My research focuses on pregnancy and the postpartum period as both a window for future health and a teachable moment to improve outcomes across two generations. During pregnancy and the first postpartum year, mother and infant have at least 18 scheduled health care visits. These visits are frequently a woman's first adult contact with the medical system. A positive experience can empower her to advocate for herself, her children, and her friends and family, whereas a negative experience can undermine her willingness - and that of her entire social network - to access medical care. Maternity and early infant care thus provide an unparalleled opportunity to impact the health trajectory of both mother and child. My overarching goal is to develop and implement approaches to perinatal care that capitalize on this window of opportunity, thereby enabling women to improve their health and the health of their families.
I am a member of the Steering Committee for Moms Rising North Carolina, and I am actively engaged in professional organizations. I am president-elect of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. At the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, I am a member of the board of directors and of the SMFM Health Policy and Advocacy Committee. At the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, I am a member of both the Breastfeeding Expert Work Group and the Maternal Mental Health Expert Work Group, and I chaired the Task Force on Reinventing Postpartum Care.
My current work focuses on creating the care women deserve in their transitions through the 4th Trimester. The goal of this interdisciplinary work is to transform the way new families are prepared, treated, and supported.