IOWA INVESTIGATOR: Lisa Segre
What is the focus of your research? What questions are you trying to answer? What problems are you attempting to solve?
For the last 14 years, my program of applied clinical research has focused on the problem of maternal depression. The studies that I have conducted fall into three categories: 1) examining the epidemiology of maternal depression, with a particular emphasis on at-risk women; 2) implementing and evaluating universal maternal depression screening programs to identify women in need of help; and 3) implementing and evaluating Listening Visits, an empirically supported intervention developed for delivery by non-mental health specialists. Because this intervention is delivered by accessible health care professionals, it can address unmet treatment needs in groups of depressed mothers for whom treatment is very difficult to access.
What led to your interest in this topic?
In 2000, as an adjunct in the Psychology Department, Dr. Michael O’Hara invited me to join the Iowa Depression and Clinical Research Center (IDCRC), a lab that focuses on maternal depression. In particular he had just begun consulting with Healthy Start in Des Moines to implement a maternal depression screening program. Because of my background as a community psychologist, he invited me to collaborate on this project. It was this development that initiated my current program of research.
What impact (on citizens, practice environment, educational opportunities, funding, etc.) do you predict coming from this research?
The screening program has been implemented statewide, affecting 58 percent of the population of Iowa. To address the fact that many women identified as depressed do not receive treatment, last year, invited and funded by the Iowa Department of Public Health, I have implemented the Listening Visits intervention in all 21 Maternal Child Health agencies in Iowa. My team (Michael O’Hara, PhD, Renee Gullickson, RN, BSN, Laura Houghton, and Emily Ellfson) are evaluating the success of this program.
How does the research integrate into education/practice/service?
As noted, this is an applied program of research, which by definition, integrates these three components.
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