Dec. 22, 2021

Nursing scholar investigates how to support women making decisions on antidepressants during pregnancy

Killam Postdoctoral Laureate Dr. Catriona Hippman looks at models of care for supporting women requiring hospitalization for acute postpartum mental illness
Catriona Hippman

UCalgary Nursing welcomed Killam Postdoctoral Laureate Dr. Catriona Hippman (PhD) in 2021 to work with Dr. Dawn Kingston (PhD), investigating models of care for supporting women requiring hospitalization for acute postpartum mental illness.

Hippman, who completed her PhD in 2020 in the UBC Interdisciplinary Studies program, concentrated that research on how to better support women who are making a decision about taking antidepressants during pregnancy.

“I focused on gathering data through two studies: a qualitative interview study exploring women's experiences of making this decision, and a quantitative study investigating whether depression symptoms among women taking antidepressants in pregnancy were influenced by variations in genes known to affect the metabolism of antidepressants,” explains Hippman, who is clinically trained as a genetic counsellor and has been certified since 2009. “I am passionate about listening to people who have experienced perinatal mental illness and elevating those voices to impact change in health service delivery.”

In her work with Kingston, Hippman says they will “paint a picture of the current experience of hospitalization for postpartum mental illness in Canada and investigate lessons learned from implementation of models of health service delivery in Australia.”

“Catriona’s work will contribute to the advancement of perinatal mental health services delivery in Canada and bring it on par with the UK and Australia,” says Kingston.

“Ultimately, the goal is to integrate evidence from the Canadian and Australian experiences to make recommendations for best practices for health service delivery for acute postpartum mental illness in Canada,” adds Hippman.

Hippman’s fellowship continues to 2023.

The Killam Trusts have provided more than $1 billion in scholarships, fellowships and prizes to post-graduate scholars at five Canadian universities, including the University of Calgary, and through the Canada Council. Established in 1965 by Izaak Walton Killam and his wife Dorothy J. Killam, the Killam Estate bequeathed a total of $125,000,000 in life and death for scholarships at the graduate and postgraduate levels to recognize research excellence.