Megan Smith, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Yale University

Smith is the Founder and Director of the nationally acclaimed Mental Health Outreach for Mothers (MOMS) Partnership®, a community-academic partnership to improve maternal mental health among low-income women through a community-driven, place-based approach.

The MOMS Partnership aims to reduce depressive symptoms in pregnant and parenting women through a two generational service delivery model that includes mental health outreach and treatment in community settings, such as supermarkets and laundromats; trained lay mental health workers who provide evidence-based treatment alongside licensed clinicians; and additional services focused on reducing the stress of poverty, including diapers, food, travel vouchers, enrollment in social services, and childcare.

MOMS interventions cost 50% less and have higher rates of treatment adherence than traditional mental health care.  In addition, mother’s participation in the workforce increases significantly following the intervention. Consistent with its two generational approach, the interventions have also shown marked decreases in parenting stress and improvement in child outcomes.

In 2019, the MOMS Partnership launched the Elevate Policy Lab, which works with government partners in the U.S. to advance family mental health as a pathway to economic and social mobility, thereby interrupting the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

The Esther A. and Joseph Klingenstein Fund has invested in MOMS since 2016.  Most recently, the Fund invested in MOMS’ expansion of its direct services work in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and the data collection and analysis of Elevate’s MOMS pilot in Washington DC.