The overarching goal of Proyecto Mamá is to comprehensively assess the resources and needs in our community regarding perinatal mental health among Latina/o mothers.

Pilot Data

Members of the Marquette University Culture and Well-Being Research Lab, led by Dr. Lisa Edwards, conducted a preliminary focus group (Edwards, 2015) with health practitioners from various organizations (e.g., Sixteenth Street Community Center, Aurora Family Services, Milwaukee Nurse-Family Partnership) to begin to understand the needs of Latina mothers in Milwaukee. This data revealed that the Latina mothers seen by these practitioners had mental health concerns primarily related to immigration trauma experiences. While a few agencies and supportive care practices in Milwaukee were noted, the majority of data focused on barriers to access to mental health care during the perinatal period, including: stigma/vergüenza, lack of bilingual and bicultural services, insurance/financial challenges, the complex role of faith and faith leaders, and fear and lack of empowerment within the healthcare system.

Loyo, K., Edwards, L.M., Bello, B., Pantoja, J., Faytol, A., Lattimore, D. (2017, November). The complex role of perinatal mental health among Latinas: Findings from a community assessment. In S. Lara-Cinosomo (Chair), Religion/Faith and Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Perinatal Depression. Symposium presented at the 3rd Biennial Perinatal Mental Health Conference, Chicago.

Lab member Karina Loyo (right) presenting with Drs. Lara-Cinosomo and D’Anna Hernandez.

Edwards, L.M., Loyo, K., Bello, B., Lattimore, D., & Ramirez, A. (2016, October). “I can handle this on my own:” A community-based study of resources and needs regarding perinatal mental health among Latinas. In A. Barrera (Chair), Emerging Topics in Research about Perinatal Mental Health among Latinas. Symposium presented at the National Latina/o Psychological Association Conference, Orlando.

Edwards, L.M., Bello, B., Ramirez, A., Loyo, K.T., & Lattimore D. (2015, November). Practitioner’s perspectives about community assets and needs regarding perinatal mental health among Latinas. Poster presented at the Perinatal Mental Health Conference, Chicago

Culture and Well-Being Research Lab Members NLPA 2016 A
Lab members Bianca Bello and Karina Loyo present at the National Latina/o Psychological Association Conference

Specific Research Objectives of Proyecto Mamá

The overarching goal of this project is to comprehensively assess the resources and needs in Milwaukee regarding perinatal mental health for Latinas. This type of assessment has not yet been undertaken in this area. This community assessment is framed within a public health approach called assets-oriented community assessment (Sharpe et al., 2000). In addition, theoretical principles from positive psychology and multiculturalism (e.g., Pedrotti & Edwards, 2014), are also integrated into the lens through which this project’s goal is shaped. The three specific aims of this project are to:

  • Assemble an interdisciplinary Proyecto Mamá Task Force of community members and professionals who share the goal of supporting Latina mothers’ perinatal mental health.
  • Develop an asset map of the key locations, individuals and agencies related to supporting Latina mothers’ perinatal mental health within Milwaukee and its surrounding areas, as well as a description of notable barriers within systems.
  • Conduct focus groups and interviews with key constituents regarding the resources and needs regarding Latina perinatal mental health, and integrate all findings into a summary report.

If you have any questions about the project or would like to know more, please contact Dr. Edwards by email at