With a history of philanthropy and leadership in medicine and health sciences, Carol Ammon and Marie Pinizzotto, MD, are setting a new course for women's mental health research and clinical care at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Match two successful women in the life sciences field with a world-renowned program in women’s mental health and you have a recipe for innovative research and quality clinical care for women.

Marie Pinizzotto Lee Cohen Carol Ammon
Lee Cohen, MD, director of the newly named Ammon-Pinizzotto Center for Women’s Mental Health, (center) with Marie Pinizzotto, MD, (left) and Carol Ammon at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Carol Ammon and Marie Pinizzotto, MD, of Wilmington, Del., are championing leading-edge research and treatment at the newly named Ammon-Pinizzotto Center for Women’s Health at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Both women were exposed to the incredible life-altering care that women were receiving at Massachusetts General Hospital through their participation in the MGH Leadership Council for Psychiatry.

Ms. Ammon started her career in the pharmaceutical industry and was surprised how few drugs had been investigated in women due to the inherent safety concerns for pregnant women. Seeing the work being done by Lee Cohen, MD, director of the center, then known as the MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health, was so motivating that she wanted to help support the program.

Dr. Pinizzotto says she saw a desperate need for better mental health care for women during her 10 years practicing as a physician in obstetrics and gynecology. Busy doctors and nurses were hard pressed to treat women with signs of postpartum depression, or other psychiatric conditions while tending to the physical needs of their patients. Even finding someone to refer the women to was difficult.

The Carol A. Ammon Foundation is engaged in philanthropy focused on education and health care. Both Dr. Pinizzotto and Ms. Ammon felt that supporting Dr. Cohen’s work was not only a perfect fit but also absolutely imperative.

A Global Leader in Women’s Mental Health

The center, founded in 1989 by Dr. Cohen, the Edmund and Carroll Carpenter Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, is a global leader in women’s mental health research and clinical care.

The center, founded in 1989 by Dr. Cohen, the Edmund and Carroll Carpenter Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, is a global leader in women’s mental health research and clinical care. It is part of the world-renowned Department of Psychiatry at Mass General which has been named the number one psychiatry department in 17 of the past 20 years by U.S. News and World Report.

The center began as a clinical service for women seeking information about using psychiatric medications during pregnancy. Under the guidance of Dr. Cohen and colleagues, it has evolved to conduct research into psychiatric disorders often linked to female reproductive biology including postpartum depression, premenstrual syndrome, infertility, mood disturbances and issues relating to infertility, menopause and other women’s mental health conditions.

“As clinicians taking care of both younger and older women, we are keenly aware of so many important areas where better answers are needed,” says Dr. Cohen, who is known as one of the founders of the field of perinatal and reproductive psychiatry. The research published by the center informs mental health treatment for women around the globe.

Among the research projects and programs to be supported by Ms. Ammon and Dr. Pinizzotto are a long-term study of children whose mothers used psychiatric medications during pregnancy, a study to identify genes that influence postpartum psychosis and a study of women veterans with post traumatic stress syndrome.

Lee Cohen, MD, director of the Ammon Pinizzotto Women's Mental Health Center
Lee Cohen, MD, director of the Ammon-Pinizzotto Women’s Mental Health Center

Chief of Psychiatry at Mass General, Jerrold Rosenbaum, MD, called Dr. Cohen “a pioneering clinical researcher, committed teacher and mentor who has fostered the growth of the next generation of clinician experts and clinical researchers in this area.”

Philanthropy Focused on Health and Education

With an education in biology and business, Ms. Ammon began work in the pharmaceutical industry as an associate scientist, rising to become president of DuPont Merck’s Pharmaceutical Division. In 1997, she led a management team to purchase 37 pharmaceutical products. The group became known as Endo Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Pinizzotto earned her medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the Medical Center of Delaware. Following a decade in private practice, Dr. Pinizzotto became Endo’s senior director of Global Safety and Pharmacovigilance. Eventually, the two women turned their considerable energy toward the philanthropic goals of the Carol A. Ammon Foundation where Dr. Pinizzotto serves as president. Ms. Ammon and Dr. Pinizzotto have been members of the MGH Leadership Council for Psychiatry since 2008.

Ms. Ammon greatly values the role of research in health care but also appreciates the value of specialized and gifted clinicians like Dr. Cohen. “The ability to support this work will set new standards for the care of women,” Ms. Ammon says.

Both Ms. Ammon and Dr. Pinizzotto now make philanthropy a priority through their work with the Carol A. Ammon Foundation.

Both Ms. Ammon and Dr. Pinizzotto now make philanthropy a priority. Ms. Ammon serves on the Board of Trustees at the University of Delaware where a foundation grant contributed to the construction of the new College of Health Sciences Complex. She also served as a trustee and chairman of the board of Christiana Care Health System and is a member of the Harvard Business School Healthcare Advisory Board.

In addition to her role as president of the Carol A. Ammon Foundation, Dr. Pinizzotto is a member of the board of Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif., and a trustee of Christiana Care Health System where endowed chairs are named in her honor. She is on the board of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and sits on the President’s Leadership Council of the University of Delaware and the President’s Leadership Council at Jefferson Medical College. She is a member of the Visiting Committee for Hematologic Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Philanthropy, as exemplified by Dr. Pinizzotto and Ms. Ammon, plays a critical role in funding psychiatric care and research at Mass General, Dr. Rosenbaum said. “Psychiatry, at best, breaks even. Research grants hardly cover the cost, and training is a net cost,” he says. The department has managed, nonetheless, to launch and sustain some of the nation’s best programs through the support of people like Carol Ammon and Marie Pinizzotto.

At the Oct. 22, 2015 celebration of the naming of the Ammon-Pinizzotto Center for Women’s Mental Health, Dr. Rosenbaum expressed “immense appreciation to Carol and Marie for their glorious support.”

For more information about the Ammon-Pinizzotto Center for Women’s Mental Health at Mass General, please contact us.