TD Bank renews support to help expand Prisma Health’s Black Doula Program

May 13, 2024

Prisma Health’s Black Doula Program, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at enhancing maternal and birth outcomes for Black mothers, has been renewed after a successful pilot year in which it provided invaluable support to 100 mothers throughout the birthing process.

TD Bank provided a $200,000 grant to continue the innovative program, as well as the original $125,000 grant that launched the pilot program in 2023. With the renewed support, Prisma Health will expand the reach of the Black Doula Program, which provides essential resources and support to Black mothers across the Upstate and Midlands.

“We are proud to continue our partnership with Prisma Health in its efforts to address maternal health disparities in South Carolina,” said David Lominack, South Carolina Market President, TD Bank. “The impact of the Black Doula Program underscores the importance of innovative solutions in improving health equity, and we are honored to be a part of this impactful initiative.”

Since its launch, the Black Doula Program has provided small grants to offset the expense of trained doulas for 100 expectant Black mothers in South Carolina. Doulas provide essential non-medical support, including encouragement, advocacy and comfort measures before, during and after birth. This personalized support has been shown in national studies to lead to shorter labors, fewer complications, increased success with breastfeeding and overall positive birth experiences.

The program is expected to serve an additional 100 women in each of its second and third years. During this time, program staff hope to explore if the use of a doula is associated with lower rates of postpartum depression.

For mothers like Jernae Webb, her doula helped her through an excruciatingly painful period of breast feeding – but also cooked meals and cared for the baby so that Webb could spend quality time with her two-year-old and seven-year-old while her husband attended to other household needs.

“Everyone wants to hold the baby, but who holds the mother? That’s what doulas do – provide unconditional support and advocacy for the mother,” said Webb, whose son Ena was born just after Christmas Day. “As a Black woman, I really appreciated being able to work with someone who has a shared cultural understanding. It was nice working with someone who looks like me and can also understand the different challenges Black women can face.”

“I recommend a doula for any mother so she can feel more fully supported during birth or, as in my case, the post-partum period,” said Webb. “I would have especially loved having a doula with my first baby; I didn’t know any other new mothers at the time, and I was going through a lot of unfamiliar feelings that I didn’t feel comfortable sharing on follow-up doctor visits.”

Webb felt so strongly about the importance of doula support that she left her corporate job to become a postpartum doula after the birth of her second child. “It’s just incredibly rewarding work that can make a huge difference in the lives of those moms and their babies for years to come,” she added.

Dr. Kacey Eichelberger, chair of the Prisma Health Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Upstate, said, “We are thrilled to celebrate the achievements of the Black Doula Program’s first successful year. This program has the potential to be a major contributor towards addressing disparities in maternal health outcomes for Black mothers in South Carolina, and we are immensely grateful for the ongoing support from the TD Charitable Foundation. We remain dedicated to advancing health equity and ensuring that every mother receives the care and support she deserves.”

Nationally, racial disparities in healthcare contribute to higher rates of illness and death among Black Americans, with Black women three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related events, said Rashana Keller, a registered nurse/clinical educator who leads the Black Doula Program at Prisma Health.

“TD Charitable Foundation’s support of this program acknowledges these challenges and aims to improve birth outcomes by providing essential support and advocacy,” said Keller. “Prisma Health is looking to move beyond the statistics by improving the experience and outcomes for our patients.”

Shelley Sylva, TD’s head of U.S. Corporate Citizenship, said, “We know that cultivating equitable access to maternal support is fundamental to the strength and resilience of our communities. Investing in the health, well-being and empowerment of Black mothers is investing in our future. We take great pride in supporting Prisma Health’s Black Doula program.”

The program supports patients across the Prisma Health footprint by providing grants to offset the cost of doula services in the prenatal, delivery, and/or postpartum settings. Each patient chooses her own doula. Funds are distributed from Prisma Health directly to the doula of the patient’s choice and are distributed proportionally across all birthing hospitals to ensure Black women in all communities served by Prisma Health have an opportunity to participate.

Learn more about the program at:


About Prisma Health

Prisma Health is a private nonprofit health company and the largest health care organization in South Carolina. The company has 29,309 team members, 18 acute and specialty hospitals, 2,827 licensed beds, 305 practice sites, and more than 5,400 employed and independent clinicians across its clinically integrated inVio Health Network. Along with this innovative network, Prisma Health serves almost 1.5 million unique patients annually in its 21-county market area that covers 50% of South Carolina. Connect with Prisma Health on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter/X.


About TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®

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