Jefferson University Hospitals

Obstetrics & Gynecology

Our Team

Advancing the care and treatment of substance use disorders

Our MATER team promotes mindfulness and a person-centered approach as the foundation to provide comprehensive care for pregnant or parenting women with substance use disorders. We are committed to advancing the evidence-based treatment of substance use disorders at Jefferson Health and worldwide through rigorous, nationally funded research and clinician education programs.

For community partnership or research collaboration opportunities, please contact us at 215-955-1951. For all other inquiries, please contact our office at 215-955-3792.

Diane Abatemarco

Diane Abatemarco, PhD, MSW

Director of Maternal Addiction Treatment, Education and Research

Diane Abatemarco, PhD, MSW is the Director of Maternal Addiction Treatment, Education and Research and is a Professor at Thomas Jefferson University. Her primary research focuses on innovative interventions to enhance maternal and child health. As the Principal Investigator (PI), she and her colleagues partnered with the American Academy of Pediatrics to create and test Practicing Safety, a pediatric practice intervention to prevent adverse childhood exposures and toxic stress. She was also the PI of a federally funded AIA project, Practicing Safety Mindfulness for Mothers in Drug Treatment. Dr. Abatemarco is currently the PI of a SAMHSA-funded study to improve maternal-child health and integrate families in the substance use disorder treatment of women in residential treatment settings. Throughout her career, Dr. Abatemarco has conducted studies and surveys regarding HIV treatment among pregnant women, tobacco prevalence among pregnant women, and preterm birth and maternal health, among other topics. In addition, she created a mindfulness intervention to prevent poor delivery and birth outcomes. Dr. Abatemarco received her PhD in Health Studies from Temple University and her MSW in Social Work Research from Rutgers University.

Michelle Calvano

Michelle Calvano, BA
Business Manager 

Michelle Calvano, BA is the Business Manager at MATER. She is an integral part of our day-to-day operations and a member of the Executive Team of MATER. In her capacity as Business Manager, Michelle oversees all financial and budgetary reports, regulations and contracts for the division. She works closely with all funding sources, especially Community Behavioral Health and the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Addiction Services. Her years of service and dedication to our organization have provided a wealth of information, support and resources for staff and management. Michelle received her BA in Health Care Administration from Arcadia University.

Rhonda Clayton

Danett D. Candelaria, MSW, LSW
Residential Clinical Director at My Sister’s Place

Danett Candelaria, MSW, LSW is the Residential Clinical Director at My Sister’s Place (MSP). She is a licensed Social Worker with over 16 years of experience in the field.  Danett has an extensive clinical background providing therapeutic services to many populations, but brings a strong focus on ensuring trauma informed response services are utilized throughout the program.  During her career, she has held previous supervisory and leadership positions in adult substance use treatment and recovery and residential programming for homeless veterans.  Additionally, Danett has also provided oversight and supervision for Social Work graduate students for their Field Placement assignments.  As Residential Clinical Director, she oversees the daily clinical operation at My Sister’s Place residential treatment program by ensuring services are provided in accordance with MATER treatment philosophy. Danett will ensure clinical staff remain current with Evidenced Based Practices for substance use treatment and recovery as it relates to pregnant and/or parenting women.  Danett received her Master’s in Social Work from University of Pennsylvania and her Bachelor of Arts in Human Services from Chestnut Hill College.

Rhonda Clayton

Rhonda Clayton, BA
Residential Operations Director at My Sister’s Place

Rhonda Clayton is the Residential Operations Director at My Sister’s Place (MSP). She has been with MATER for over 20 years, and in that time, her career has advanced and evolved into supervisory duties. Rhonda began her career at MATER as a temporary employee working at My Sister’s Place as a House Manager before she was hired as a Case Manager within the same year. She was later transferred to Family Center’s outpatient program as the Intake Specialist until she was promoted to her current role as MSP Residential Operations Director. Rhonda’s decades of experience at MATER have given her tremendous insight and knowledge into the recovery process. Her calming yet firm personality allows for positive interactions with the women and their children in treatment at MATER. Rhonda received her BA in Criminal Justice from Temple University.

Meghan Gannon

Meghan Gannon, PhD, MSPH
Assistant Professor

Meghan Gannon, PhD, MSPH is an Assistant Professor at Thomas Jefferson University and a Mindfulness-Based Parenting Instructor at MATER with extensive mindfulness training. Her primary focus of research is working with pregnant and parenting women in substance use treatment to test interventions to improve attachment in the mother-child dyad. She also researches the impact of early exposure to trauma. Dr. Gannon is currently the Principal Investigator for a Doula Care study funded by the City of Philadelphia. In addition, she is the Research Program Manager and Co-Investigator of a five-year, SAMHSA-sponsored study aimed at transforming care and engaging family support for women in residential drug treatment. She has extensive training in evaluation research, especially using the Reach Effectiveness Adoption Implementation Maintenance (RE-AIM) framework, qualitative methodology and mindfulness-based intervention work. Dr. Gannon received her PhD in Population Health and MSPH in Public Health from Thomas Jefferson University.

Dennis J. Hand

Dennis J. Hand, PhD
Assistant Professor

Dennis Hand, PhD is an Assistant Professor at Thomas Jefferson University. His leadership roles at MATER include strategic planning and program development with particular emphasis on the care management and pharmacological treatment components of substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. In addition, Dr. Hand conducts research and mentors medical students, residents and fellows on pharmacological treatment of opioid use disorder in pregnancy, treatment of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, treatments for tobacco and polysubstance use disorders among pregnant and parenting women and increasing access to comprehensive reproductive health services among individuals with SUD. Dr. Hand received his PhD in Applied Experimental Psychology at Central Michigan University and postdoctoral training at the University of Vermont.

Kimberly McLaughlin

Kimberly McLaughlin, Ph.D., LPC, CAADC
Program Director

Kimberly McLaughlin is the Program Director at MATER. She began at MATER as a therapist at My Sister’s Place before moving to an outpatient therapist at Family Center. Kim was the sole therapist for Intensive Outpatient and worked to create, develop, and implement an IOP program at Family Center. As Program Director, she oversees all of the clinical therapeutic services at Family Center and My Sister's Place. Kim implemented a trauma responsive transformation at MATER and has worked to shift the view of those in recovery from resistant to resilient. Additionally, Kim oversees our compliance, ensuring programmatic licensing and accreditation. Her research interests include pregnancy intendedness, self-compassion, treatment readiness, and the impact of trauma. Kim received a Doctorate degree in Human Sexuality Studies and Master’s degrees in Counselor Education and Human Sexuality Education. 

Vanessa Short

Vanessa Short, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor

Vanessa Short, PhD, MPH is an Assistant Professor at Thomas Jefferson University. She is a maternal and child health epidemiologist by training with a focus on improving healthcare and health, preventing disease and eliminating health disparities among women and children, especially in vulnerable and underserved populations. Since joining MATER, her work has primarily focused on improving outcomes for mother-infant dyads affected by maternal opioid use disorder (OUD). She is currently the Principal Investigator of a five-year, R18 project sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. She is also the Principal Investigator of a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development-funded R03 project. In addition, Dr. Short is involved with global health research and collaborates on several projects aimed at improving perinatal health outcomes in India and other low- to middle-income countries. Dr. Short received her PhD in epidemiology and MPH with a concentration in behavioral and community health sciences from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.