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The Road to Equity: Creating System Change to Address Perinatal Mental Health and Improve Access to Care


Summit Goal:

To communicate PNQIN quality improvement project updates with statewide perinatal teams and partner organizations. PNQIN’s current initiatives are focused on eliminating racial and ethnic inequities in maternal and neonatal outcomes.


Learning Objectives:
  • Describe short- and long- term goals of PNQIN and collaborators’ equity-focused projects.
  • List examples of equity actions to improve maternal and neonatal care and outcomes.
  • Implement strategies to disaggregate data by race and ethnicity to identify the needs of subpopulations and drive equitable change.
  • Identify the opportunities for screening for mental health diagnoses across the perinatal period and describe strategies to address positive screens.



In the coming weeks, the Four Points by Sheraton Norwood Hotel and Conference Center will experience a new traffic pattern within their parking lot to accommodate for the ongoing construction of a next-door building.  The entrance off of Route 1 will remain open as an entrance and exit. Upon pulling in the parking lot from Route 1 and heading towards the Tiffany Ballroom, there will be a one-way traffic signal directing traffic for a temporary basis during this phase of construction. This will allow for the safe movement of vehicles around the building with having one lane of moving traffic. There is also a secondary entrance/exit in the back of the hotel off of Pleasant St. in Norwood. This will give direct access to the Tiffany Ballroom parking lot.


We please ask for everyone’s cooperation, understanding and patience during this time period while being fully transparent that there could be a few extra minutes added to your commute.


Please do not hesitate to reach out to the Four Points by Sheraton Norwood sales office directly – 781-255-3159 with any questions.

Quick Details

Date December 11th 2023, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Four Points by Sheraton Norwood


December 11th, 2023
Registration & Continental Breakfast

Outside the Tiffany Ballroom. PNQIN partners will have tables with materials available!

PNQIN Welcome & Introduction

Christin Price, PNQIN Administrative Director

Advancing Perinatal Health: Bridging Gaps and Forging Equity

Dr. Robert Goldstein, Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Perinatal Mental Health Patient Safety Bundle and Resources to Support Implementation

Tiffany Moore Simas


PNQIN partners will have tables with materials available. 

An Interdisciplinary Parent Mental Health Program in the NICU: The Brigham and Women’s Health Model

Cindy Liu, Leena Mittal & Abigail Takesian

A Health System’s Approach to Health Equity: Courage, Intentionality, Organizational Transformation

Thea James

The PNQIN Maternal Equity Bundle: Optimizing Racial Equity Action Across Massachusetts

Audra Robertson Meadows, PNQIN Co-Chair and Maternal Equity Bundle Lead


Buffet style, options available for: vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free. PNQIN partners will have tables with materials available. 

The Family Voice

Jessica Paulino

Social Determinants of Health Screening and Referral Project: The Baystate NICU Experience

Kate Murphy

Levels of Maternal Care for Reducing Severe Maternal Morbidity in Massachusetts

Barbara Fain & Godwin K. Osei-Poku


Snacks and beverages served starting at 2pm. PNQIN partners will have tables with materials available. 

Postpartum Blood Pressure Monitoring Panel

Kathaleen Barker, Saba Berhie & Megan O’Brien

New Policies for Urine Drug Testing in Pregnancy

Erica Holland & Megan Miller

Updated Breastfeeding Guidelines for Substance Use Disorders

Katherine Standish

Closing Remarks

Ron Iverson, PNQIN Co-Chair & Christin Price

Featured Speakers

Dr. Robert Goldstein Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Robert Goldstein, MD, PhD was appointed Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health by Gov. Maura Healey in April 2023. A physician specializing in infectious diseases, Dr. Goldstein oversees a workforce of more than 3,200 individuals committed to health equity and dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of people across the state, preventing illness and injury, and maintaining strong and vibrant communities. He previously served as Senior Policy Advisor at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he focused on public health emergency response, infectious diseases, and strategic policy initiatives. Prior to his work at CDC, he founded and was Medical Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Transgender Health Program, a clinical resource offering a safe and affirming environment for the transgender and nonbinary community.

Tiffany Moore Simas UMass Memorial Health

Tiffany Moore Simas MD, MPH, MEd is the Donna M. and Robert J. Manning Chair of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Professor of Ob/Gyn, Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Population & Quantitative Health Sciences at UMass Chan Medical School/UMassMemorial Health. She is the founding Obstetric Engagement Liaison of the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Program (MCPAP) for Moms and the obstetric director of Lifeline for Moms. She partners with and advises professional, advocacy, and governmental organizations to advance the equitable care of all pregnant and postpartum individuals. She will be leading PNQIN’s implementation of the AIM Perinatal Mental Health Conditions bundle.

Cindy Liu Brigham & Women's Hospital

Cindy Liu, PhD is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, the Director of the Developmental Risk and Cultural Resilience Program within the Departments of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and a licensed clinical psychologist. She also directs the NICU Parent Mental Health Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Her research focuses on stress, mental health, and health disparities across the lifespan including the perinatal period and young adulthood.

Leena Mittal Brigham & Women's Hospital

Leena Mittal, MD, FACLP, is the Associate Vice Chair for Diversity Equity and Inclusion and the Chief of the Division of Women's Mental Health at in the Department of Psychiatry at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and an Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Mittal also serves as the Medical Director for Equity, SUD and Community Partnerships for the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Program for Moms (MCPAP for Moms), an innovative statewide consultation service for providers seeing pregnant and postpartum women with mental health and substance use conditions.

Abigail Takesian Brigham & Women's Hospital

Abigail Takesian is a parent mental health therapist serving families in the NICU at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Simmons University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Denver. Her professional background is psychiatric social work, having spent years providing therapy to children and families with diverse needs in Maine, prior to relocating back to Boston.

Thea James Boston Medical Center

Thea James, MD, MPH, MBA is Vice President of Mission, Associate Chief Medical Officer and Co-Executive Director of the Health Equity Accelerator at Boston Medical Center. As vice president of mission, Dr. James partners with caregivers throughout BMC and coordinates BMC’s relationships and strategic alliances with a wide range of local, state, and national organizations and partners, to meet the full spectrum of essentials that enables patients and communities to thrive. The intentionality is to foster a strategic ecosystem of growth, transformation, and effective models of care that are rooted in equity, and economic inclusion and economic mobility. Dr. James’ passion is in Public Health both domestically and globally.

Jessica Paulino The EMA Project and Golden Flor Wellness

Jessica Paulino is passionate about helping others. She is a mother, doula, yoga teacher, facilitator, community organizer, and an advocate for Maternal Health and Migrant Rights. She is the daughter of Dominican immigrants, raised between Boston and the Dominican Republic. Jessica is a proud graduate of the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science, Massachusetts Bay Community College and Boston University. She is active in many organizations, including as a board member for TAGa and Propa City Community Outreach, and is a member of the Mind the Gap Coalition for the Moms Matter Act. She finds solace and inspiration in activities that nurture her well-being, like cooking, dance, meditation, yoga, and travel. She cherishes the opportunity to connect with others and make a difference in the world.