Improving Treatments for Mood Disorders and Depressive Symptoms in Women During Mid and Later Life
June 21, 2022
12:30 P.M. – 2:00 P.M. ET
About the Webinar
This webinar examines the neurobiology of depression and mood disorders during the menopause transition and later life. Presenters will share research findings on the role of stressful life events and transdermal estradiol administration on depressive symptoms, including irritability and anxiety, as well as the role of circadian rhythm and sleep changes, and their treatment with sleep and light interventions in mood disorders. In addition, findings on anhedonia and depression in women in later life are examined. Current research findings on the underlying biobehavioral mechanisms that may increase depression and other mood disorders will be presented, with a focus on improved treatments or prevention of mental illness in women.
Background: Although the menopausal transition is a window of vulnerability for the development of mood disorders, there is no consensus on clinical recommendations for how to identify, assess, and treat clinical mood symptoms during the menopause transition. Women are at increased risk for both new-onset and recurrent depression during the menopausal transition compared with both pre-menopause and several years post-menopause. Risk factors may include having experienced a depressive episode earlier in life, recent stressful life events, and experiencing substantial vasomotor symptoms during the menopausal transition. Recent findings indicate women during later life have an increased risk of current major depression, higher levels of depressive symptoms, and anxiety.
About the Speakers
Barbara L. Parry, M.D.
University of California, San Diego
Barbara L. Parry, M.D. is Research Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) where she has served as Director of the Women’s Mood Disorders Clinic of the UCSD Outpatient Psychiatric Services and the La Jolla Psychiatry Specialty Clinics, Director of the Women’s Mental Health Clinic at the San Diego Veterans Administration Healthcare Center, and Associate Director of the Consultation-Liaison Service and the Medical Student Clerkship in Psychiatry. Before joining the faculty at UCSD, she did a Research Fellowship in Clinical Psychobiology at NIMH. She completed a Residency in Psychiatry and an Internship in Internal Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her clinical research focus is the chronobiology of mood disorders specific to women: premenstrual, peripartum, and menopausal depression. She conducts sleep, light, melatonin, and other hormonal studies with the aim of developing complementary sleep and light therapy approaches to treatment. Her work has been supported primarily by NIH funding. She has authored or co-authored over 300 peer-reviewed publications and served on NIH study sections, the Board of Directors for the Perinatal Mental Health Society, Data and Safety Monitoring Boards and the Editorial Boards of the American Journal of Psychiatry, the Journal of Biological Rhythms, the International Journal of Endocrinology and Equilibria, The Journal of the North American Menopause Society, The Journal for Postpartum Psychiatric Illness Research and Menopause, amongst others.
Susan Girdler, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Dr. Susan Girdler is Professor and Vice Chair of Faculty Development in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Girdler has a long history of research funding from NIH for her clinical research in women’s reproductive mood disorders, including premenstrual dysphoric disorder and perimenopausal depression. Dr. Girdler’s most recently funded work examines hormone sensitivity and exposure to stressful life events as predictors of depression risk during the menopause transition, and the beneficial effects of transdermal estradiol on that risk. She is also committed to minority health research and is currently Principal Investigator on an NIH study to test best mentoring practices for racially and ethnically underrepresented biomedical researchers.
Vonetta Dotson, Ph.D.
Georgia Southern University
Dr. Vonetta Dotson is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Gerontology at Georgia State University, Senior Project Scientist at NASA, and Founder and President of CerebroFit Integrated Brain Health. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association’s Society for Clinical Neuropsychology. She completed her doctoral training in Clinical Psychology at the University of Florida with a specialization in Neuropsychology and a certificate in Gerontology. She completed her postdoctoral training at the National Institute on Aging Intramural Research Program. Her research and clinical activities focus on positive and negative modifiers of brain health, including the intersection of depression with cognitive and brain aging, and the impact of health disparities on brain health.
About the Moderator
Tamara Lewis Johnson, M.P.H., M.B.A.
Chief, Women’s Health Research Program
Office for Disparities Research and Workforce Diversity, NIMH
Ms. Tamara Lewis Johnson is the Chief of the Women’s Health Research Program for the Office for Disparities Research and Workforce Diversity. She is responsible for providing advice and guidance on matters relating to women’s health research and mental health. Ms. Lewis Johnson brings 11 years of experience in health science management from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) where she served as a Health Science Specialist in the Division of Extramural Activities’ Office of Extramural Research Policy Operations. Ms. Lewis Johnson supported the development of initiatives to promote investments in biomedical research that advance public health outcomes. She has produced reports that describe the importance of infectious and immune-mediated research initiatives to congressional staffers, scientific organizations, and constituency groups. Her expertise in systems engineering, implementation science, and operations research has enabled her to advance translational research that can be used in low-income settings in the United States and abroad. Ms. Lewis Johnson has been instrumental in the development of scientific workgroups to advance public health outcomes through the support of discovery science to advance improved diagnostics, drug development, and vaccine research. She also served as the Senior Program Manager for Women’s Health for the Office of Special Populations and Research Training where she was responsible for managing research and training initiatives related to women’s health research in infectious diseases and immune-mediated illnesses.
Prior to her work at NIAID, Ms. Lewis Johnson worked at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as the Women’s Health Team Lead and Acting Deputy Director of the Office of Women and Minority’s Health (OMWH), at HRSA’s Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC). Ms. Johnson holds two master’s Degrees, one in Business Administration and one in Public Health, with a concentration in Health Services Management, from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University.