Women’s Mental Health Research Program

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About Us

The Women's Mental Health Research Program (WMHRP) at the University of Illinois at Chicago conducts research to understand factors that influence cognition and mental health across a woman's lifespan so that appropriate sex- and gender-based interventions can be developed and used to enhance women’s overall wellbeing.

Women's Mental Health Research Program - Lifespan

 

Our Mission:

To improve the lives of women through clinical studies aimed at understanding the sex specific and sex-related factors that contribute to women’s cognitive function and mental health.

To provide objective research findings to inform health practitioners, researchers, policy makers, and the public about factors that influence women’s cognitive function and mental health.

To foster undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty in research careers aimed at a better understanding of women’s cognitive function and mental health.

 

Current Research Areas for the WMHRP include:

  • The role of menopausal stage and menopausal symptoms on cognition, brain function and stress responsivity in women;
  • The effect of trauma, stress, other mental health factors, and substance dependence on cognition and brain function/structure in HIV-infected women;
  • The efficacy and mechanism of action of alternative treatments for vasomotor symptoms (e.g. stellate ganglion blockade and mobile health apps) and their potential secondary benefits to women’s mental health and cognitive function;
  • Understanding biological, social and environmental determinants of perinatal mental health and the dynamic changes in women’s gut microbiome during pregnancy and after delivery.
  • Utilizing technological advances to improve screening and treatment for perinatal mental health using implementation science to promote the uptake of best practices into routine healthcare and address health equity in a low-income, underserved population.
  • Addressing critical gaps in our understanding of sex differences in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and determining whether diagnostic approaches that account for these differences will improve diagnostic precision.