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WISH Center Earns Highest Achievement in Catholic Health Care


The WISH (Women and Infant Substance Help) Center, founded under the medical direction of Saint Louis University School of Medicine physicians, has been recognized by the Catholic Health Association of the United States with the 2022 Achievement Citation Award. The award is CHA’s highest annual honor.

The WISH Center provides comprehensive, high-risk maternity care for women who are dependent on opioid drugs. The center opened at SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital in 2016. 

The WISH Center was cited for “its innovative approach to providing prenatal and postpartum care for pregnant women dependent on opioid drugs as well as methamphetamine, benzodiazepines, cocaine, alcohol, cannabis, and tobacco.” 

The award was presented on June 6 at the Catholic Health Assembly in Indianapolis. A video was made highlighting the WISH center. 


Niraj Chavan, M.D., a SLUCare maternal-fetal medicine specialist certified in addiction medicine, is WISH’s medical director. Chavan took over the position at the WISH Center late last year when founding physician Jaye Shyken, M.D., retired.

The Center began in 2014 as a half-day clinic that operated within SLUCare's maternal and fetal medicine group. As opioid abuse reached epidemic proportions, the number of babies born dependent on these drugs also has increased dramatically. 

A dedicated, full-time practice was needed to keep up with patient demand from across the bi-state area.

“The WISH Center is the culmination of two years of work,” Shyken said in 2016. “But, it’s also a down payment into our future work. We have so much more work to do and so much further to go.,. 

The WISH Center’s team of providers includes a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, a nurse practitioner who is trained in high-risk obstetrics, nurses, a nurse coordinator, social workers and a dedicated OB pharmacist to provide care for patients. They also coordinate with behavioral medicine therapists.

The WISH Center is located at 1035 Bellevue Ave on the campus of  SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital. The clinic includes ultrasound, fetal monitoring, examination rooms, and a comfortable room for initiating treatment.