Mother-Child Wellness Clinical and Research Center
The Mother-Child Wellness Center is a clinical and research program, including an embedded psychiatric clinic within the Ob/Gyn department at BMC. The goal of our program is to improve behavioral health screening for women in pregnancy, and to make mental health care during and after pregnancy more readily accessible. At the same time, we aim to engage women in research studies to expand current data on nutrition, environment, and medication in pregnancy as they correlate to bio-marker and neuroimaging outcomes in both moms and babies.
There are various influences that babies are exposed to during the in-utero period, while growing in the mother’s environment. Most importantly, the mother’s diet, illness, household setting (such as sanitation or possible contaminants), and stressors all collectively have an impact on fine tuning the development of the baby. Newborns carry the footprint of these exposures over the life course, some of which might manifest as medical or mental health disorders. These biological footprints can be studied by looking into inheritance material (DNA and RNA) or products of genes, such as proteins and metabolites (sugar, amino acids, etc.). Collectively, the methods used to identify the outlined biological footprints is called ‘omics’ science. It can help us map the interplay between newborn inheritance (genes) and the many environmental influences the mother had been exposed to during her pregnancy.
Our Research Program aims to capture these biological footprints using an ‘omics’ approach, specifically mapping various metabolites in the brain and cord blood of the newborn. We will also apply multimodal brain and body newborn imaging techniques, along with ‘omics’ research on placenta and saliva. Using this approach, we hope to identify newborns who are at risk for developing mental health issues, and build early interventions accordingly.
Our Clinical Program Objectives are to:
Implement systematic behavioral health screenings at all obstetrics appointments to capture pregnant women at risk.
Implement a mobile platform that includes screening measures, patient support groups, education, and provider contact.
Provide consultation services to women who are referred based on screening results, clinician referral, or self-report.
Design a treatment plan unique to the patient, based on her readiness, goals and timeline.
Snezana Milanovic, M.D., M.Sc.
Director, Mother-Child Wellness Clinical and Research Center
Assistant Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and OBGYN
Boston University School of Medicine
720 Harrison Avenue, Suite #1150, Office #1174
Boston, MA 02118