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Alexis Joy D’Achille Foundation Selects Allegheny Health Network for $100,000 Grant to Explore New Models for Treating Postpartum Depression

Thursday, May 21, 2015


PITTSBURGH, Pa. - The Alexis Joy D’Achille Foundation for Postpartum Depression has awarded $100,000 to Allegheny Health Network (AHN) to explore new ways to boost awareness of postpartum depression (PPD), make it easier for women to seek treatment and examine emerging models of care for this disease that affects up to 20 percent of new mothers.
The announcement was made at the Foundation’s second annual gala fundraiser, “A Night of Joy,” held April 17 at the Fairmont Pittsburgh.
The Alexis Joy D’Achille Foundation was created to raise awareness of postpartum depression, to assist women and their families in spotting warning signs, and support mental healthcare providers in Pittsburgh and beyond.
Beautiful and vivacious, blessed with a loving family and successful career, Alexis was known for her quick sense of humor and ability to put others at ease. She and her husband Steven happily welcomed their baby girl Adriana in August 2013. She soon felt overwhelmed by symptoms of PPD that she couldn’t control, and took her own life in October 2013.
In the weeks following, Steven decided to make it his mission to do what he could to stop such tragedies from happening again, and to create a legacy for Adriana to carry on in her mother’s name.
“We honor Alexis by using her story to make people more aware of PPD and help women have access to the right treatment to get them through the crisis they face,” Steven D’Achille said. “Alexis’ legacy will be one that makes a difference in the lives of countless women in search of hope and support.” 
“We’ve spent a great deal of time trying to determine the best way to utilize all the money that we have raised, and our prayers were answered with Highmark and Allegheny Health Network. They have brought just the sort of energy and focus we need to fulfill our mission,” Steven said. A group known as “Alexis’s Army” meets weekly at Allegheny Health Network’s West Penn Hospital to brainstorm and discuss new models being used to treat postpartum depression.
“We are very proud and grateful to be a part of “Alexis’s Army, and to work in partnership with the Foundation to make a difference in the lives of women suffering from postpartum depression,” said Debbi Linhart, Vice President for Women’s Health Initiatives at Allegheny Health Network. “Our vision is to bring this relatively common condition to the forefront and design a new model of care to improve access, early detection and safety, and ultimately to work toward prevention.”
Postpartum depression is a treatable medical illness that affects about 15 to 20 percent of women after giving birth. Symptoms may start shortly after delivery and continue for weeks or months. Postpartum depression can be hard to spot, because symptoms are similar to the "baby blues,” a short-lived state that affects up to 70 percent of new mothers. Only 15 percent of all women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, including postpartum depression, ever receive professional treatment.
About the Allegheny Health Network:
Allegheny Health Network, part of Highmark Health, is an integrated healthcare delivery system serving the Western Pennsylvania region. The Network is comprised of eight hospitals, including its flagship academic medical center Allegheny General Hospital, Allegheny Valley Hospital, Canonsburg Hospital, Forbes Hospital, Jefferson Hospital, Saint Vincent Hospital, Westfield Memorial Hospital and West Penn Hospital; a research institute; Health + Wellness Pavilions; an employed physician organization, home and community based health services and a group purchasing organization. The Network employs approximately 17,500 people and has more than 2,100 physicians on its medical staff.   The Network also serves as a clinical campus for Temple University School of Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.