About the MOMS Partnership

The MOMS Partnership is a collaboration of agencies across the City of New Haven that work together to support the wellbeing of mothers and families living in the city. The collaboration includes: Clifford Beers Clinic, the State of Connecticut Department of Children and Families, City of New Haven, Elm City Communities Housing Authority of New Haven, National Diaper Bank Network, Maternal and Child Health, New Haven Healthy Start, The New Haven Diaper Bank, and the Yale School of Medicine.

The overall mission of the MOMS Partnership is to transform the delivery of services for mothers and children through community and neighborhood-based resources that are dedicated to their wellness and strengthening generations of families.

Mission & Vision Statement


The mission of the New Haven MOMS Partnership is to transform service delivery systems for mothers and children through community and neighborhood-based resources dedicated to wellness; thereby strengthening generations of families to flourish and succeed.

Vision Statement

The New Haven MOMS Partnership imagines a world where every mother receives optimal mental health care, where her basic needs are met and where the community is responsive to her needs.

Who We Are

The New Haven MOMS Partnership is a coalition led by mothers, community-based providers, local and state government, national partners and academic institutions committed to the vision and mission of maternal and child wellbeing.

Guiding Values and Beliefs

  • We believe that family wellness first begins with mothers.
  • We believe that quality care is culturally responsive and gender specific.
  • We believe that a mother includes all women who are either pregnant and/or parenting.
  • We believe family economic security is integral to family wellness.
  • We believe that systems transformation is essential to maternal and child emotional wellness.

How We Fulfill Our Mission

  • Provide leadership and conduct research
  • Conduct mental health treatments specific to mothers
  • Develop a maternal mental health-literate, community-based workforce
  • Establish a citywide system of maternal mental health care
  • Develop an expert panel on maternal mental health and basic needs
  • Provide centralized family economic success and job readiness supports

The MOMS Partnership Concept Paper

The MOMS Partnership Concept Paper describes the philosophy and program model of the MOMS partnership. The MOMS theory of change rests on the premise that improvements in mental health for Mothers vastly improve outcomes for their children. Additionally, we believe that that improvement in mental health is connected to addressing issues of lasting poverty alleviation and improving access to basic need resources and economic security.

MOMS Partnership Team

Megan V. Smith, MPH, DrPH, Principal Investigator and Director

Megan V. Smith, MPH, DrPH, is an Assistant professor of Psychiatry, Child Study and Public Health at the Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Smith conducts clinical and community-partnered research in the area of maternal and child mental health and racial, ethnic and gender-based disparities in mental health and illness and teaches in the Yale School of Public Health. Dr. Smith serves on the Mood Disorders Literature Review Subgroup, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) of the Gender/Cross Cultural Study Group, the State of Connecticut Maternal and Child Health Advisory Committee and is the Principal Investigator of the New Haven Mental health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) Partnership, a community-academic collaboration to create citywide systems for low-income mothers and their children in New Haven, Connecticut. She is a current recipient of a Building Interdisciplinary Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) career award from the National Institute of Health, Office of Research on Women’s Health and Young Investigator Awards from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression and the North American Society for Psychosocial Obstetrics & Gynecology. Dr. Smith also serves as a board member of the National Diaper Bank Network and co-chairs the Yale School of Medicine Program on the Psychobiology of Parenting and Partnerships.

Joanne Simiola, COO and Associate Director

Joanne Simiola is COO and Associate Director, Department of Psychiatry in the New Haven Mental Health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) Partnership at Yale School of Medicine at Yale School of Medicine. She has a breadth of experience and knowledge in strategic development and management. With a focus to detail, she is data-driven with financial development, risk management, client service, high performance team management and efficient operations. Joanne is the proud mother of two amazing community-minded daughters and three grandchildren.

Curtis Antrum, Communications Coordinator

Curtis Antrum is the Communications Coordinator in the New Haven Mental Health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) at Yale School of Medicine. He received his undergraduate degree in Public Health at The Johns Hopkins University. As the Communication Coordinator, Curtis works to increase the MOMS Partnership’s reach by exploring new methods community outreach and engagement with the New Haven and outside communities. Curtis believes that male advocates play a unique role in providing support and increasing opportunities for mothers and families. He enjoys that fact that the MOMS Partnership challenges the stigma of mental illness within minority communities. Curtis is a lifelong resident of New Haven. In his spare time, he enjoys attending concerts, coaching high school football, and spending time with his dog.

Ruth Arnold, Project Manager, MoMba Live Long

Ruth Arnold is the project manager of MoMba Live Long. She is a sociologist who has been conducting research in New Haven for the past 15 years, most recently on projects that use smartphone technology to improve the lives of women and their families. Ruth is the mother of two and enjoys long walks, reading, and volunteering in the community. She is also a master four leaf clover finder.

Gweniver S. Bell, Site Coordinator

Gweniver S. Bell comes to the MOM’S Partnership from the Maternal and Child Health Division of the New Haven Health Department. Gwen is a dedicated Human Services professional with over 14 years of experience providing client centered, non-judgmental case management, client support and advocacy for vulnerable, high risk, diverse families. Gwen has held the position of Outreach Worker with the CT Healthy Start program and has worked as a Home Visitor for the Nurturing Families Network at both the Health Department and the Cornel Scott - Hill Health Center. She has extensive experience providing support for young parents and has worked as a HUSKY Liaison, assisting clients with obtaining health insurance. Gwen is also a Certified Application Counselor for ACCESS Health CT. Gwen holds a Family Development Credential, is trained and certified in Parents as Teachers, Ages and Stages, Touchpoints, Shaken Baby Syndrome and NFN Network in Action. Gwen is a proud mother and grandmother and is excited to join the MOMs partners as a HUB site coordinator. Gwen’s family is her inspiration and motivation to give back to the community. She thinks of them as her ‘heroes”. When she isn’t hard at work she enjoys being able to paint, draw and read.

Laura Callinan, Statistician

Laura Callinan supports the New Haven Mental Health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) Partnership through data collection, organization, management and analysis. Inspired by her mother’s work in public health, Laura pursued a Master of Public Health at Emory University. Her love of numbers and strength in statistical analysis led her to a career as a statistician. She enjoys cooking and spending time outside with her husband and active little boy.

Kari Cifarelli, Clinical Research Manager

Kari Cifarelli is Clinical Research Manager Department of Psychiatry in the New Haven Mental Health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) Partnership at Yale School of Medicine. Kari has worked in the clinical research field for the past 8 years focusing on women’s mental health. Kari currently works on supporting the research mission of the MOMS Partnership, and to provide the utmost of quality service to study staff and participants.

Ashley Clayton, Evaluation Manager

Ashley Clayton, MA, is the Evaluation Manager in the New Haven Mental Health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) Partnership at Yale School of Medicine. Trained as a community psychologist, her primary responsibilities include evaluating the implementation and effectiveness of various mental health interventions in the New Haven community. Ashley ventured into the field of community psychology through determination to use her first-hand experience with mental illness for good and her dedication to social justice. She is the managing editor for an online arts and literary magazine, The Perch, which publishes pieces by writers and artists dealing with issues of mental health in the community and personal journeys throughout life. A native of the Bluegrass State, Kentucky, Ashley misses the rolling hills and delicious pies of the south but is coming to enjoy life in New England. She can usually be found curled up with a good book, throwing impromptu dance parties, or getting her hands dirty in her garden. She lives in New Haven with her husband and kittens.

Vanessa A. Colon, Community Mental Health Ambassador

Vanessa A. Colon is a Community Mental Health Ambassador in the New Haven, Mental Health Outreach for Mothers (Moms) at Yale School of Medicine. Vanessa is bilingual and has over six years experience being a proactive member in the New Haven, Community. Vanessa is excited to now work with mothers in the New Haven community; while connecting them to resources that are of benefit to help these moms grow and promote healthy relationships in their lives. Vanessa pursued a Bachelor's Degree from Southern Connecticut State University, majoring in the psychology and sociology fields. With plans to continue furthering her education, Vanessa is ecstatic to perform such a role in her hometown to empower women to grow and attain healthy relationships. As a mother of one and a New Haven Resident, it has become my great desire to bring courage, well-being and overall growth to families in the New Haven community.

Cerella Craig, Community Mental Health Ambassador

Cerella Craig is a Community Mental Health Ambassador in the New Haven Mental Health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) at Yale School of Medicine and a graduate of the University of Connecticut. Cerella holds a BS in Health and Social Inequalities, and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Health. As a Community Health Ambassador, she has the dual role of assessing the needs of mothers in New Haven, and linking them to the resources that can help meet those needs, thus creating a pipeline to improving mental health and reducing health disparities in the city.

Ana Luisa B.T. Dau

Ana Luisa B.T. Dau is a postgraduate associate at the Yale Child Study Center. She has a Masters in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology from the University College London and has practiced as a clinical psychologist in Brazil before coming to the United States. While practicing in Brazil, she was always engaged in volunteer work, as well as in doing clinical work in public hospitals and public health care centers. Ana has always been interested in early childhood development, as well as in the impact of maternal mental health on attachment and infant development. In her spare time she loves dancing ballet, baking, traveling and spending time with her friends.

Stacy Downer, Community Mental Health Ambassador

Stacy Downer is a Community Mental Health Ambassador in the New Haven Mental Health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) Partnership at Yale School of Medicine at Yale School of Medicine. Stacy has a passion to help correct the woes of mothers in her hometown, New Haven, CT. As a mother of three, she has experienced first- hand, how the power of support, encouraged fortitude and access to resources can enrich, empower and strengthen the lives of an entire family through a healthy mom. Stacy is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree at Albertus Magnus College.

Rachel Ebling, PhD, Program Development Manager

Rachel Ebling, PhD, is Program Development Manager at the MOMS Partnership. She leads the development and implementation of several programs, including a curriculum that teaches CBT skills for the workplace (‘Personal Skills for Work Success’) and an upcoming parenting intervention that uses video feedback to enhance parent-child interactions. Rachel is a clinical psychologist with over ten years of experience in the development and evaluation of clinical/community programs that focus on family relationships and mental health. She has worked with the MOMS Partnership since 2013.

Ilaria Filippi

Ilaria Filippi, Licensed Marriage Family Therapist, is the Director of Specialized and Clinical Community Based Programs at the Clifford Beers Clinic in New Haven. She has worked in community mental health for the past 10 years and currently oversees multiple programs, both in office and in the community, that address complex trauma.

Cassandra Herrera, Community Mental Health Ambassador

Cassandra Herrera of the Clifford Beers Clinic is a Community Mental Health Ambassador with the New Haven Mental Health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) Partnership. Cassandra is proudly raising her family in the Westville Manor Neighborhood. She has a passion for engaging, supporting and advocating for women and families in the New Haven community. She demonstrates strong peer leadership within the Housing Authority as an active leader and family advocate through her roles as McChanoughy Terrence and Westville Manor Food Pantry Coordinator, Baby Buddy Mentor and TRC Board Treasurer.

Suzan Henriquez-Whitted, Community Mental Health Ambassador

Suzan Henriquez-Whitted is a Community Mental Health Ambassador with MOMS Partnership and has a Bachelors in Psychology from Liberty University. Suzan has worked in the human services field for over 15 years and has several trainings in Trauma and Crisis. She is currently working on her Master’s in Trauma and Crisis Counseling. Suzan was a guest speaker representing MOMS on WYBC on a panel on community mental health. With her extensive outreach and trauma experience Suzan continues to be an advocate for her community and is dedicated to inspiring moms to address their mental health needs and help create a more empowered community.

Dana Hoffman, MOMS Clinician

Dana Hoffman is a licensed clinical social worker. Dana received her Master's in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania and has over 15 years of clinical experience. She specializes in maternal, infant and early-child mental health and brings to the New Haven Mental Health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) Partnership her passion for working with individuals and families in collaborative, dynamic and community-based environments. Having trained as a doula and childbirth educator, Dana believes motherhood presents an opportunity for positive transformation and growth. She loves practicing yoga with her daughters, cooking and hearing live music around New Haven.

Heather B. Howell, Bilingual Social Worker

Heather B. Howell is a clinical social worker who has worked personally and professionally on behalf of the New Haven community for over 20 years. She enjoys collaborating with local families, problem-solving day to day needs, and building the hopes and dreams of the future. With a strong foundation of physical and emotional health, we can all grow to our full potential, and as a community, we have a unique opportunity to support each other through this growth and change. She is continually motivated by the spirit and determination of friends and neighbors, as we jointly strive to improve the well-being of our neighborhood, our city and our families. When not practicing social work in the community, she can be found exploring local parks, growing flowers and vegetables in her garden, and creating recipes in her kitchen.

Laurie Kramer

Laurie Kramer, RN, MSN, measures treatment fidelity and enters clinical data for research analysis. She has been a Yale School of Medicine Research Nurse/Associate since 2005. She has an M.S. in Nursing Administration from Hunter College-Bellevue School of Nursing in NYC, and has experience as a clinical nurse and manager in hospital, home health care and insurance company setting.

Brittany Lange

Brittany Lange is a Master's in Public Health candidate in health policy at the Yale School of Public Health. She completed her undergraduate studies in psychology and sociology at Northeastern University. Her primary interests include mental health interventions, qualitative research methodology and the creation of evidence-based mental health policy. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and cooking.

Laura Lawrence, Site Coordinator

Laura Lawrence of the Clifford Beers Clinic, is a Site Coordinator with the New Haven Mental Health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) Partnership. Laura is a mother of three. She has worked passionately for the families in New Haven County for over 25 years through collaboration, building relationships and engaging families. Laura is a graduate of Albertus Magnus College with a bachelor degree in Human Services.

Courtney McMickens

Courtney McMickens, MD, MPH, earned her undergraduate degree from Tuskegee University and her medical degree from Harvard Medical School where she also received an MPH from the School of Public Health. She completed residency in Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania and a Child Psychiatry fellowship at Cambridge Health Alliance. Dr. McMickens is interested in child mental health services and prevention, trauma, PTSD, and health disparities.

Naomi B. Pitskel

Naomi B. Pitskel, MD, is a trainee in the Albert J. Solnit Integrated Training Program in Child and Adult Psychiatry and Research at the Yale Child Study Center. She received her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience from Brandeis University and her medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. Pitskel's research focuses on the impact of maternal mental illness on parenting and child development and well-being. She is also passionate about her clinical work with transgender children and their families.

Natasha Rivera-LaButhie, Site Coordinator

Natasha Rivera-LaButhie is a Site Coordinator with the Department of Psychiatry in the New Haven Mental Health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) Partnership at Yale School of Medicine at Yale School of Medicine. Natasha is mother of 3 small children and has 3 years of experience facilitating groups in public housing development sites across the city as Community Mental Health Ambassador (CMHA) for the MOMS Partnership as well as an extensive community outreach and engagement accomplishments. Natasha is a graduate of the CT Health Foundation’s 2012-2013 Health Leadership Fellows Program. Natasha is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree at Albertus Magnus College.

Emily Samuel

Emily Samuel is a clinician at the Yale Outpatient Clinic. Emily has a Masters degree in Integrative Child Psychotherapy from IATE in London and has been practicing clinically for the past five years. She is particularly interested in the impact of maternal mental health on infant development. Emily loves the fact that she gets to play with play doh and blowing bubbles as part of her job.

Kunmi Sobowale

Kunmi Sobowale, MD, is a psychiatry resident at Yale School of Medicine. He has explored increasing access to mental health care in Vietnam, Japan, Hong Kong, mainland China and with low-income populations in the United States via micro-finance and digital health interventions. His interest is in the use of financial services and digital health to alleviate the burden of disease of mental illness for vulnerable populations including women, children, and adolescents. His education includes University of Chicago (MD), Stanford Inter-University Center for Japanese Studies, and Yale University (BA: Behavioral Neuroscience).

Kimberly Streater, Community Mental Health Ambassador

Kimberly Streater is a Community Mental Health Ambassador with the Department of Psychiatry in the New Haven Center for Wellbeing for Women and Mothers (Moms) Partnership at Yale School of Medicine. In her spare time she enjoys going to the movies with her children. Her inspiration comes from Christ first and foremost and her best friend, Janet, who’s currently battling breast cancer for the second time and still has an amazing sense of humor. She listens to her, and her little complaints about anything seem like nothing. Because of nonprofit agencies that assisted she and her children when she went through domestic violence, she decided to work helping to rebuild the community by engaging and supporting moms in need. Her heroes are her six children. She has watched them persevere through so many transitions in life, and each has a different personality which keeps her very balanced. She is a basketball mom so her evenings consist of either practices or games.

Tequetta Valeriano, Community Mental Health Ambassador

Tequetta Valeriano is a Community Mental Health Ambassador with the Department of Psychiatry in the New Haven Mental Health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) Partnership at Yale School of Medicine at Yale School of Medicine. She has experience working in the mental health field as an IICAPS program case manager and a Family Violence Victim Advocate in the New Haven court system. Tequetta is focused on problem-solving and building practical skills with mothers. Tequetta is mom to one son and holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

Lori R. Wallace, MPH, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate

Lori R. Wallace , MPH, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Associate in the New Haven Mental Health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) Partnership and Yale Child Study Center. She earned a doctoral degree in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, where she also received training in demography and racial and ethnic health disparities research. Lori conducts research on trauma exposure and posttraumatic stress disorder among minority populations with a particular focus on examining the intersection of race, gender, and social context and on understanding how factors at different levels of influence-- from the individual to the structural level-- can interact to increase or decrease disorder risk.

Kimberly A. Yonkers

Kimberly A. Yonkers is a Professor of Psychiatry, of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases) and of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences; and Director, Center for Wellbeing of Women and Mothers at Yale School of Medicine. She has conducted several large scale cohort and treatment studies of women with mood and addictive disorders, in primary care, reproductive health settings.

Samara Zuniga, Site Coordinator

Samara Zuniga is a Site Coordinator in the New Haven Mental Health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) Partnership has been a bilingual Research Assistant at the Yale school of Medicine for over 5 years. Much of her research experienced has been focused on child development and working with families in the community. As a mother of two and a New Haven Resident, it has become a great focus and desire to bring strength, well-being and overall growth to families in the New Haven neighborhood.

New Haven MOMS Partnership

Stop & Shop Site Coordinator Natasha Rivera-Labuthie, left, with MOMS project director Kia Levey. Celebrating moms during a Mother’s Day event in partnership with the local Stop & Shop.