Jefferson University Hospitals

Jefferson Leaders and Benefactors Gather for My Sister’s Place Housewarming Celebration


Maternal Addiction Treatment Education and Research (MATER)

PHILADELPHIA - Jefferson leaders and guests cut the ribbon on a brand new location for My Sister’s Place, a residential treatment program for mothers recovering from opioid addiction. My Sister’s Place is part of Maternal Addiction Treatment Education and Research (MATER) at Thomas Jefferson University. 

Joining Jefferson leaders were Councilman Domb and Sandra and Stephen Sheller, dedicated benefactors to MATER programs. Councilman Domb presented the largest private donation in MATER’s history, which will allow the staff to continue to provide mindfulness-based parenting taught by a master-level clinical counselor. The mindfulness program includes meditation, group discussions, body awareness and parenting skill-building. Themes include self-compassion and non-judgment.

“As a result of Councilman Domb’s transformative gift and its match, we will show the world that mindfulness improves the experience of parenting, for the child as well as the parents,” said Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, President and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health.

Each day, staff at MATER and My Sister’s Place combat the opioid-dependency epidemic in Philadelphia; helping women make positive changes in their lives. Jefferson’s specially trained experts provide comprehensive treatments for pregnant and parenting women with substance use disorders and their children in outpatient and residential settings.

Dr. Klasko applauded the staff’s teamwork, “While other people around the country are talking about doing this work, you are doing it.”

The program provides mothers with the tools to become successful parents through individual and group therapy, mindfulness-based parenting education, career and professionalism counseling, resume-writing sessions and assistance with community job placement.

Many of the often-overlooked barriers to successful treatment and recovery are attended to as well; daycare is provided on-site during all counseling sessions, public transportation reimbursements are available, and connections to city and state assistance programs are seamless.

“It’s essential to treat this medically as the chronic disease that it is – not as a vice. The key to the success of MATER is the team-based, non-judgmental, comprehensive program,” said Jason Baxter, MD, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Jefferson.

The program began in the early 1970s through Federal, State and City funding, and continues to receive funding from the City of Philadelphia through the Office of Addiction Services (OAS). It offers both outpatient counseling for hundreds of women in the Philadelphia area as well as residential in-patient treatment for up to 22 women and their children.

“Today, we are celebrating the women and children of MATER. They are brave, they are courageous,” said Diane Abatemarco, PhD, 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.”

If you or someone you know needs assistance, call 1-800-JEFF-NOW to find out more about MATER services.


Media Contact:
Gail Benner