The Maternal Wellness Initiative (MWI) is a division of the Penn Center for Women's Behavioral Wellness (PCWBW) which operates as an integrated and co-located perinatal-mental health care program in two obstetrical care clinics in the University of Pennsylvania Hospital System (UPHS). The mission of the MWI is to promote maternal wellness through
- direct patient clinical care and education offered in the OB/GYN setting,
- professional education and training, and
- maternal mental health research that enhances maternal mental wellness during pregnancy and the postpartum period.
Services are offered as part of routine obstetrical care to the patients of the Helen O. Dickens Center at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Ludmir Center at Pennsylvania Hospital. With an ultimate goal to achieve equal health care for all populations, the program also provides opportunities for patients to participate in research to develop innovative strategies to address the many needs of mothers.
Our Program takes a public health approach to maternal behavioral wellness for the following reasons:
- It is well-documented that untreated mental health problems during pregnancy and the postpartum period can have harmful long-term effects on the well-being of the child as well as the parents.
- Untreated mental health problems during pregnancy and the postpartum period are particularly significant for low-income women and women of color who are both at higher risk for negative birth outcomes such as preterm delivery or low-birth weight newborns.
- Focusing on ways to improve the mental health of mothers and their children will add to the body of knowledge gained from previous mental health research and will provide more promising strategies to achieve equal healthcare for all women and mothers.
The MWI is comprised of a multidisciplinary team including a psychologist, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, and a licensed clinical social worker, all of whom provide direct patient care in the prenatal care setting and work as part of the overall perinatal health care team of the individual clinics where they see patients.
Sara L. Kornfield, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist, is the director of the program and provides psychotherapy at both the Helen O. Dickens Center at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and at the Ludmir Center at Pennsylvania Hospital.
Carrie Malanga, RN, PMHNP-BC is a licensed Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and provides medication management and therapy for the patients seen as part of the MWI.
Constance Brady, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker who provides therapy for patients within the MWI. Her clinical practice includes designing targeted interventions using behavioral activation, stress management, and response prevention techniques to address symptoms of anxiety and depression associated with pregnancy, perinatal loss and mood disorders.