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Treatment
Deciding when to seek help can be scary. However, when left untreated, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) can negatively affect all members of a family unit. But there is hope. PMADs are very treatable, and recovery is attainable. Do not suffer alone…let us meet you where you are.

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Meet Our Team Members

All our psychiatric providers are expertly trained to care for the unique needs of the perinatal and postnatal populations in addition to providing pre-conception counseling regarding appropriate medication choices.

Executive Leadership Team

Stephanie Chirco, PMHNP-BC, PMH-C
Director of Perinatal Clinical Services
Joshua Leslie, PA-C
President and CEO, Ascend Telehealth

Clinical Team

Rani Patel, PA-C
Psychiatric Prescriber
Christina Delano, LCSW
Therapy Provider
Rheanna Schmidt, LAC, PMH-C
Therapy Provider
Lovely Poole, LMSW
Therapy Provider
Dr. Edmond Baker, MD
CMO and Board-Certified OB/GYN

Medication

Choosing whether to take medication can be a deeply personal and at times overwhelming decision. The weight of this decision is often compounded when pregnant or breastfeeding.

At Ascend Perinatal, we provide the most up-to-date research on medication safety and therapeutic modalities during the preconception, perinatal, postpartum, and breastfeeding periods.

We do NOT push. We educate, advocate, and support your very personal and individual treatment decisions.

Therapy

There is no “one size fits all” model to treatment, especially in the highly specialized field of perinatal mental health. Driven by our passion to promote individual wellness we offer a variety of therapeutic treatment options including psychotherapy and family support services.

Our seasoned therapy providers are trained in a multitude of therapeutic modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy (ERP).  This is not your typical “you talk, we listen” therapy session.

At Ascend Perinatal we value results. Therefore, our therapists are selectively chosen based on their ability to proactively help you achieve your therapeutic goals. Compassionately providing you with guidance and insight, we’re here to meet you where you’re at.

Stephanie Chirco PMHNP, PMH-C

Director of Perinatal Clinical Services

Stephanie is a board certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specializing in reproductive psychiatry with a background in obstetrics and midwifery support. She spent over a decade serving the birth community as a labor and delivery nurse across the Arizona valley. As the founder of Ascend Perinatal and PMAD survivor, Stephanie helps individuals and families navigate through a variety of mental health conditions during the period including preconception through postpartum and breastfeeding. Stephanie provides both prescriptive and consulting services to the perinatal community, in addition to overseeing the day-to-day clinical operations of Ascend Perinatal.

Stephanie believes that employee job satisfaction is the key to providing patients with the highest quality psychiatric care. Therefore, she is a strong proponent of creating a safe, supportive, and healthy work environment which is reflected in the dedication and nurturing character of the Ascend Perinatal team.

Stephanie is a board certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specializing in reproductive psychiatry with a background in obstetrics and midwifery support. She spent over a decade serving the birth community as a labor and delivery nurse across the Arizona valley. As the founder of Ascend Perinatal and PMAD survivor, Stephanie helps individuals and families navigate through a variety of mental health conditions during the period including preconception through postpartum and breastfeeding. Stephanie provides both prescriptive and consulting services to the perinatal community, in addition to overseeing the day-to-day clinical operations of Ascend Perinatal.

Stephanie believes that employee job satisfaction is the key to providing patients with the highest quality psychiatric care. Therefore, she is a strong proponent of creating a safe, supportive, and healthy work environment which is reflected in the dedication and nurturing character of the Ascend Perinatal team.

Joshua Leslie PA-C

President and CEO, Ascend Telehealth

Joshua Leslie, founder, and CEO of Ascend Healthcare has dedicated nearly two decades of service caring for patients with behavioral health concerns. Feeling dissatisfied with the scarcity of access and low caliber of services being offered throughout the mental health arena, Josh committed to changing the landscape of psychiatric care. In April 2020, Ascend Healthcare was launched as one of the select few provider-owned practices in Arizona with a strategic mission of creating and integrating behavioral health and substance use disorder programs into pre-existing Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), large group practices, and Affordable Care Organizations. This virtual care program has expanded at a rapid pace unprecedented to traditional in-person behavioral health models.

Josh’s desire to provide high-quality access to care for all individuals helped fuel the fire to bring specialized mental health services to the historically underserved and undervalued perinatal community.

Joshua Leslie, founder, and CEO of Ascend Healthcare has dedicated nearly two decades of service caring for patients with behavioral health concerns. Feeling dissatisfied with the scarcity of access and low caliber of services being offered throughout the mental health arena, Josh committed to changing the landscape of psychiatric care. In April 2020, Ascend Healthcare was launched as one of the select few provider-owned practices in Arizona with a strategic mission of creating and integrating behavioral health and substance use disorder programs into pre-existing Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), large group practices, and Affordable Care Organizations. This virtual care program has expanded at a rapid pace unprecedented to traditional in-person behavioral health models.

Josh’s desire to provide high-quality access to care for all individuals helped fuel the fire to bring specialized mental health services to the historically underserved and undervalued perinatal community.

Rani Patel PA-C

Rani is an extremely well-rounded and experienced Physician Assistant with a background in family medicine and urgent care in addition to psychiatry. Rani’s extensive work with the pediatric population in the foster care system has largely shaped her career path, lending to her empathic nature. Rani’s personal mission is “to guide patients towards mental stability and improve their overall quality of life”. Her passion for continuing education and perinatal specialization, as well as her medical expertise, makes her a valuable member of our perinatal team.

rani-patel

Rani is an extremely well-rounded and experienced Physician Assistant with a background in family medicine and urgent care in addition to psychiatry. Rani’s extensive work with the pediatric population in the foster care system has largely shaped her career path, lending to her empathic nature. Rani’s personal mission is “to guide patients towards mental stability and improve their overall quality of life”. Her passion for continuing education and perinatal specialization, as well as her medical expertise, makes her a valuable member of our perinatal team.

Christina Delano LCSW

Christina is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a long career working with children, families, couples, groups, and individuals. She has worked extensively with OB/GYN patients experiencing a continuum of issues and problems during and related to pregnancy. She recognizes that pregnancy and issues surrounding pregnancy are important and memorable. She provides much needed information, support, and gentle guidance during this special time.

C.Delano

Christina is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a long career working with children, families, couples, groups, and individuals. She has worked extensively with OB/GYN patients experiencing a continuum of issues and problems during and related to pregnancy. She recognizes that pregnancy and issues surrounding pregnancy are important and memorable. She provides much needed information, support, and gentle guidance during this special time.

Rheanna Schmidt LAC, PMH-C

Therapy Provider

Rheanna has over twenty years of experience working in the mental health field. After walking with a loved one through a difficult pregnancy and traumatic birth experience, Rheanna felt compelled to alter her clinical course to focus primarily on the perinatal population. Rheanna has received extensive training in Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and is a certified clinical trauma specialist.

Rheanna has over twenty years of experience working in the mental health field. After walking with a loved one through a difficult pregnancy and traumatic birth experience, Rheanna felt compelled to alter her clinical course to focus primarily on the perinatal population. Rheanna has received extensive training in Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and is a certified clinical trauma specialist.

Lovely Poole LMSW

Lovely contributes extensive experience in both the medical and mental health fields.  Following a traumatic birth that left her feeling ignored and demoralized, a fire was igniting within her to focus on health inequities. Lovely understands the hesitation of opening up and the stigma associated with seeking mental health support. The historically rooted lack of autonomy and respect experienced by marginalized communities informs Lovely’s culturally sensitive approach to care, utilizing supportive, psychoeducational, cognitive-behavioral (CBT), solution-focused, and strengths-based approaches to unpacking symptoms of depression and anxiety stemming from perinatal concerns.  

Lovely Poole

Lovely contributes extensive experience in both the medical and mental health fields.  Following a traumatic birth that left her feeling ignored and demoralized, a fire was igniting within her to focus on health inequities. Lovely understands the hesitation of opening up and the stigma associated with seeking mental health support. The historically rooted lack of autonomy and respect experienced by marginalized communities informs Lovely’s culturally sensitive approach to care, utilizing supportive, psychoeducational, cognitive-behavioral (CBT), solution-focused, and strengths-based approaches to unpacking symptoms of depression and anxiety stemming from perinatal concerns.  

Edmond Baker MD

CMO and Board-Certified OB/GYN

Dr. Baker is a board-certified OB/GYN with a fierce passion for health care equality. While completing his postgraduate training at the University of Michigan Medical School, Dr. Baker found an unexpected love for Women’s Health, prompting him to complete his medical residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center. In addition to serving as the Chief Medical Officer for Ascend Telehealth, Dr. Baker serves as the Medical Director for the Equality Care Center in Phoenix, AZ where he remains heavily involved in the African American and Obstetric communities. Dr. Baker has dedicated his career to advocating for access to safe, high-quality, evidence-based healthcare for women of all racial, ethnic, and social backgrounds.

Edbaker-1-1.jpg

Dr. Baker is a board-certified OB/GYN with a fierce passion for health care equality. While completing his postgraduate training at the University of Michigan Medical School, Dr. Baker found an unexpected love for Women’s Health, prompting him to complete his medical residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center. In addition to serving as the Chief Medical Officer for Ascend Telehealth, Dr. Baker serves as the Medical Director for the Equality Care Center in Phoenix, AZ where he remains heavily involved in the African American and Obstetric communities. Dr. Baker has dedicated his career to advocating for access to safe, high-quality, evidence-based healthcare for women of all racial, ethnic, and social backgrounds.