Jessica L. Avery

Maternal Health Policy, and Human Rights

Currently in the United States, most health care programs do not cover basic maternal mental needs. This summer, I worked on changing this injustice through policy and coalition outreach at MotherWoman, a non-profit located in Hadley, MA, which works to support and empower mothers and families through 3 pillars: community outreach, policy work, and support groups. This summer, I mobilized Massachusetts’ residents to call on their State Representatives and Senators to pass a budget line item that would give funding for Postpartum Depression (PPD) screening pilot programs in high-risk communities. I also assisted with MotherWoman trainings, which educate medical professionals on PPD so that they are informed of the signs and screening tools for PPD. When doing this work, it was paramount that I frame the programs to the needs and wants of the people affected: mothers.