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Dr. Nancy Byatt, Executive Director of Lifeline for Moms Program, and Dr. Wendy Davis, Executive Director of Postpartum Support International, Awarded $21 Million to Conduct Perinatal Mental Health Equity Study

Date Posted: Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Dr. Nancy Byatt, Executive Director of the Lifeline for Families Center & Lifeline for Moms Program and an iSPARC researcher, has been approved for a $21 million funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to conduct the perinatal mental health equity study, Pathways to Perinatal Mental Health Equity (Pathways).

Mental health conditions are now the leading cause of death during pregnancy and the postpartum period in the United States. It is recommended that to detect and address perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and related social inequities, screening should be implemented in both healthcare and community settings. While approaches have been made to address perinatal mood and anxiety disorders in both healthcare and community settings it is not enough. In response to this, the Pathways study will examine what happens when healthcare- and community-based teams partner to deliver care for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

Learn more about the study; read the PCORI Project Summary

About Dr. Nancy Byatt, DO, MS,MBA, FACLP

White woman with long blonde hair wearing a dark suit Dr. Byatt is a perinatal psychiatrist with the Women's Mental Health Center at UMass Memorial Medical Center, Executive Director of the Lifeline for Families Center and Lifeline for Moms, an iSPARC research program, Medical Director of Research and Evaluation for MCPAP, and a tenured professor of psychiatry, ob/gyn, and population & quantitative health sciences at UMass Chan Medical School.

Dr. Byatt’s research focuses on designing, implementing, and evaluating scalable interventions that aim to improve parental and child mental health services and outcomes. With more than 10 years of continuous federal funding for her research, her achievements have led to:
        ▪ More than 90 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters
        ▪ More than 250 presentations
        ▪ Numerous national awards

Her passion is increasing access to mental health care. Her mission is to redefine health care to include mental health care.

About Wendy Davis, PhD, PMH-C

White woman with grey hair and glassesDr. Davis is the Executive Director of Postpartum Support International (PSI) and lives in Portland Oregon. She began her career as a psychotherapist in 1987 and started specializing in perinatal mental health after recovering from postpartum depression and anxiety in 1994. She founded Oregon’s first perinatal mental health support organization, Baby Blues Connection, in 1994, became a PSI support coordinator in 1997, and was hired as the PSI Executive Director in 2009. Dr. Davis works with providers, public health systems, schools, communities, and hospitals to develop and provide perinatal mental health training curricula and services. She provides consultation and training for others who are developing their own perinatal support services.

"I am committed to listening, learning, and improving our capacity to serve all families who need our help. I am extremely proud to be part of PSI and to work with such courageous and passionate people around the world."