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Rutgers professor receives funding for perinatal psychiatry research

<p>Assistant Professor in the Rutgers School of Public Health, Thomas Mackie, was awarded a $41 million contract to study the effectiveness of Perinatal Psychiatry Access Programs.</p>

Assistant Professor in the Rutgers School of Public Health, Thomas Mackie, was awarded a $41 million contract to study the effectiveness of Perinatal Psychiatry Access Programs.


Thomas Mackie, assistant professor in the Rutgers School of Public Health, was awarded a contract from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) worth $41 million. Mackie will study the effectiveness of Perinatal Psychiatry Access Programs (PPAPs) for pregnant and postpartum women, according to a press release.

“Perinatal depression negatively impacts the birth, mother and infant bonding and children’s behavior and development,” Mackie said, according to the release. 

Perinatal depression affects 1 in 7 women during pregnancy or the first year after birth, according to the release. Out of the pregnant and postpartum women who test positive for depression in the United States, less than 20 percent seek initial and follow-up psychiatric treatment. 

“In response to this public health crisis, state-wide programs are being created to support healthcare providers — like obstetricians and pediatricians — with acquiring the training and resources necessary to treat the signs and symptoms of depression in pregnant women and those who have recently given birth,” Mackie said, according to the release. 

The programs are being developed or implemented in 15 states in order to make treatment more accessible and effective, according to the release. 

Mackie and Nancy Byatt, associate professor at University of Massachusetts Medical School, will examine three PPAPs in Washington, New Jersey and Massachusetts under the PCORI contract, according to the release. They will determine which of the programs will improve perinatal depression treatment and access to treatment based on how they implement training, consultation and care coordination.

This research will be done in collaboration with Postpartum Support International, the Partnership Access Line for Moms housed in Washington state and the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Program for Moms, according to the release. PCORI is funding the research in order to provide patients and healthcare providers the information to make better-informed decisions when choosing healthcare options. 


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