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UR Nursing Researchers Earn AACN “All of Us” Grant For Postpartum Depression Study

  By Gianluca D'Elia
  Monday, October 2, 2023

The University of Rochester School of Nursing is among six schools to receive funding from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s (AACN) All of Us Research Program, in partnership with the NIH.

The AACN awarded a mini-grant to Assistant Professor Dillon Dzikowicz, PhD, RN, PCCN, and undergraduate data science student Carol Li for their proposed project to assess whether heart rate during pregnancy — measured by data from Fitbits — can predict postpartum depression.

The study will also evaluate whether anti-depressants have a measurable effect on heart rate.

The team says it’s an important time to focus on postpartum depression: national rates of postpartum depression have increased over the past decade, and COVID-19 led to elevated rates of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress among pregnant and postpartum women.

Assistant Professor Caitlin Dreisbach, PhD, RN, a researcher who focuses on using data science and analytics to address health disparities in pregnancy, also supported Li and Dzikowicz’s work on the proposal. The study builds on previous pilot work that was supported by a School of Nursing Faculty Research Grant.

Portrait of Dillon Dzikowicz“This project highlights an important, innovative collaboration,” Dzikowicz said. “We are very excited for this project and see it transitioning to a larger award with other colleagues here and at other institutions.”

Launched by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the All of Us Research Program seeks to build a national health database reflecting the diversity of those living in the U.S., stiriving to include populations that have traditionally been left out of health research. All of Us participants are asked to answer health surveys, connect wearable devices, and share biosamples, in an effort to help researchers understand how a person's health history, genetics, environment, and life experiences impact their health. 

The AACN joined with NIH to advance the initiative by administering mini-grants to facilitate the engagement of nurse researchers with the All of Us Research Workbench. Dzikowicz and Li will utilize the All of Us database for their upcoming study.

Other schools that received funding include:

  • Duke University
  • Loyola University–Chicago
  • University of North Carolina–Greensboro
  • University of Texas Health Science Center–Houston
  • Washington State University

Categories: Research

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