The Doula Program recruits, screens, specially trains, carefully matches and supervises Doula Volunteers who visit individuals facing life threatening illness in area hospitals, healthcare facilities (nursing homes/assisted living) and at home.

Doula Volunteers visit weekly with one individual until he or she dies. These meaningful relationships last weeks, months and years.

Our specially trained Palliative Care Doula Volunteers visit several individuals weekly in hospitals.

Hundreds of individuals facing the end of life have been less alone as a result of a Doula Volunteer.

The Doula Volunteers

Doula Volunteers are compassionate men and women ranging in age from their 20's-80's, representing many cultures and religious traditions.

The Role of the Doula

  • Doula Volunteers visit and commit to a relationship with individuals at end of life who often have few close friends or family.
  • Doula Volunteers offer an ongoing relationship and get to know another individual beyond their illness.
  • The Doula Volunteer assigned will visit weekly, as illness progresses until this individual dies.
  • The Doula Volunteer will visit this individual if they change location or are admitted into the hospital.

See more information on Requesting a Doula Volunteer.


1-on-1 Doula Volunteer Model: Doula Volunteers are assigned to visit one person living at home or in a healthcare facility, and will visit weekly until the person dies. The Doula Volunteers commit to visiting one individual once a week for a minimum of one hour (or as tolerated). The Doula Volunteer will continue to visit if location or services change or the person is admitted into the hospital.

Palliative Care Doula Volunteer Model – Hospital Inpatient Palliative Care Service: Doula Volunteers are assigned to hospital based Palliative Care services and will visit several patients during their 1-2 hour weekly visit. Doula Volunteers may see the patient only once, or many times over several months.


Referral Criteria: Each referral of a patient/client is assessed individually.

  • The person has a life-threatening illness or multiple chronic illness'
  • The person has limited support from family and friends; or could benefit from a relationship with a Doula Volunteer
  • A professional is monitoring the needs of this person as their illness progresses
  • Memory impairment is individually assessed
  • This person has been consulted and would like a "volunteer visitor"

To request a Doula Volunteer, please contact Laurie Massry or 212-706-0398. We speak with staff to ensure that the right match is made with a Doula Volunteer.

The Doula Program has collaborated with a wide range of local New York area community, social service and healthcare organizations that refer patients/clients in need of a Doula Volunteer.

Our clients have included: Mount Sinai Medical Center's Palliative Care Service, Bellevue Hospital Palliative Care Service , NYU Medical Center , Columbia Presbyterian Hospital Palliative Care service, Lenox Hill House Calls Program, Mount Sinai Senior Health, Greenwich house, The New Jewish Home, SAGE, Self Help, MJHS Hospice, Calvary Hospice, Dewitt Nursing Home, Marble Collegiate Church, and Dorot.


The Doula Volunteer training is conducted over an eight week period.

This unique interactive training is designed and led by professional staff with expertise in end of life issues. The training emphasizes the awareness of the impact of social, spiritual, cultural and religious factors on our experiences around end of life. Learning occurs through participation in experiential exercises, readings and discussion.

To learn more, please contact contact Laurie Massry

Doula Volunteer Continuing Education & Support

Once Doula Volunteers have been assigned, they participate in continuing education training and are supervised individually by Doula Program professional staff.

Doula Meetings

Doula Volunteers are encouraged to attend regular meetings. These meetings are facilitated by professional staff. All volunteers are invited to attend whether or not they currently are visiting a patient.

Doula Program Annual Events

Annual Memorial Dinner/Service: An annual winter gathering of Doula Volunteers is held to remember those who have died during the year. In addition to acknowledging Doula Volunteers' service, the gathering is an opportunity for Doula Volunteers to meet or reconnect with other volunteers.

Annual Picnic: Each summer, we have a Doula Program celebration where the Doula Volunteers come together and have the opportunity to reflect, share readings or experiences, and be part of the Doula Volunteer community.