Clark University professor receives $700K grant from NIMH to study postpartum depression issues

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Associate Prof. Abbie Goldberg

Abbie E. Goldberg, associate professor in The Department of Psychology at Clark University, received $718,770 from the National Institute of Mental Health for her three-and-a-half year project, “Mental health in the postpartum period among visible and invisible sexual minority women: A U.S.-Canada study.” Goldberg will serve as principal investigator and will work with Lori E. Ross, associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, to focus on increasing the understanding of factors that contribute to experiences of mental health and wellness of mothers during pregnancy.

This study will examine postpartum depression in a diverse group of women: namely, heterosexual women, visible sexual minority women (i.e., lesbian women) and invisible sexual minority women (i.e., who have a history of sexual relationships with women but who are partnered with men at the time that they become parents).

“This research has exciting possibilities for shifting our understanding of sexual identity, behavior, and relationship history and their implications for mental health, particularly during the transition to parenthood,” said professor Goldberg. “We hope that our findings will be able to inform the practice of health care providers who interface with women during the perinatal period.”

Goldberg’s grant was one of two federal grants received by Worcester researchers and/or organizations recently.  On Friday, May 3, United States Representative Jim McGovern recognized the Clark professor (along with The Family Health Center of Worcester, which received $367,630 to continue funding of their Health Center Cluster), in a press release.

“These competitive grants once again illustrate the incredible work being done in health research and health services in Worcester,” said Congressman McGovern. “We are fortunate to have organizations like Family Health Center and Clark University leading the charge to ensure that our residents – all of them – get the physical and mental care they deserve.”

Goldberg has also received $10,000 from The Lesbian Health Fund (LHF), a program of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA), for “Lesbian parents and their adopted children three years post-placement” and $1,000 from the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality for “Lesbian, gay, and heterosexual adoptive parents’ relationship quality.”  She received a faculty development grant from Clark to serve as principal investigator of “Relationships with others who share the same sperm donor.”

Goldberg is co-editor of “LGBT-Parent Families: Innovations in Research and Implications for Practice” (Springer, October 2012), and author of “Gay Dads: Transitions to adoptive fatherhood” (NYU Press, July 2012).  Her first book, “Lesbian and Gay Parents and their Children: Research on the Family Life Cycle” (APA Books 2009), won several awards.  She currently serves as a senior research fellow at the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute in Newton, Mass., and has been named The Williams Institute Visiting Scholar (at UCLA School of Law) for 2013-2014.

In addition, Goldberg has blogged for Psychology Today and the Huffington Post.

Goldberg received a B.A. from Wesleyan University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, respectively. She has been at Clark since 2005.

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