Leadership Team

Executive Director

Nancy Byatt, DO, MS, MBA, FAPM

Dr. Byatt is a psychiatrist, physician-scientist, and perinatal mental health expert who is focused on improving health care systems to promote maternal mental health. She is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Ob/Gyn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She is the inaugural Medical Director of MCPAP for Moms, a statewide program that has impacted state and national policies regarding perinatal mental health and increased access to perinatal mental health care for thousands of women. Dr. Byatt has several federal grants that focus on developing and testing scalable interventions for addressing depression in obstetric settings. She frequently serves on national advisory boards and expert work groups focused on improving perinatal mental health. Her academic achievements have led to over 100 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters and national presentations and numerous national awards.

Email:
http://works.bepress.com/nancy_byatt/

Medical Director

Tiffany A. Moore Simas, MD, MPH, MEd, FACOG

Dr. Moore Simas is an academic specialist in general Ob/Gyn, physician-scientist, educator, and leader. She uses adult education principles to inform population, practice, and provider-level initiatives and interventions designed to address and improve the health of maternal-offspring dyads, with particular focus on and expertise in perinatal mental health. She is an Associate Professor of Ob/Gyn, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She is lead obstetric liaison of MCPAP for Moms, a first in nation state-wide program that enhances the capacity of front-line providers to address maternal mental health through trainings, telephonic consultation, and care coordination. MCPAP for Moms is an award-winning, sustainable and reproducible innovative service delivery model that has impacted state and national policy. Dr. Moore Simas has a federally funded research portfolio focused on addressing perinatal mental health in obstetric settings. She serves on several national advisory boards and expert work groups including the Council on Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care Maternal Mental Health Safety Bundle Work Group, the American College of Ob/Gyn Maternal Mental Health Expert Work Group, and others. Her academic achievements have led to over 100 peer reviewed publications, book chapters, and national presentations, in additional to national awards.

Email:
https://works.bepress.com/tiffany_mooresimas/

University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty and Staff

Jeroan Allison, MD, MscEpi

Dr. Allison is Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Quantitative Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he also serves as Associate Vice Provost for Health Disparities Research. His research focuses on implementation science with an emphasis on eliminating racial/ethnic disparities, and perinatal mental health. He has a twenty-year history of sustained funding from several extra-mural sources, including the NIH, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Melissa L. Anderson

Melissa L. Anderson, Ph.D. is a hearing psychologist and clinical researcher in the Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center (SPARC), Department of Psychiatry, UMass Medical School. She completed her graduate work at Gallaudet University, where she studied intimate partner violence and trauma in the Deaf community. At UMass, Melissa directs theDeafYES! Center for Deaf Empowerment and Recovery, where she provides individual therapy to Deaf clients recovering from trauma and addiction and conducts research on adapting evidence-based practices and research methods to be more accessible and engaging for Deaf sign language users. Melissa and colleagues were recently awarded pilot funding from the UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science to develop and test the first American Sign Language measure to screen for depression among Deaf perinatal women.

Arlene Ash, PhD

Dr. Ash is Professor and Division Chief for Biostatistics and Health Services Research in the Department of Quantitative Health Services at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She is an internationally recognized methods expert in health services research and pioneer of tools for using administrative data to monitor and manage health care delivery systems, including those now used by the US Medicare program. Her research reflects long-standing interests in women’s health; gender, age, and racial disparities; and quality, equity, and efficiency in health care financing and delivery.

Linda Brenckle, MS, RD, PMP

Ms. Brenckle is the Research Project Director for the Program In Support of Moms (PRISM) research study at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  She has also been a Clinical Engagement Specialist for the Provider-Based Sampling study and a Program Director for the Parental Mental Health study, both sub-studies of the NIH-funded National Children’s Study. Her research interests include maternal and child health and community-based intervention research.

Robin Clark, PhD

Dr. Clark is Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, and Quantitative Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and a faculty member in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. He specializes in the economic evaluation of health care interventions and policies. His current work focuses on efforts to manage costs and improve the quality and effectiveness of care, with a particular focus on high-cost underserved populations.

Karen Clements, ScD

Dr. Clements is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Quantitative Sciences and Senior Project Director in the Research and Evaluation Unit at the Center for Health Policy and Research. She is a psychiatric epidemiologist with over 10 years’ experience conducting health services and health economics and outcomes research. Dr. Clements has led or participated in multiple federally funded projects that used linked administrative data to examine maternal and infant outcomes, healthcare utilization, and Early Intervention program participation.

Sarah L. Goff, MD

Dr. Goff is dual boarded pediatrician-internist and health services researcher at the University of Massachusetts Medical School-Baystate. Her research centers on maternal-child health care quality, and emphasizes health care disparities, shared decision-making, and translation of evidence-based guidelines into practice. Dr. Goff uses both quantitative and qualitative methods to address issues of health care quality for women and children, and is interdisciplinary in her collaborations with natural and social scientists as well as community partners.

Sharina Person, PhD

Dr. Sharina Person is an Associate Professor of Quantitative Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  She has extensive experience in research grant development, all aspects of statistical analysis, as well as study design and analysis particularly in large-scale collaborative research studies. During her career she has developed a research interest in health equity and examining the health status of immigrant and non-US populations.

Padma Sankaran, MA

Ms. Sankaran is a Research Coordinator II at the Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Her research interests include clinical and community based mental health, ethics and regulatory affairs, and alternative therapeutic interventions. Ms. Sankaran is part of the PRogram In Support of Moms (PRISM) study team, a CDC-funded cluster randomized controlled trial exploring collaborative care strategies to best support obstetric providers and perinatal women around issues of maternal mental health.

Kelly S. Wolf Craig

Kelly S. Wolf Craig, PhD, is a psychologist and clinical researcher at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Medical Center.  She completed her graduate work at Gallaudet University, where she studied the influence of Deaf identity on body image and eating disorders.  At UMass, she provides individual psychotherapy to Deaf and hearing clients who come from all walks of life and are working toward improved mental health and creating their best life!  She is one of the recipients of a Pilot Project Program awarded by the UMass Center for Clinical & Translational Science, where she and a team of Deaf and hearing clinicians and community members are developing an American Sign Language translation of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.

Affiliated Faculty

Jamie Belsito, BA

Ms. Belsito is a Commissioner on the Ellen Story Special Commission on Postpartum Depression for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the former Advocacy Chair for the National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health.  She is a subject matter expert in maternal mental health policies on a state and federal level, and brings her expertise to the Massachusetts Statehouse and Capitol Hill to seek better maternal mental health policies for pregnant and new moms.

Kathleen Biebel, PhD

Dr. Biebel is a mental health services researcher, and the founding Program Director of MCPAP for Moms. She has served as PI, Co-Investigator, and Evaluator on numerous federally, state, and foundation funded projects focused on perinatal mental health, parenting with serious mental illness across the lifespan, community integration and family life. Her federal funders have included the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Institute of Mental Health. She has over 15 years of experience developing and implementing evidence-based programs in real-world settings, supporting health care providers to address maternal mental health, and serving mothers and families with lived experience of serious mental health concerns.

Aline Gubrium, PhD

Dr. Gubrium is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Policy at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. Dr. Gubrium is a medical anthropologist whose research focuses on reproductive health inequity and social inequality among ethnic/racial minority adolescent and emerging adult parents and families. Using a “critical narrative intervention” approach, her work assesses the potential of narrative processes, like digital storytelling, as a mechanism for group-based intervention and community-based action and focuses on the potential of the products of these processes to shift stigmatizing and shaming conversations and policies aimed at marginalized parents and families.

Margaret Hannah, M.Ed. GCEC

Margaret Hannah, M.Ed. GCEC, is Executive Director of the Freedman Center for Child and Family Development at William James College and Adjunct Faculty. She works in schools, agencies, and businesses designing, developing, and facilitating leadership programs, parent support groups, and evidence based prevention programs.  She serves on the following groups within Commonwealth of Massachusetts: Academy of Pediatrics Mental Health Task Force, Governor’s Commission on Post-Partum Depression, Commission on Behavioral Health and Upstream Prevention, and the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative Advisory.

Shannon Hennig, MA

Ms. Hennig is the Director of the Maternal Mental Health Research Collaborative, a PCORI funded project to engage women with maternal mental illness in research. She is a passionate advocate with a deep understanding of the lived patient experience and seeks to build collaborative relationships with moms, providers and researchers to improve health outcomes.

Leena Mittal, MD

Dr. Mittal is an Instructor at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Reproductive Psychiatry Consultation Service at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She is also Associate Medical Director for MCPAP for Moms, a statewide provider consultation service addressing perinatal mental health and substance use needs of pregnant and postpartum women. Dr. Mittal collaborates with statewide leaders on the development of programs to support the treatment of pregnant and postpartum women with substance use disorders.

John Straus, MD

Dr. Straus is a pediatrician and founding director of the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Program known as MCPAP.  He led the expansion of MCPAP to include MCPAP for Moms to address perinatal depression and perinatal mental illness.  Dr. Straus is currently Medical Director of Special Projects at the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership, the behavioral health vendor for the Massachusetts Medicaid program and a subsidiary of Beacon Health Options.o Dr. Straus is a pediatrician and founding director of the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Program known as MCPAP.  He led the expansion of MCPAP to include MCPAP for Moms to address perinatal depression and perinatal mental illness.  Dr. Straus is currently Medical Director of Special Projects at the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership, the behavioral health vendor for the Massachusetts Medicaid program and a subsidiary of Beacon Health Options.