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Grants from Pittsburgh Foundation and Jewish Women’s Foundation Support Unique Childcare Program at AHN’s New Alexis Joy D’Achille Center for Perinatal Mental Health

Thursday, February 14, 2019

(Pittsburgh, Pa) - Allegheny Health Network (AHN) has received grants totaling $160,000 from the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Jewish Women’s Foundation to support Pittsburgh’s first professional child care program based on-site in a health care facility dedicated to women undergoing treatment for perinatal depression. The new program will provide childcare at no cost to mothers undergoing treatment through intensive outpatient programs.

“In the case of perinatal depression, lack of childcare ranks in the top three barriers followed by lack of time and stigma,” said Sarah Homitsky, MD, Medical Director, Women’s Perinatal Psychiatry Program at West Penn Hospital. “Thanks to the generous contributions of the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Jewish Women’s Foundation, this program will help enable more women and children impacted by perinatal depression to receive appropriate treatment.”

The program, known as the AHN Women’s Behavioral Health Integrative Childcare Program, will be based in the recently opened Alexis Joy D’Achille Center for Perinatal Mental Health at West Penn Hospital, a unique-to-the-region facility that offers women with pregnancy-related depression access to a spectrum of family-focused care options under one roof.

The grants will also support a therapeutic childcare option for children of mothers engaged in outpatient services.

“Studies show that maternal depression can lead to poorer maternal-infant attachment, higher rates of infant developmental delay, and increased behavioral disorders,” said Patton Van Nickell, MD, AHN psychiatrist. “Using on-site childcare as a bridge in addressing the potential needs of at-risk children will serve as an important step in achieving the best outcomes for mothers and families.”

The services, which launched in January, are provided by local startup company and 2018 Tech 50 finalist of the year, Flexable®. Flexable’s mission is to “make childcare easier in order to make life easier,” by removing lack of access to high quality, affordable childcare as a barrier to working families, employers, and other organizations. Others who wish to support the new childcare programs can contact the Allegheny Health Network Office of Development at cfrdevelopment@ahn.org or 412-578-4427.