For registration information please click HERE
My program of research at Cedars-Sinai focuses on mood and anxiety disorders during the female reproductive life course and in response to chronic illness. I study the physiological processes that are associated with higher risk for depression and anxiety in pregnancy, postpartum, perimenopause, and following diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer and heart disease. I am also interested in the association between maternal mental health and adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes. My results are published in peer-reviewed journals and I strive to produce work that informs my own and others' clinical practice.
I am the primary or co-investigator on three ongoing institutional review board (IRB)-approved research studies: (1) The Postpartum Heart Health Registry and Biorepository which is designed to understand how early cardiovascular screening and evaluation can help child bearing women reduce their risk of developing heart disease later in life. This database of women with complications during pregnancy will allow us to longitudinally study possible links between complications during pregnancy, mental health, and heart health; (2) The PROVIDE study: Preeclampsia Research on Vitamin D, Inflammation, & Depression which explores whether systemic inflammation and vitamin D deficiency place women at higher risk for developing preeclampsia and postpartum depression; and (3) The Postpartum Depression Quality Improvement Study which will determine accurate prevalence rates of postpartum depression at Cedars-Sinai, test the acceptability and effectiveness of the new Depression Screening, Education and Referral program and will provide valuable patient centered qualitative and quantitative data that can be used in future services planning.
In addition to the three ongoing IRB-approved research studies, I work on analyzing and writing up data collected on Vitamin D levels (not nutritional intake, blood levels) and perinatal depression and other important birth outcomes like preeclampsia and preterm birth. Some of this data will be discussed in an upcoming FREE webinar on Thursday February 1st, 2018.
African American women have the highest rates of prenatal and postpartum depression as well as adverse perinatal outcomes (e.g. preterm delivery & low birth weight babies) compared to other racial groups in the U.S. They are at increased risk for vitamin D deficiency because darker skin limits synthesis of vitamin D and due to lower intake of supplemental vitamin D. An exciting and novel area of research focuses on vitamin D’s anti-inflammatory properties and possible anti-depressant effects.
1. Identify symptoms, prevalence and consequences of depression and anxiety in pregnancy and postpartum, with a focus on racial disparities.
2. Learn about the links between perinatal depression and vitamin D and inflammation.
3. Become familiar with research on adverse perinatal outcomes, including depression, and postpartum multi-systemic dysregulation, as measured by high allostatic load.
For registration information please click HERE.
Dr. Accortt in the News
December 2022: Cedars-Sinai Newsroom: Immune System Irregularities Found in Women With Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders
October 2022: Verywell Family, Researchers Find Possible Predictor of Postpartum Depression
June 2022: ABC News, Postpartum Depression Screening, Changes to Nurse Training.
August 2021: AirTalk KPCC Radio, The History of C-Sections, The Significance We Put on "Birth Stories" And How It Impacts Mental health
(fast forward to 13 minute mark)
July 2021: AirTalk KPCC Radio, Why Women Have Long Kept Early Parts of Pregnancy a Secret and the Arguments For Moving Away From the 12-week rule
(fast forward to 28 minute mark)
July 2021: Los Angeles Times, Postpartum depression on the rise, especially for women of color, during COVID-19 pandemic
October 2020: The Candidly, PMDD Affects Millions Of Women. So Why Aren’t We Talking About It?
October 2020: Cedars-Sinai Discoveries Magazine, A Real-Life Stress Test
September 2020: Cedars-Sinai Blog, Infertility and Mental Health
July 2020: Cedars-Sinai Newsroom, Reproductive Psychology Program Focuses on Mother and Family Wellness
May 2020: Hawaii News Now, Sunrise, How to Prevent Anxiety & Depression Before and After Giving Birth
April 2020: The Bump, How to Spot Postpartum Depression in Your Partner or Friend
12/3/19: Quartz, Ten questions about mothers’ mental health could promote resilient pregnancies
5/10/19: CGTN America, US comedian uses her act to turn the spotlight on postpartum depression
5/1/19: KTLA News, How One Comedian’s Battle With Postpartum Depression Turned Laughs Into Legislation
3/20/19: KFI News Radio, FDA Approves First Drug for PPD, Brexanolone (Zulresso)
Winter 2019: Cedars-Sinai Discoveries Magazine, Stop The Stigma
9/11/18: USC Center for Health Journalism, Cedars-Sinai PPD Screening Program May be Model for State
Summer 2018: Cedars-Sinai Catalyst Magazine, The Helping Hand of Los Angeles Funds Postpartum Depression Screening Program, scroll down to page 40 of magazine
5/18/18: TODAY.com, Alyssa Milano on Postpartum Anxiety
5/3/18: Cedars-Sinai Maternal Mental Health Research
10/19/17: Cedars-Sinai Postpartum Depression Screening Program
3/24/17: MomCo. App for Social Support
Dr. Accortt is a California licensed clinical psychologist. When she isn't seeing patients in private practice she conducts research in the OBGYN department at Cedars-Sinai. She will update this page with important maternal mental health news and research.