click to enlarge
Samantha Meltzer-Brody, M.D.
Here's what Triangle Medical News had to say about Dr. Meltzer-Brody:
Last year, Samantha Meltzer-Brody, MD, accomplished an unprecedented feat that has new mothers cheering her on.
As a result of her advocacy and leadership, the University of North Carolina (UNC) Health Care System opened the nation’s first separate unit solely for mothers who need to be hospitalized for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, such as severe postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis. Meltzer-Brody serves as medical director for the dedicated unit, which provides a safe and secure clinical care site for mothers and visiting babies, resources tailored to maternal needs, and programs that encourage healthy mother-baby and family relationships.
“Studies have shown that mothers housed in traditional psychiatric units have limited access to relevant programming, inadequate maternity-specific resources, and few opportunities to integrate their infant into the care plan,” said Meltzer-Brody, also an associate professor at UNC.
The unique programming includes mother-infant attachment groups; partner assistance groups, which focus on couple and family issues; spirituality groups; occupational therapy – coping strategies, mindfulness, stress and biofeedback measures; and perinatal yoga. Patients receive a follow-up plan and tools to use at home, giving them a skill set they would not have otherwise had.
“I’ve always been interested in psychology and fascinated by the complexity of the human mind,” said Meltzer-Brody, a native of Canton, Ohio, and the oldest of three daughters. “In college, I majored in biology and psychology and my internship experiences made me realize I wanted to become a physician. After college, I worked for three years in Boston, doing clinical work in psychiatry and realized this was my calling and passion.”
Meltzer-Brody and her husband, OB/GYN Seth Brody, MD, moved to North Carolina in 1996 when she began residency at Duke and he began working at WakeMed.
“I attended medical school to become a psychiatrist, and became interested in women’s mental health issues during residency and pursed this sub-specialty once I got to UNC for fellowship training,” said the mother of two.
At UNC, Meltzer-Brody initially worked as a consultation-liaison psychiatrist and spent a significant amount of time in the UNC Women’s Hospital consulting on pregnant and postpartum women with mood disorders. She has dedicated her career to championing perinatal women’s mental health across the reproductive lifecycle including depression during pregnancy and postpartum, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and peri-menopausal mood symptoms.
“Given that the prevalence of perinatal depression is 10 to 15 percent of all pregnancies, it’s a very common problem that’s often undetected and goes untreated,” said Meltzer-Brody, who established the UNC Perinatal Psychiatry Program in 2004. “I identified a significant gap in mental health services available to women at UNC during pregnancy and postpartum, and felt strongly that this needed to be addressed!”
When she’s not working, Meltzer-Brody enjoys music of all genres and attending live concerts. A distance runner for “stress relief,” she recently completed two marathons and plans on running in her third one this fall.
“I’ve been fortunate to have wonderful family and friends who are an enormous source of support,” she said. “Although life has many ups and downs, my network has sustained me over the years during the rough times.”