Grant Application

Meredith Annon, CNM, and Suzanne Shores, CNM, of Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC


Proposed Innovation

Perinatal mood disorders is the most common complication of pregnancy. Left untreated, they can have significant long-term negative consequences on the mother, fetus, infant, and family. But accessing care is challenging for expectant and new mothers. Appointments with mental health providers are limited, resulting in delays in treatment or referrals to emergency services at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC — all of which can lead to additional challenges for the patient and health care system.

The Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder program is a pilot project designed to bridge the gap between obstetrical care and long-term mental health care by providing counseling through the use of telemedicine and specially trained midwives.


Improvements in Action

Currently, three of the 10 midwives practicing with Midwives at Magee are certified in perinatal mood disorders (anxiety and depression). Through this grant from the Beckwith Institute, additional midwives will become certified and a continuing education program will be established. Telemedicine will be used to provide patients with increased access to mental health services. During the one-year pilot program, a trained mental health professional will provide guidance and consultation to the midwives.

The goal of the program is to identify women with a mood disorder and complete an intake visit within three days. The midwives will provide frequent counseling sessions and medication prescriptions (if indicated) for up to 12 weeks, serving as a bridge until the patient is able to establish long-term care with a mental health provider or psychiatrist.


Results — In Progress

The Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder program will act as a safety net, providing pregnant and new mothers with the immediate counseling and medication needed until they are able to transition into long-term treatment with a psychiatric or behavioral specialist.