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Women's Health

Women’s Health Concerns Clinic

The Women’s Health Concerns Clinic (WHCC) mission it to promote women’s mental health and well-being across the menstrual cycle, childbearing years, and the transition to menopause through evidence-based clinical care, education and research.

Initiatives

Research at the WHCC involves studies aimed at understanding the mechanisms behind hormonally-related mental health problems. More specifically, our research is primarily focused on mood and anxiety conditions associated with female-reproductive live events: Pregnancy, the postpartum period, the premenstrual period and the menopause transition. Our research also includes investigation of mental and physical development of offsprings of mothers with mental health conditions.

Example projects include:

  • The Maternal Adversity, Vulnerability and Neurodevelopment (MAVAN) Study
  • Emotional Regulation in Women with Co-morbid Bipolar Disorder and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
  • Stress, immune system functioning and postpartum depression: the impact of heightened systematic inflammation and risk of CVD later in life
  • Midlife Women with MDD: The effects of tryptophan or phenylalanine/thyrosine depletions on mood and thermoregulation in depressed subjects responsive to estrogen therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Menopausal Symptoms: A Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Early Cognitive Development in the Offspring of Women Enrolled in a Randomized Controlled Trial Assessing the Effectiveness of a Nutrition + Exercise Intervention for Healthy Gestational Weight Gain
  • Circadian Rhythms and Postpartum Depression

Application to Consumer

Female-reproductive mental health problems are major public health problems. Between 7-15% of women experience postpartum depression, 5-9% suffer from severe premenstrual syndrome and about 10% develop significant mood or anxiety problems during the transition to menopause. In addition, offprings of women who suffered from postpartum mental health problems are at increased risk for developing mental and/or physical illnesses.  Therefore, early detection/diagnosis and early treatment are critical in preventing long-term consequences. Our clinic accepts self-referrals in order to facilitate access to treatment with our multidisciplinary team including specialized therapists, nurses, psychologists, social workers, physicians and allied health. Finally, our program is strongly involved with Educational activities at undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels.

Other Faculty

  • Benicio N. Frey, MD, MSc, PhD
    • Cerebral mechanisms involved in the neurobiology of bipolar and major depressive disorder, with an emphasis in female-related psychiatric conditions.
  • Meir Steiner, MD, MSc, PhD, FRCPC
    • Clinical and research focus on the pathophysiology and psychopathology of mood and anxiety disorders related to women’s reproductive cyclicity.
  • Ryan J. Van Lieshout, MD, PhD, FRCPC
    • Diagnosis and treatment of psychopathology during pregnancy and the early postpartum period, and the impact these disorders and their treatments have on neurodevelopmental outcomes (including psychiatric risk) in the offspring.
  • Luciano Minuzzi, MD, PhD
    • Brain neurotransmission in mood disorders and its clinical implications for treatment and prevention, and the interface between hormonal changes and mood disorders.
  • Sheryl Green, PhD, CPsych
    • Development of cognitive-behavioural and mindfulness-based treatment protocols for specific populations, such as perinatal women.
  • Shiny Gunasekera, MD, FRCPC
    • Clinical and teaching activities, including Obstetrics and Gynecology residents rotating through the WHCC.

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