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Quartz: Postpartum Depression Screening at Cedars-Sinai

Quartz, an online news source focused on topics aimed at business professionals, recently interviewed Eynav Accortt, PhD, about a screening program developed at Cedars-Sinai to identify women who may be at risk for postpartum depression.

The Postpartum Depression Screening, Education, and Referral Program launched at Cedars-Sinai in 2017 with a goal of training nurses to screen all women for depression after they’d given birth and educating all patients about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, or PMADs. Nurses then referred patients who screened positive for depression to Cedars-Sinai social workers or consultation-liasion psychiatrists.  

The Quartz article points out that the program was one of the first in the nation to screen all patients, regardless of which department admitted them. By 2019, 99% of new mothers at Cedars-Sinai were screened for postpartum depression.

“The timing is important, the tool is important, and the way it is administered is important,” said Accortt.

Accortt, an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, played a pivotal role in the development of the program, which was a joint project of the Nursing, Case Management, Psychiatry and Obstetrics and Gynecology departments. Accortt now is concentrating on strengthening medical follow-up two to four weeks after delivery, with trained social workers designated to telephone women who screened positive for depression to help connect the women to therapy and other resources. She also is focused on strengthening Cedars-Sinai screenings for black women, who, the article states, are twice as likely to be depressed during pregnancy than white women in Los Angeles county. 

One key to the success of this new effort is ensuring medical staff are trained to provide culturally sensitive treatment to black female patients and their families. To-date, approximately 100 Cedars-Sinai OBGYNs, nurses and social workers have been trained. Another part of the program offers psychoeducation and support for pregnant black women who deliver at the medical center.

“For some women, this is going to be their first experience with psychotherapy, so it could be their way of dipping their toe in,” said Accortt. “If they find it to be helpful, I think it could be great later on in life when they need to reconnect with mental health, that they feel more comfortable doing so.”

Click here to read the complete article from the Quartz.

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: Beyond Baby Blues: Postpartum Depression