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Heather Watson
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Dr. Phyllis Zelkowitz
Head of the Psychosocial Research Axis, Lady Davis Institute
Director of Research, Department of Psychiatry, Jewish General Hospital
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University

Dr. Phyllis Zelkowitz is Director of Research in the Department of Psychiatry at the Jewish General Hospital (JGH), and an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University. She serves as Associate Chair of the Jewish General Hospital Research Ethics Committee. Her research program involves the study of children and families at risk, including studies of developmental outcome in very low birthweight (VLBW) infants, postpartum depression and its effects on family functioning, and risk factors for borderline pathology in mothers and children. She has examined cultural factors related to parenting attitudes and behavior among parents of VLBW children, and risk factors for postpartum depression in immigrant women. The results of her research have been published in academic journals in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, and pediatrics.

Major Research Activities

In collaboration with Dr. Nancy Feeley of the JGH Centre for Nursing Research, Dr. Zelkowitz developed an intervention program to reduce anxiety and enhance the parenting skills of mothers of VLBW infants. The program is currently being evaluated in a clinical trial at the Jewish General Hospital and Hopital Ste-Justine.

Dr. Zelkowitz is the Principal Investigator of a CIHR Emerging Team Grant in Perinatal Mental Health. This five year grant funds the development of a prospective research program that combines multiple methods in the study of perinatal mental illness, linking adverse life circumstances, hormonal, and physiological risk factors to maternal mental health problems, which, in turn, may affect the mother-infant relationship. This research program also investigates health service needs and utilization patterns among women from diverse sociocultural backgrounds.
Recent Publications

Zelkowitz P, Papageorgiou A, Bardin C, Wang T. Persistent maternal anxiety affects the interaction between mothers and their very low birthweight infants at 24 months. Early Human Development 85: 51-58, 2009.

Zelkowitz P
, Feeley N, Shrier I, Stremler R, Westreich R, Dunkley R, Steele R, Rosberger Z, Lefebvre F, Papageorgiou A.
The Cues and Care Trial: A randomized controlled trial of an intervention to reduce maternal anxiety and improve developmental outcomes in very low birthweight infants. BMC Pediatrics 8: 38, 2008.

Zelkowitz P, Saucier JF, Wang T, Katofsky L, Valenzuela M, Westreich R.
Stability and change in depressive symptoms from pregnancy to two months postpartum in childbearing immigrant women. Archives of Women’s Mental Health 11: 1-11, 2008.   
Dr. Zelkowitz is an expert in the field of perinatal mental health.

She initiated an annual JGH Department of Psychiatry Research Day, to share the results of research being done in its department with health professionals in the community, putting particular emphasis on the implications and relevance of this research for clinical practice.

Her research has drawn attention to the high rates of postpartum depression among immigrant women.
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