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Faculty & Staff Honors

Rutgers: Faculty Awarded $4.1 Million Award to Evaluate Perinatal Psychiatry Access Programs

Rutgers School of Public Health assistant professor, Dr. Thomas Mackie – and Dr. Nancy Byatt of University Massachusetts Medical School – have been awarded a $4.1 million contract from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to study the effectiveness of perinatal psychiatry access programs available to pregnant and postpartum women across the United States.

PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund research that provides patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions.

Perinatal depression affects 1 in 7 women during pregnancy – or within one year of birth – and negatively impacts birth, mother and infant bonding, and children’s behavior and development. In the United States, less than 20 percent of women who screen positive for perinatal depression engage in initial psychiatric treatment and follow-up.

In response to this public health crisis, state-wide programs are being created to train perinatal healthcare providers – like obstetricians and pediatricians – with the skills necessary to treat the signs and symptoms of depression among pregnant and postpartum women. These programs, called Perinatal Psychiatry Access Programs, are being developed or used to increase access and improve quality of care for perinatal depression in at least 15 states.

The PCORI contract will examine three innovative Perinatal Psychiatry Access Programs in Washington, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, to estimate the comparative effectiveness of three program components: training, consultation, and care coordination.

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