Improving the Health of Mothers and Children
2020 Mom Founder and Executive Director Joy Burkhard has been awarded the 2019 American Public Health Association (APHA) Maternal and Child Health Outstanding Leadership & Advocacy Award for her tireless advocacy efforts leading maternal mental health awareness and systems change at national, state and local levels.
The award is given each year at the APHA annual conference during the Martha May Eliot Awards luncheon, which is being held today in Philadelphia. The Outstanding Leadership and Advocacy Award recognizes leaders who have made significant contributions to the field by creating the political will to improve the health of mothers and children.
In honoring Joy Burkhard, the APHA recognizes her leadership as the Founder and Executive Director of 2020 Mom, a nonprofit social change organization focused on closing gaps in maternal mental health care. Joy has worked tirelessly on improving detection and treatment of maternal mental health disorders which impact up to 20% of women, and 50% of women living in poverty. These illnesses include depression, psychosis, and various forms of anxiety. These disorders can occur within pregnancy or the postpartum period and still largely go undiagnosed and untreated. When left untreated, these disorders not only negatively impact a mother’s sense of self and ability to care for her family, but have been linked to poor child development outcomes.
Since 2020 Mom’s inception in 2011, Joy has led her team and collaborators through a process of learning why these disorders remain untreated, including understanding the levers for change. Highlights of her advocacy career thus far include:
Forming and leading the National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health, which was instrumental in the passage of the U.S. law, Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act (which was signed into law in 2016 by president Obama, as part of the 21st Century Cures Act) and provided federal grants to 7 states thus far to improve telepsychiatry access;
Leading the work promulgating the formation of a Blue Ribbon Commission in California, where one in eight U.S. births occur: The California Task Force on Maternal Mental Health. The multi-stakeholder task force issued its recommendations to the public, legislature, and to national and state organizations in 2017. This report led to the introduction and passage of four state laws which 2020 Mom co-sponsored, including a bill that requires obstetricians to screen for maternal depression and bills that engaged hospitals, insurers, and regulatory agencies, including the Department of Public Health and the California Medical Board;
Working with non-profit partners to expand the 2020 Mom annual D.C. “Hill Day” bringing moms together to address multiple maternal health bills through an event now called Mom Congress.
“It’s incredible to be recognized for this work that I find so rewarding. I have the honor of leading a dedicated and thoughtful team and a network of moms and others ready to roll up their sleeves to make change happen. Through this award, we are all being honored by the American Public Health Association,” said Joy.