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Keynote Speakers

We hope you enjoyed our Keynote Presentations for the 30th Annual Conference!


His Hidden Tears and Broken Heart: Attending to the Needs of Fathers Experiencing Perinatal Loss

J ColeJoanna Cole, Ph.D.

In her role as clinical psychologist and manager of psychosocial programs for the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment, Joanna Cole, PhD, supports pregnant women and families facing the diagnosis of a birth defect. Dr. Cole provides comprehensive diagnostic evaluation and counseling, ensuring that families feel emotionally supported from fetal diagnosis, through neonatal ICU discharge and the early postpartum period. Dr. Cole provides options counseling with couples struggling with pregnancy decision making, grief counseling following loss, and is a leader within the CFDT’s Perinatal Palliative and Bereavement Care Program, committed to helping families plan for and cope with the death of a baby prior to, or soon after, birth. Dr. Cole earned her PhD in Clinical and School Psychology from the University of Virginia, after completing her training in adolescent and young adult medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. She is an active member within Postpartum Support International and the National Perinatal Association, and she is currently a guest editor for a two-part series on Mood and Pregnancy for the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing.


Many Faces of Postpartum Depression:  A Physician-Scientist’s Point of View

EppersonC. Neill Epperson, M.D.

Dr. Neill Epperson is Professor of Psychiatry and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Perelman School of Medicine where she is also the Founder and Director of the Penn Center for Women’s Behavioral Wellness.  The Center’s mission is to improve women’s health through greater understanding of the impact of hormones and gender on common medical conditions.  The Center’s clinical division provides assessment and ongoing treatment for women with reproduction-related behavioral health concerns including, but not limited to perinatal depression, use of medications during pregnancy, infertility and pregnancy complications or loss. Dr. Epperson received her M.D. degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed her postdoctoral and research training in psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine where she rose to the level of Associate Professor before joining Penn in the fall of 2009.


Perinatal Distress, Psychotherapy, & Strategies of Intervention: Two Experts Agree to Disagree

Kleiman_0004c (002)Karen Kleiman, MSW, LCSW & Amy Wenzel, Ph.D., ABPP

Karen Kleiman, MSW, LCSW, is Executive Director of The Postpartum Stress Center, founded in 1988, a treatment and professional training center for pregnancy and postpartum depression and anxiety. She is author of numerous books on perinatal distress including the groundbreaking title: This Isn’t What I Expected: Overcoming Postpartum Depression (Da Capo Press, second edition, 2013) and Therapy and the Postpartum Woman (Routledge, 2009). She is creator and instructor of the premier training program for clinicians seeking to specialize in the treatment of perinatal anxiety and depression.Her work has been featured in numerous local, national and international media outlets over the course of almost thirty years and frequently speaks, teaches, and mentors professionals on the topic of maternal mental health.

Amy Wenzel, Ph.D., ABPP, is Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, an adjunct faculty member at the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and a licensed psychologist who divides her time between clinical practice, training and supervision, and practice-based scholarship. She is author or editor of 23 books, including Anxiety in Childbearing Women: Diagnosis and Treatment (2011; American Psychological Association), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Perinatal Distress (2015; Routledge), and the Oxford Handbook of Perinatal Psychology (2016; Oxford University Press). She lectures internationally on cognitive behavioral therapy, and she has been featured in several psychotherapy DVD demonstrations by the American Psychological Association.


Harnessing the Power of Social Media to Understand Postpartum Depression: The Experience of the PPD ACT APP for Screening and Large Scale Research

S Meltzer-BrodySamantha Meltzer-Brody, M.D., MPH

Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody, MD, MPH is an Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Faculty Development in the Department of Psychiatry for Women’s Mood Disorders. She also serves as the Director of the Perinatal Psychiatry Program of the UNC Center for Women’s Mood Disorders at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a comprehensive clinical and research program that includes the first Perinatal Inpatient Psychiatry Unit in the U.S.

Dr. Meltzer-Brody is the recipient of multiple NIH-funded grants that investigate epidemiologic and genetic predictors of postpartum mood disorders. She is the founder and one of the lead investigators on the Postpartum Depression: Action Towards Causes and Treatment (PACT) Consortium that developed and launched the PPD ACT App—a global initiative aimed at understanding why some women suffer from PPD and postpartum psychosis (PPP) and others do not – critical knowledge that will improve detection, prevention and treatment of these conditions.

Dr. Meltzer-Brody maintains an active clinical practice in both perinatal psychiatry and currently participates in clinical trials research in women’s mood disorders. She is recent 2016 recipient of the North Carolina Psychiatric Association Eugene A. Hargrove, M.D. Mental Health Research Award and the Arnold D. Kaluzny Distinguished Alumni Award from the UNC School of Public Health.


Making a Way Out of No Way: Cultural Strengths, Health Disparities, and Postpartum Families

Fayth ParksFayth M. Parks, Ph.D.

Fayth M. Parks, PhD is an associate professor and licensed psychologist in the Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development at Georgia Southern University. Fayth is a counseling psychologist whose scholarship and research focuses on ways diverse cultures interpret mental health, healing, and illness recovery to prevent misdiagnosing as psychopathology culturally significant beliefs and practices that can facilitate personal strengths, positive emotions, and behavior change.  She has published journal articles, essays, and book chapters on this topic as well as given numerous invited lectures, workshops, and TEDx Talks.  Fayth was appointed the 2009 David B. Larson Fellow in Health and Spirituality at The John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress.