.


Would you recommend UCSD Hearts & Hands Volunteer Doula Program?
6 reviews Write a review
by Marie M. (April 6, 2023)
This program is a win-win-win: volunteers get hospital experience and learn how to be supportive; birthing families receive the benefit of trained birth assistants who stay and support during the entire experience; hospital staff have extra helping hands. It's a positive experience all-around, and it's done with the utmost professionalism.
by Sally C. (February 27, 2023)
I am beyond excited about the Hearts and Hands Doula Volunteer Program. I have recently joined the program and the training has been remarkable and truly enriching. The program staff are so kind and knowledeable and ready to help with preparing volunteers to make a meanintful difference in the birthing experience for the mother and family. Really not sure there's anything else quite like this. Beyond grateful for this volunteer program.
by Solene P. from San Diego, CA (February 22, 2023)
The UCSD Hearts & Hands Volunteer Doula Program is truly one of a kind! I have loved every minute of it, and it has been such a blessing to be able to support women in such a hands-on and direct way! The community that the volunteer program provides is so welcoming and supportive. Working with the nurses, midwives and physicians as part of a team is so wonderful and impactful. During each shift, we get to form amazing bonds with moms and help provide comfort, physical support, and companionship. I could not imagine a better program for anyone who wants to get involved in women's health or just support a mom and her baby! I cannot recommend this program enough!
by Natasha O. (February 22, 2023)
The program itself: very thoughtfully put together! The focus is centered on the birthing person and their experience, but as a volunteer I have never felt more valued and cared for at the same time. Immediately after completing the initial training I felt like I was welcomed into a new family where I kind of already knew everyone (but I had never actually met anyone before). Needless to say, I love it and I’m never leaving. As for the work we do (being doulas): there is not a more rewarding experience than to support a person during such an important and vulnerable time in their life. I was worried in the beginning that I wouldn’t be a good Doula since I have never been pregnant, but there is something instinctual about the birthing process, even for a support person, that castaway all of my doubts. We don’t know everything, but we are there to advocate, empower, and support with the tools and knowledge we are given. 10/10 recommend for anyone interested!!
by Jenna R. (February 21, 2023)
There is no other volunteer organization that I know of where you can work with Dr's, Midwives, nurses and birthing people to give them support, and be a helpful member to the birthing team. With the birthing person as our main priority to make more comfortable and confident during her labor and delivery, it is a highly rewarding position to be in. We were thoroughly trained (onboarding may take a while due to working at a hospital), given a mentor to assist us at first, and are given various opportunities to continue our education through hospital programs and workshops that nurses and Dr's take as well. The program is amazing for those who have the time to learn and dedicate to women who are giving birth. The medical staff's support is so strong for the doulas at UCSD, and coming from being a private doula, this makes our job that much better!
by Emily S. (February 21, 2023)
The moment I met the wonderful ladies who run this program, I knew I was in the right place. I've never been surrounded by people so passionate about spreading love and providing the power of presence. These women bring warmth to an environment often lacking it. At first, I had no idea if I could be a good doula for mothers in need of our services. However, volunteering with Hearts and Hands has taught me that anyone can be a doula! For anyone contemplating joining H&H, I would say that this experience has been nothing short of amazing. There's nothing more rewarding than helping momma's wear their superwoman cape <3

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