Dr. Spinelli received her medical degree from Cornell University Medical College after a 15 year career in obstetrical nursing. She received additional training at the Mother-Baby Postpartum Unit of the Maudsley and Royal Bethlem Hospital in London. She then completed her Residency in Psychiatry at Cornell and completed a Post-doctoral Research Fellowship at Columbia.
Dr. Spinelli’s clinical, teaching, research activities and publications have focused on psychiatric disorders during pregnancy and the postpartum periods. Spinelli’s NIMH funded research is on depression during pregnancy (“Interpersonal Psychotherapy At Three New York City Sites”). The study is a 12 week bilingual intervention for Latina, African-American and Caucasian pregnant women with major depression. The study has a strong focus on the social support and economic status of minority women and how this impairs their ability to receive treatment. The patients are treated in primary care settings at the departments of maternal fetal medicine at Cornell, Columbia and St. Luke’s. The goals of the study are 1) treatment of prenatal depression 2) ability to prevent postpartum depression 3) effect of psychiatric illness on the mother-infant bond 4) the feasibility of obtaining treatment for women of various races, ethnicity and socioeconomic status and 5) effect of bringing the psychiatrist into the obstetrical clinics and primary care.
Dr. Spinelli is a consultant for the New York State Dept of Mental Health’s perinatal project. The importance of her work as a perinatal psychiatrist has gained her national and international recognition.
Dr. Spinelli’s work on postpartum mental disorders has also focused upon infanticide in women with mental illness. Her book, “Infanticide: Psychosocial and Legal Perspectives on Mothers who Kill (American Psychiatric Press, 2002) was recognized when Dr. Spinelli was awarded the prestigious Manfred S. Guttmacher Book Award for “outstanding literary contribution to psychiatry and the forensic sciences” in the 2004 from the American Psychiatric Association and the American Association of Psychiatry and the Law.
She is the Director of the Maternal Mental Health Program at the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia and a Research Psychiatrist at the New York State Psychiatric.Return to List