NICU Family Support Center | Ways to Give | MedStar Health

NICU Mental Health Program at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

NICU Mental Health Program at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital NICU Family Support Center 2

Support the NICU’s mental health program

For over 55 years, we have been providing world-class care to our patients. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Perinatal Center at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is recognized as the only Level IV NICU with a birthing center in the District. This means that we provide the highest level of family-centered care complete with advanced surgical treatments, transport capabilities, and outreach education.

While our dedicated medical team is taking care of infants in the NICU, we value a family-centered approach to care and provide support services for parents. A critical piece of our ability to care for our patients and their families, is our NICU psychologist. Shilpa Saroop, PhD, who joined our NICU team as the Juliet Grace Smith Foundation and Ava Potter Pilcher Foundation funded psychologist in 2018 and since then has assisted over 1,000 families deal with the incredible stress and emotion of experiencing the birth of an ill or premature infant. Dr. Saroop provides free counseling by the bedside, brief assessments, and referrals for individuals and families, as well as off-site services.

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Some lasting benefits and impacts of the psychologist position:

  • Onsite mental health support for family members allows them to stay close to their baby in the NICU. 
  • The ability to talk with a psychologist while on a visit to the NICU is often more convenient, resulting in much needed mental health support for families. 
  • A connection with the psychologist while in the NICU, enables family members to continue working with the psychologist after discharge, as family members are transitioning from hospital to home.
  • More NICU parents are engaging in outpatient therapy after discharge. Continuity of mental health support for parents is possible with the onsite availability of the NICU psychologist and then in Outpatient Psychiatry after discharge.

Your support will make a difference.

We are grateful for the generous support of our NICU philanthropic partners, including those who gave to the NICU Family Support Center. On behalf of our physicians, nurses, fellows, and all associates we want to say thank you to everyone who partnered with us to create this beautiful center!

Because of your generosity, we can now offer a spa-like lactation room, a family lounge with an adjoining sibling play area (pictured above), and a pantry that will be stocked with healthy snacks. We also have two parent and infant sleep rooms for those parents of transported babies traveling from afar, as well as those families preparing to take their babies home.

Your philanthropic partnership will support our critical NICU psychologist position as well as, support wellness programs for staff, faculty, and trainees by providing wellness resources, self-care support for staff, and structured bereavement support.

Additional funding is also supporting training and seminars for residents and NICU fellows. Seminars will address communicating medical updates with NICU family members and other topics identified by trainees.

“I provide psychotherapy with empathy and compassion by working with individuals, couples and families to identify the source of the worry, unhappiness, and self-criticism. Together, we identify strengths and build on those strengths in a positive and supportive way to create a life that one would like to live and experience.”

- Shilpa Saroop, MD

Additional information

Make an Online Gift

If you wish to learn more and how to support the NICU psychologist position, please contact Madison Schaffer at 202-444-0721 or