Board Member Spotlight: Rupa Zimmermann, PhD

Another in a series intended to showcase our board members and their story in the arena of maternal mental health care.

Rupa’s story:

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA - I am a first generation South Asian female clinical psychologist. I believe in providing people with effective evidence-based treatments. I also believe in suicide prevention and intervention and helping educate and connect individuals at risk for MMH problems with resources that empower them to get the services they need. I really enjoy working with new moms because I believe it is family therapy and when you can help support pregnant women and mothers you are supporting the well being of an entire family!

Q: What compelled you to join the board of 2020 Mom?

A: I had just moved to California when I was blessed with the opportunity to join the board. I had attended 2020 Mom’s Lobby Day in Washington D.C. and realized that together we could have a louder voice and more of an impact on our lawmakers to make lasting changes. I realized CA could take the lead and model system changes that could be implemented nationwide, and I felt really inspired and motivated by Joy and the other board members. I was convinced maternal mental health was not being discussed in a way that would reduce stigma and increase care linkage. I thought providers such as physicians, nurses, doulas, midwives, lactation consultants, and mental health providers were in desperate need of education and resources to work together to help women during this critical and vulnerable period. I survived my own struggles after having my two children, and even with my extensive clinical knowledge, I found that I fell through the cracks of a system that actually has many points at which I could have been screened and helped. Although I was informed enough to eventually get the help I desperately needed, I know others are not as lucky as I was. I vowed to try to make sure others need not suffer like me. Information is a powerful tool, and I believe 2020 Mom is working hard to implement broad level changes that could benefit many individuals and their families.

Q: What do you love about 2020 Mom?

A: The board is made up of a multidisciplinary team with various strengths that help us to achieve our goals in a collaborative way. I believe that advocating for legislative change will help touch the lives of many women and their families and it will help to reduce barriers to care.

Q: 2020 Mom’s mission is to close the gaps in maternal mental health care. What’s your big hope for how 2020 Mom can fulfill this bold mission?

A: I hope that the results of the white paper will result in tangible changes to address the leading complication of childbirth, MMH disorders. I hope mandatory requirements for screening women during their pregnancy will force the creation of pathways for services that care providers can use to help support women rather than further stigmatize or fail them. I hope women of color can find a voice in this movement and we can all gain more of an understanding of their unique risk factors for MMH disorders and their barriers to care.

Do you have a "My Why" story, about why you are going deep with 2020 Mom, that you'd like to share on our blog?  If so click here.