GSBS Dissertations and Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Academic Program

Master of Science in Clinical Investigation



First Thesis Advisor

Lori Pbert, PhD


Perinatal Care, Depression, Depressive Disorder, Mental Health Services, Postpartum Period


Theses, UMMS; Perinatal Care; Depression; Depressive Disorder; Mental Health Services; Postpartum Period


Depression is the leading cause of disability among women of reproductive age worldwide. Upwards of 1 in 5 women suffer from perinatal depression. This condition has deleterious effects on several birth outcomes, infant attachment, and children’s behavior/development. Maternal suicide causes 20% of postpartum deaths in depressed women. Although the vast majority of perinatal women are amenable to being screened for depression, screening alone does not improve treatment rates or patient outcomes. Obstetrics/Gynecology (Ob/Gyn) clinics need supports in place to adequately address depression in their patient populations. The primary goal of this thesis is to develop, refine, and pilot test a new low-cost and sustainable stepped care program for Ob/Gyn clinics that will improve perinatal women’s depression treatment rates and outcomes. We developed and beta tested the Rapid Access to Perinatal Psychiatric Care in Depression (RAPPID) Program, to create a comprehensive intervention that is proactive, multifaceted, and practical. RAPPID aims to improve perinatal depression treatment and treatment response rates through: (1) access to immediate resource provision/referrals and psychiatric telephone consultation for Ob/Gyn providers; (2) clinic-specific implementation of depression care, including training support and toolkits; and (3) proactive depression screening, assessment, and treatment in OB/Gyn clinics. RAPPID builds on a low-cost and widely disseminated population-based model for delivering psychiatric care in primary care settings. Formative data and feedback from key stakeholders also informed the development of RAPPID. Our formative and pilot work in real-world settings suggests RAPPID is feasible and has the potential to improve depression detection and treatment in Ob/Gyn settings. The next step will be to compare two active interventions, RAPPID vs. enhanced usual care (access to resource provision/referrals and psychiatric telephone consultation) in a cluster-randomized trial in which we will randomize 12 Ob/Gyn clinics to either RAPPID or enhanced usual care.



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