Notes from the Dean's Desk


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Name: Marie Ann Marino, EdD, RN, FAAN
Position: Dean and Professor, Jefferson College of Nursing

MATER Joins the Jefferson College of Nursing Family to Better Serve Philadelphia Communities Together

Pregnancy alone can confront a woman with a wide range of related health challenges, from minor to life-threatening. But when a pregnant or parenting woman also struggles with substance use disorder, the situation can be exponentially more complex and difficult to address.

For 50 years, women facing these challenges in Philadelphia have found help through Maternal Addiction Treatment, Education and Research (MATER), comprehensive substance use treatment with wrap around services and resources to care for women and families in need of healing.

Now, MATER has a new home here at Jefferson College of Nursing. MATER’s Director, Diane Abatemarco, PhD, MSW, and her team have joined us, after being within the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College for the previous 7 years. 

MATER, a mindfulness-based, trauma-responsive and human-centered approach, has as its foundation, to care and support women and their children in their recovery process. We harness the willpower of these mothers who love their children fiercely enough to do the hard work required in the recovery journey. When recovery can feel overwhelming, we empower women in their journey to independence and fulfilling parenthood.

Dr. Abatemarco leads a team of nationally renowned researchers, specialists and experts in a wide range of disciplines. They work in partnership with pregnant and parenting women and their families at every point in the decision-making process, from planning initial steps to managing ongoing care. MATER’s approach is mindful of the history of trauma — including stigma, violence and homelessness — that many of these women face before, during and even after pregnancy. Services are tailored to each person’s needs and include individual, group and family therapy, medical care and psychological care. The program also offers social service support to address many of the often-overlooked barriers to successful treatment and recovery.

With MATER, both a residential treatment program (My Sister’s Place) and outpatient services (Family Center) are offered to meet the diverse needs of women needing their special level of care. Together, these programs empower pregnant and parenting women during recovery in a compassionate, welcoming environment.

Please take the time to read more about how this innovative, evidence-based initiative is improving the lives of pregnant and parenting women and helping to assure healthy futures for their yet-to-be-born children. And if you or someone you know and love could benefit from MATER, please call us at 215-955-3792.