Sheller at My Sister's Place HousewarmingStephen and Sandra Sheller joined Councilman Domb and the staff of Jefferson University Hospital’s Maternal Addiction Treatment Education and Research (MATER) project as they cut the ribbon in the grand opening housewarming of My Sister’s Place, the university’s second facility for treating opioid-dependent mothers. Jefferson University’s MATER project also oversees the Family Center, which is currently full with 230 in-patients.

The MATER program and My Sister’s Place combats opioid-dependence in pregnant women, mothers and their children born with addictions. Outpatient and residential treatment is offered in Philadelphia. My Sister’s Place provides outpatient counseling to hundreds of women and can serve up to 22 women and their children in a residential inpatient treatment.

Hospitals are required to report all mothers of substance-addicted newborns to the Department of Human Services (DHS). Often the newborn is removed from the mother’s care. The MATER program works to keep mother and child together while combating opioid addiction in women and protecting infants and toddlers who may die from additions they were born with. Through mindfulness, self-compassion, and non-judgment these women become better parents improving the lives of the children and families.

“Today, we are celebrating the women and children of MATER. They are brave, they are courageous,” said Diane Abatemarco, Ph.D., MSW, Director of MATER. “They are up against many barriers to recovery – poverty, intimate partner violence, histories of abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other health conditions. The support from Councilman Domb and The Sheller Foundation will allow us to support these women as they meet every challenge.”

The MATER project has been so successful it will be modeled at other sites nationwide. The unique combination of substance addiction medication treatment, counseling and mindfulness training has been shown to have excellent results in improving the bond between mother and child, improving the health of both.

“One of the most promising areas for child health and development in the treatment world is mindfulness,” said Dr. Dianne Abatemarco, current Director of the MATER project. “Mindfulness training allows moms to be compassionate and more attached to her child, and attachment is the greatest asset we can give mother and baby. Programs that support moms three-hundred-and-sixty degrees are the ones that are going to really affect children’s health and mortality.”

Stephen and Sandra Sheller, through The Sheller Family Foundation, are committed to supporting and serving this important and underserved community. Contributing to the MATER program is just one way in which the Foundation continues its mission to address economic and social disparity by improving the lives of those most in need.

“Go into the world and do well, but more importantly, go into the world and do good” – The Sheller Family Foundation

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