Longtime Santa Clarita resident Joy Burkhard, founder and chair of the National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health and founder, executive director and board chair of 2020 Mom was honored Thursday by the U.S. Office of Health & Human Services’ Office of Women’s Health with the 2016 Women’s Health Emerging Leader Award. Earlier this week, Cigna also awarded Burkhard with its Volunteer of the Year Award at a ceremony held in New York City.
Maternal mental health disorders are the most common complications of pregnancy and many go undiagnosed and untreated. Under Burkhard’s leadership, the non-profits NCMMH & 2020 Mom are at the forefront of raising public awareness about maternal mental health and lobbying for change in the healthcare system. The award honors her dedication to women’s health and her significant work in bringing maternal mental health disorders including postpartum depression to the national stage.
Under her leadership the organizations launched Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week including a social media campaign reaching thousands, began holding federal maternal mental health lobby days in Washington DC, are leading advocacy efforts for the Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act, currently being considered in Congress, launched a state blue ribbon commission to study maternal mental health in California, where 1 in 8 of all US births occur, trained over 600 health care professionals, and more.
The organizations’ partnership with key stakeholder groups may have contributed to such victories for the cause as the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force announcing recommendations in June 2015 and January 2016 respectively that pregnant and postpartum women should be routinely screened for depression.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, postpartum depression is the most common, yet most under-diagnosed, obstetrical complication in the country. Research suggests up to 20% of the approximately 4 million U.S. women who give birth annually will be affected by a maternal mental health disorder, including depression, anxiety and psychosis, which occur during pregnancy and up to one year postpartum. Research suggests that only about 15% of those 800,000 women will be screened and get the help they need. However, there are effective treatments for these disorders and women do not need to suffer in silence.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Office of Women’s Health. To mark that, they are recognizing organizations, individuals and partners who have helped improve the health and well-being of women and girls in the U.S. The 2016 celebration took place at The Hubert H. Humphrey Building in Washington, D.C., followed by a panel discussion on the future of women’s health, featuring experts in the field of women’s health issues.
In addition to Burkhard, other honorees included Phyllis Greenberger and Dr. Nancy Fugate Woods with the Trailblazer Awards; Dr. Hanni Stoklosa with a second Emerging Leader Award; Her Campus Media with the Partnership Award; Danni Starr and Anne Wheaton with Ambassador Awards; and Senator Barbara Mikulski with the Policy Award.
About Joy Burkhard:
Burkhard is a mental health advocate who was moved to action following the suicide of her younger brother, her own experience with anxiety after the birth of her first child and the heart-wrenching stories of loss shared by many families who faced tragedy due to maternal mental health disorders.
Burkhard often travels to speak about maternal mental health and has been invited to speak to groups like the National Institute of Health’s NIH Fellows. In addition to running 2020 Mom and NCMMH, Burkhard serves as a compliance project manager for Cigna, where she has worked for 20 years. Her experience includes engaging with regulators and others on complex, national issues like access to care. Her knowledge of the complexities of the health care-delivery system and passion for large-scale sustainable improvement projects has fueled her work in maternal mental health.
Before founding 2020 Mom and NCMMH, Burkhard had a rich volunteer life with the Junior League, serving most recently as the Junior Leagues of California State Public Affairs Committee Co-Chair and was recognized by the Junior League of Los Angeles in 2013 with their Founder’s Cup, given to just four women in 85 years. Burkhard is the mother of two elementary school-aged children and lives in Valencia California, a suburb of Los Angeles
About 2020 Mom:
Formed in 2011 and formerly known as the California Maternal Mental Health Collaborative, the nonprofit has quickly become well known for its work convening, collaborating and inspiring change in the maternal mental health field. Recognizing doctors alone can’t fix the issue, 2020 Mom looks at the common denominators in a woman’s life during this time and identifies best practices in that framework for change as part of “The 2020 Mom Project.” Recognizing the shortage of trained providers and training programs, 2020 Mom partnered with Postpartum Support International in 2013 to launch a dedicated, web-based MMH training program.
About the National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health:
Founded in 2013, the National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health (NCMMH) brings together the nation’s leading non-profits focused on maternal mental health to engage in collective impact through engagement, advocacy and awareness. Member organizations include and are not limited to: 2020 Mom (Los Angeles, Calif.), Jenny’s Light (El Dorado Hills, Calif.), Junior League of San Francisco (San Francisco, Calif.), Maternal Mental Health Now (Los Angeles, Calif.), MotherWoman (Hadley, Mass.), Postpartum Health Alliance (San Diego, Calif.), Postpartum Progress (Atlanta, Ga.), Postpartum Support International (Portland, Ore.), and Utah Maternal Mental Health Collaborative (Salt Lake City, Utah).