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Holding Space for Facilitated Dialogues on Antiracism in Academic Medicine [Letter]

Reliford, Aaron; Berry, Obianuju O; Burgos, Junior Javier; Liaw, K Ron-Li
The year 2020 brought unprecedented challenges and renewed focus on racial disparities and inequities in the United States. For racial and ethnic minority groups, and in particular African Americans, racial disparities have been a constant presence and threat from the time of slavery through the present day. These racial disparities, sanctioned and maintained by institutional racism, manifest in all aspects of life for African Americans-segregated and unequal education and housing systems, health and mental health care disparities, disproportionally elevated incarceration rates, and, as painfully highlighted this past year, continued vulnerability to acts of violence at the hands of law enforcement. In addition, most recently, there has been a renewed focus on the increased suicide rate for Black youth and its relationship to these racial disparities.1 In a large urban environment, our academic Child Psychiatry Department recognized that progress toward addressing racial disparities would be impeded without raising awareness and taking individual and collective action to identify implicit bias, power, and privilege differentials, and systemic racism inherent within academic medicine and our own lived experiences. This letter describes the development of such examination through facilitated dialogues on race and antiracism in our department.
PMID: 35364252
ISSN: 1527-5418
CID: 5206102

Pregnant women with bipolar disorder who have a history of childhood maltreatment: Intergenerational effects of trauma on fetal neurodevelopment and birth outcomes

Babineau, Vanessa; McCormack, Clare A; Feng, Tianshu; Lee, Seonjoo; Berry, Obianuju; Knight, Bettina T; Newport, Jeffrey D; Stowe, Zachary N; Monk, Catherine
OBJECTIVES/OBJECTIVE:Intergenerational transmission of trauma occurs when the effects of childhood maltreatment (CM) influence the next generation's development and health; prenatal programming via maternal mood symptoms is a potential pathway. CM is a risk factor for bipolar disorder which is present in 1.8% of pregnant women. Mood symptoms are likely to increase during pregnancy, particularly for those with a history of CM. We examined whether there was evidence for intergenerational transmission of trauma in utero in this population, and whether maternal mood was a transmission pathway. METHODS:CM and maternal mood were self-reported by N = 82 pregnant women in treatment for bipolar disorder. Fetal heart rate variability (FHRV) was measured at 24, 30, and 36 weeks' gestation. Gestational age at birth and birth weight were obtained from medical charts. RESULTS:A cluster analysis yielded two groups, Symptom+ (18.29%) and Euthymic (81.71%), who differed on severe mood symptoms (p < 0.001) but not on medication use. The Symptom+ group had more CM exposures (p < 0.001), a trend of lower FHRV (p = 0.077), and greater birth complications (33.3% vs. 6.07% born preterm p < 0.01). Maternal prenatal mood mediated the association between maternal CM and birth weight in both sexes and at trend level for gestational age at birth in females. CONCLUSIONS:This is the first study to identify intergenerational effects of maternal CM prior to postnatal influences in a sample of pregnant women with bipolar disorder. These findings underscore the potential enduring impact of CM for women with severe psychiatric illness and their children.
PMID: 35319806
ISSN: 1399-5618
CID: 5200522

Editorial: Race-Based Traumatic Stress and Vicarious Racism Within the Parent-Child Dyad: Opportunities for Intervention [Editorial]

Berry, Obianuju O
With every disaster, there are fault lines that deepen our understanding of what has happened and what needs to come. The events over the past 18 months including the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic as well as the murder of George Floyd and the associated protests throughout the United States brought those fault lines into stark relief by highlighting the history of systemic racism that has fostered marginalization and discrimination against Black Americans. These clouds of systemic racism and discrimination-encompassing 250 years of slavery, 100 years of Jim Crow, police brutality, redlining, and the resulting high rates of poverty and poorer health outcomes-have created systems in which Black Americans face unequal and unequitable stressful situations. The medical community is now beginning to take notice of this race-based traumatic stress, a term coined by Carter in 2007,1 to describe how social determinants of health impacted by racial discrimination can "get under the skin" through the accumulative effects of ongoing exposure to toxic stress.2.
PMID: 34311037
ISSN: 1527-5418
CID: 5005832


Reliford, A O; Ron-Li, Liaw K; Berry, O O; Burgos, J J
Objectives: There is a significant and urgent need across psychiatry and other academic medicine departments to design, create, and execute effective dialogues on race, while examining unconscious bias and privilege. The overarching goal of facilitated dialogue is to create a safe space for faculty, staff, and trainees of different racial backgrounds to engage in meaningful dialogue that helps all develop an antiracist approach to their work and lives.
Method(s): Based on the literature and the findings of a departmental needs assessment survey that we designed, we developed clear learning objectives, community norms, an 8-month curriculum, facilitator training and supervision, mixed-race dialogue group composition and logistics, and continuous improvement and comprehensive program evaluation. The curriculum covered topics spanning social identity, power and privilege, bias and discrimination, microaggressions, historical and structural racism, current events, cultural formulation and application to practice, allyship, and antiracism stance and action. Each facilitated dialogue session incorporated antiracist readings, videos, podcasts, immersive activities, and interactive group discussion.
Result(s): A total of 114 department faculty, staff, and trainees completed the antiracism education needs assessment survey. Ten clinical leaders were trained to serve as dialogue facilitators. Ninety-seven faculty, staff, and trainees from diverse sociodemographic backgrounds opted to participate, and 179 learner experience surveys were collected from October 2020 to January 2021. At least 94% of respondents felt engaged, safe in the dialogue environment, learned key antiracism concepts, and learned tools on how to take an antiracist stance in their work and lives.
Conclusion(s): Our curriculum, process, and facilitators have successfully addressed our goals of creating a safe space to discuss experiences with race and racism, staying open to the experiences of others, being open to new ways of viewing race, and furthermore use this new perspective to adopt an antiracist stance in their lives. Our workshop format is designed to help participants understand our process and to think through creating their own dialogues. It involves a mix of instructive and highly interactive activities, performed through breakouts and debriefings. AC, DEI, REST
ISSN: 1527-5418
CID: 5024272

Perinatal depression prevention through the mother-infant dyad: The role of maternal childhood maltreatment

Berry, Obianuju O; Babineau, Vanessa; Lee, Seonjoo; Feng, Tianshu; Scorza, Pamela; Werner, Elizabeth A; Monk, Catherine
BACKGROUND:Prevention studies for perinatal depression rarely focus on the mother-infant dyad or consider the impact of maternal childhood maltreatment (CM). METHODS:A secondary analysis of two combined randomized controlled trials of Practical Resources for Effective Postpartum Parenting (PREPP) examined the moderating role of CM on the efficacy of preventing perinatal depression and effects on infant behavior at six weeks. RESULTS:32% of 109 pregnant women endorsed CM (CM+). At six weeks postpartum, women who received PREPP compared to enhanced treatment as usual (ETAU) had significant reductions in depression and anxiety based on the observer-rated Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD) and Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety (HRSA) (mean difference of M=-3.84 (SD= 0.14, p<0.01) and M=- 4.31 (SD= 0.32, p <0.001) respectively). When CM was added to the models, there no longer was a significant PREPP versus ETAU treatment effect on HRSD and HRSA outcomes in CM+ women though effects remained for CM- women. However, CM+ women who received PREPP vs ETAU reported a mean increase in infant daytime sleep of 189.8 min (SE= 50.48, p = 0.001). LIMITATIONS/CONCLUSIONS:Self-report measures of infant behavior were used. CONCLUSIONS:CM+ women versus CM- had limited response to an intervention to prevent perinatal depression yet still reported an increase in infant daytime sleep. This study adds to the growing literature that prevention studies may need to incorporate approaches tailored to fit women with childhood trauma histories while also considering infant functioning as both may be treatment targets relevant to maternal mood.
PMID: 34004400
ISSN: 1573-2517
CID: 4889462

Social Determinants of Health: the Impact of Racism on Early Childhood Mental Health

Berry, Obianuju O; Londoño Tobón, Amalia; Njoroge, Wanjikũ F M
PURPOSE OF REVIEW/OBJECTIVE:Despite increased literature on the impact of racism in the past decades, relatively few studies have focused on the effects of racism on younger children. This article reviews research from the past 5 years focusing on the impact of racism on infant and early childhood mental health and socioemotional development. RECENT FINDINGS/RESULTS:Longitudinal studies provide evidence that very young children are highly influenced by exposure to multiple and interconnecting levels of racism and discrimination. These forms of exposure (structural and personally mediated, which can be further divided into direct and indirect exposure) are particularly nefarious to young children's socioemotional development and have implications for adolescent and adult mental health with lasting sequelae. Furthermore, the effects of racism on parenting practices and maternal/caregiver mental health appear to indicate mechanisms through which racism affects young children. Although more studies are needed in this area, recent literature indicates that racism is a social determinant of health that adversely impacts infant and early childhood socioemotional, and behavioral development. Future studies should focus on understanding the mechanisms through which racism impacts early childhood development and health, and interventions to prevent and mitigate the effects of racism.
PMID: 33712922
ISSN: 1535-1645
CID: 4823442

Associations between childhood maltreatment, poor sleep, and prenatal distress in pregnant adolescents

Foss, Sophie; Gustafsson, Hanna C; Berry, Obianuju O; Hipwell, Alison E; Werner, Elizabeth A; Peterson, Bradley S; Monk, Catherine
Childhood maltreatment (CM) is a known risk factor for adolescent pregnancy. Sleep disturbances and psychological distress, both common negative sequelae of CM, often co-occur during pregnancy, although directionality remains unclear. Furthermore, little is known about how CM affects sleep-distress associations during pregnancy. In pregnant adolescents, we examined: (a) whether there are significant predictive associations from CM to sleep quality and distress and (b) bidirectional influences of distress and sleep quality. Healthy pregnant adolescents (n = 204) were recruited before or during the 2nd trimester. CM was assessed at enrollment; sleep quality and distress were assessed in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. Hypotheses were tested using path analysis. Findings revealed that CM was associated with worse 2nd trimester sleep quality and distress (β = .19, p < .05 for sleep; β = .30, p < .001 for distress). Higher levels of 2nd trimester distress were associated with lower 3rd trimester sleep quality (β = .19, p < .05). Findings provide novel information about (a) associations from CM to prenatal mood and sleep in pregnant adolescents, and (b) sleep-distress directionality over the course of pregnancy. These results have implications for better understanding the ways in which CM potentially exerts influences later in life, and for targeting interventions to address physical and mental health during pregnancy.
PMID: 33551015
ISSN: 1469-2198
CID: 5173552

Preventing maternal mental health disorders in the context of poverty: pilot efficacy of a dyadic intervention

Scorza, Pamela; Monk, Catherine; Lee, Seonjoo; Feng, Tianshu; Berry, Obianuju O; Werner, Elizabeth
BACKGROUND:The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends that clinicians provide or refer pregnant and postpartum women who are at an increased risk of perinatal depression to counseling interventions. However, this prevention goal requires effective interventions that reach women at risk of, but before, the development of a depressive disorder. OBJECTIVE:We describe a pilot efficacy trial of a novel dyadic intervention to prevent common maternal mental health disorders, that is, Practical Resources for Effective Postpartum Parenting, in a sample of women at risk of maternal mental health disorders based on poverty status. We hypothesized that Practical Resources for Effective Postpartum Parenting compared with enhanced treatment as usual would reduce symptoms of maternal mental health disorders after birth. STUDY DESIGN/METHODS:A total of 60 pregnant women who were recruited from obstetrical practices at Columbia University Irving Medical Center were randomized to the Practical Resources for Effective Postpartum Parenting (n=30) or enhanced treatment as usual (n=30) intervention. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale, and Patient Health Questionnaire were used to compare maternal mood at 6 weeks, 10 weeks, and 16 weeks after delivery. RESULTS:At 6 weeks after delivery, women randomized to Practical Resources for Effective Postpartum Parenting had lower mean Edinburgh Postnatal Depression scores (P=.018), lower mean Hamilton Depression scores (P<.001), and lower mean Hamilton Anxiety scores (P=.041); however, the incidence of postpartum mental disorders did not differ by treatment group. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:The Practical Resources for Effective Postpartum Parenting, which is an intervention integrated within obstetrical care, improves subclinical symptomology for at-risk dyads at a crucial time in the early postpartum period; however, our study did not detect reductions in the incidence of postpartum mental disorders.
PMID: 33345933
ISSN: 2589-9333
CID: 4724692

The Rise of Venture Capital Investing in Mental Health

Shah, Ravi N; Berry, Obianuju O
PMID: 32936238
ISSN: 2168-6238
CID: 4637122

Intimate partner violence and psychological interventions in low-income and middle-income countries [Comment]

Berry, Obianuju O; Monk, Catherine
PMID: 31981528
ISSN: 2215-0374
CID: 4474612