Promoting the health and wellbeing of NICU families

NPA is the home for innovative programs and practitioners. What began as an idea at a NICU psychologists' retreat has become a professional organization. The National Network of NICU Psychologists (NNNP) is a critical next step to improving perinatal care as it coordinates, connects, and educates psychologists around the country who work in the NICU setting.

Co-chairs Drs. Allison Dempsey and Sage Saxton have led the development of advocacy, research, and professional training committees that will transform and elevate the role of mental health care providers in the support of fragile NICU families.


We will always work to optimize care for all infants and their families in NICU settings through direct family involvement, staff support, research, and education.


We strive to be the leading voice and resource for mental health services in NICU settings.


Psychologists have unique training and skills to optimize medical, socioemotional, and neurodevelopmental outcomes for NICU infants and families. Psychology services should be integrated into every NICU in the United States.

Implementation of evidence-based, targeted interventions to improve parental, familial and infant mental health is critical to the long-term health and well-being of each child and family.

National collaboration among NICU psychologists is essential to state-of-the art education, clinical research, and advocacy for policy development and change.


As a group we will provide mentorship to those entering our profession and advocate for the role of psychologists and other mental health providers in the NICU setting. We shall facilitate collaboration between members of our organization and other medical and mental health advocacy organizations in the field of postpartum and perinatal mental health.

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Executive Council of the National Association of NICU Psychologists


Allison Dempsey, PhD

Executive Council Co-Chair 

Allison G Dempsey, PhD. Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine. I have the privilege of serving as the Co-Chair of the National Network of NICU Psychologists, along with Dr. Saxton. I have worked in the NICU, neonatal follow-up, and fetal care settings since 2010 in Texas and Colorado. My clinical focus is on providing services to medically complex infants and their families from pregnancy through early childhood and am thrilled to be involved in training the next generation of NICU psychologists at various levels of development (externship to post-doc). My research focuses on individual, family, and systems level factors that affect an infant’s neurodevelopment, health, and family wellness. I am particularly interested in intervention approaches that can be implemented in the perinatal and neonatal periods.


Allison G Dem

Sage N. Saxton, PsyD

Executive Council Co-Chair

Sage Nottage Saxton PsyD., PMH-C. Associate Professor, Pediatrics at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). I am honored to serve on the National Perinatal Association’s (NPA) Board and am Co-Chair with Dr. Dempsey of the National Network of NICU Psychologists (NNNP). I have been involved in NICU work for the last 13 years and direct the NICU Follow Up Program. I am passionate about training and have practicum students, pre doctoral interns, and post-doctoral fellows rotate within my NICU Follow Up program and serve as our LEND Training Director. My research interests include improving the patient and family experience within the NICU, executive functioning and early intervention in preschool populations, and assessment and treatment of postpartum mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs).

Tiffany Willis, PsyD


Tiffany Willis, PsyD., Licensed Clinical Psychologist at Children’s Mercy Hospital and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at University of Missouri at Kansas City. I am on the Executive Council of NPA’s National Network of NICU Psychologists (NNNP) and the co-chair for the Advocacy committee. I also serve as the chair of NPA’s Perinatal Mental Health Workgroup. I received my training in Infant Mental Health and have been working in the NICU for 4 years and with infants and families in other settings for 7 years. Currently, I serve as the Neonatal Psychologist working in the Fetal Health Center, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and the Neonatal follow up clinic. My research interests include the impact of psychosocial support for parents on the well-being of their baby and the power of attachment on the developing brain.



Melissa Maye, PhD

Communications Committee Chair


Amy Baughcum, PhD

APA Liaison Society of Pediatric Psychology (Division 54)

Amy Baughcum, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Clinical Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. I am honored to serve on the National Perinatal Association’s (NPA) Board and as chair of the American Psychological Association’s Special Interest Group (SIG) of Division 54 (Society of Pediatric Psychology). I have been involved in NICU work for over 10 years, providing intervention services to families and serving as the clinical lead of neonatal psychosocial services. I supervise pre- doctoral psychology interns and post-doctoral fellows within the NICU. My research interests include family risk and resiliency in the NICU, psychosocial screening, and improving neonatal end of life/bereavement care.


Jennifer Harned-Adams, PhD


Rochelle Steinwetzel, PsyD


We invite you to get involved.

Are you interested in joining a committee?  Email Melissa Maye.  

Objectives for 2021:

further development of group leadership and infrastructure

program develpopment that addresses critical gaps in the delivery of perinatal mental health care support

advocacy efforts that promote timely and equitable care



NICU Psychologists Consulting Calls

Psychologists in the group have participated in telephone discussions regarding their work. Recordings of some of these discussions can be accessed on our NICU Psychologist Consulting Calls page for anyone interested. It is our hope that this information will serve both as a source for discussion of expanding psychosocial services in the NICU and as a mentoring resource for beginning NICU psychologists.

Communication regarding this group can be addressed to Michael Hynan, member of the NPA board of directors, at

NNNP will hold its first NICU Psychologists' Retreat of 2021

Friday, April 30, 2021   

9:30-11:30 am mountain

9:30-9:45 Membership Meeting + Committee Updates

9:45 -10:10 Presentation 1: Dyadic intervention Protocol with Dr. Jessalyn Kelleher

10:10-10:35 Large Group Discussion and Q&A Session

10:35-10:40 Transition/Break

10:40-11:05 Presentation 2: Nursing Support Intervention with Dr. Shelly Steinwurtzel

11:05-11:30 Large Group Discussion and Q&A Session

for more information contact Tiffany Willis, PsyD

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