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Posts by Sharon Dekel, PhD

  • Childbirth is commonly thought to be a happy event with happy outcomes, but research shows that most women report some degree of "postpartum blues." PTSD researcher Sharon Dekel, PhD, seeks to better understand the postpartum mental health challenges faced by mothers and why some women struggle while others thrive.

Biography

Dr. Sharon Dekel is an assistant professor of psychology in the Psychiatry Department at Harvard Medical School and Mass General. Her research focuses on biological and psychological factors associated with ways of coping with stressful events. Her work on the positive outlook of traumatic stress is considered pioneering in the field.

Since joining Mass General in 2013, Dr. Dekel has expanded her research as well as the fields of trauma studies and maternal postpartum wellness in her investigation of childbirth as a potentially traumatic event. She developed an original multidisciplinary research model involving both the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of OB/GYN which has allowed her lab to study over 1,300 postpartum women. The study employs biological and psychological methods to detect the mechanisms underlying maternal growth and psychopathology in the aftermath of childbirth. Dr. Dekel is taking the lead in defining the overlooked condition of childbirth-related post-traumatic stress disorder. Her program is aimed at developing novel tools for early detection of mothers at risk for postpartum mental illness and preventive treatments that are effective and safe.

Dr. Dekel has an extensive record of publication in leading scientific journals. She is a two-time recipient of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation’s Young Investigator Award, Mass General’s Claflin Distinguished Scholar Award for Women in Science, and a recent recipient of the Susan A. Hickman Memorial Research Award for impactful research on postpartum mental health. Her research is funded by the NIH.

Dr. Dekel is also a licensed clinical psychology and has a private practice.