Peer Review

Peer review brings together San Francisco Doulas to discuss their cases and learn from each other. PR is open to all SF/Bay Area doulas to participate in and be a resource for professional development and accountability.  For all SFDG members, it is a requirement to participate in a yearly peer review to ensure professionalism, quality of service, and open communication within the birthing community, and with those we serve. It provides a local forum for peer review in the case a grievance has been filed by a client, a medical care provider, or a hospital administrator. It is an opportunity for community cohesiveness and serves as a foundation when difficult situations arise. Having ongoing peer review provides a stable and trusted environment for solving problems and lending support to one another.

Beyond community support lie the professional ethical questions and concerns. Peer review adds validity to the Doula’s professional development and/or certification process. The public can know that their Doula participates in peer review, and that if a concern is raised, there is a platform for discussion and follow-up. Health care practitioners and other care providers can also know and recognize the professionalism involved in maintaining local peer review.

Guidelines for SF Doula Peer Review:
  1. Each SFDG member is required to sit on the board AND present once a year by June 30th.
  2. A member who joins in July-Dec the first 6 months, must fill the requirement by June the first year of their membership.  If you join Jan-June, you must fill requirement by June 30th of following year. Each new member has at least 6 months, but no more than 18 months to fill the requirement.
  3. Need at least 3 people to sit on the board for the peer review to happen.
  4. Members can submit outcome on their case presentation form to Peer Review coordinator. Coordinator will remove personal data so case remains anonymous post in Peer Review files with titles pertaining to that particular case.

Each case is allowed one hour. Each doula will present case without interruption. Each board member is given a chance to provide feedback.

There are two ways that the SF Doula Peer Review system will work.
  1. A Doula will present for review a case about which she has questions.
  2. A grievance case will be filed and presented for review. In this case the Doula is required to respond directly to the grievance in the company of her peers. She will ask for and receive feedback. The filer of the grievance will receive a formal response and statement of outcome after the peer review has been completed.

If a formal grievance is filed against a Doula, the first place the complaint will be addressed officially will be in local peer review. Establishing local peer review is worthwhile preparation for future problem solving.

The format for local peer review is as follows:
  • All active members of the SF Doula Group who are on the website, are required to present to Peer Review once a year, and to sit on the board once a year for their fellow Doulas. The SF Doula Group calendar year is July-June.
  • The Peer Review Coordinator will assign 3-4 Doulas per Peer Review. The Doula who is presenting must fill out a Case Presentation Form and email it to the Peer Review Coordinator who will submit it to the Board to review before the Peer Review date. This Case Presentation Form can be found here: Peer Review Form
  • Each Peer Review provides the opportunity to fulfill both requirements of presenting and being a part of the Board.
Guidelines for cases reviewed:
  1. All information is confidential.
  2. Either the Peer Review Coordinator or a Board member will be appointed the Moderator to ensure the following format is respected:
  3. Ideally 2-3 doulas will present during a Peer Review meeting and three or four board members will be present.
  4. During case review presentation everyone remains quiet until the Doula presenting the case has finished. After completion of the presentation, the Doula presenting the case is encouraged to present her own self-review, including open questions. Suggestions for this self-review include: What did I do well? What I could have done differently or better? What do I need help with?
  5. Questions are then asked and suggestions are given by the Board. Questions for the Board are much the same as for the Doula herself, and include what the Doula might do to follow-up on her case.
  6. If the case has been filed by someone outside the Doula community, i.e., a grievance case, written feedback will be given to document the process, feedback, outcomes, and follow-up measures. Doulas who present their case are also encouraged to document feedback and they learned throughout the process.
  7. At the close of a Peer Review meeting the Moderator will once again remind the attending Doulas that confidentiality is assured for all proceedings.
Contact person for Peer Reviews:

Peer Review Coordinator: Pamela Star

Contact email: