Erik Fernandez y Garcia, associate professor of clinical pediatrics at UC Davis Children's Hospital, has been appointed a commissioner on the California Task Force on the Status of Maternal Mental Health Care. The formation of this group was announced at a press conference today, presented by 2020 Mom (formerly the California Maternal Mental Health Collaborative) and the Central Valley Health Policy Institute at Fresno State.
The Task Force will operate like a blue ribbon commission: a group of experts representing key stakeholder groups, formed to study a particular topic and make recommendations. The Task Force will meet for a period of one year, to address gaps in services and policy related to Maternal Mental Health in California, and to make recommendations for improvement. The Task Force consists of more than 20 appointed members.
"I believe that my perspective will be valuable to the commission because pediatric practices hold a lot of untapped promise for improving maternal depression care and my research as a pediatrician focuses directly on that," said Fernandez y Garcia. "As a Sacramentan, I feel that it is my responsibility to improve maternal mental health care here in the capitol, but also welcome the chance to do so on a statewide level. The commission is made up of leaders in the field and I am honored to be included among them and have the chance to work synergistically to improve the lives of so many women and children."
Fernandez y Garcia has been an advocate for maternal mental health issues in the Sacramento region. He helped develop a new intervention that identifies potentially depressed mothers and encourages them to seek treatment. The Motivating our Mothers (MOM) program takes a unique approach, relying on pediatricians in addition to the mother’s doctor, to increase a mother's reception to depression care.