Deadline to apply for the 2024 Susan A. Hickman Award is April 26, 2024

The Susan A. Hickman Memorial Research Award is given each year to an individual involved in a scholarly research project that contributes to the field of perinatal mental health. This year, in 2024, we will award $10,000 to 2 recipients.

The recipients are selected by the PSI Research Committee among qualified applicants. The full award for each recipient is $10,000, plus  registration and travel reimbursement to attend the annual PSI Conference in July 2024.

The Hickman award will be presented at the PSI annual conference in July 2024.

History: The idea for an annual research award was first proposed in 1994 to promote and foster the interest of beginning researchers in the conduct of scientific investigation and knowledge development about perinatal mental health and psychiatric illness. The award was named in 1997 in honor of past PSI Board member Susan A. Hickman, following her sudden death. Susan Hickman was born April 1, 1943 and passed away June 3, 1997. She was a psychotherapist who specialized in perinatal mood disorders in San Diego, CA, along with her husband Dr. Robert Hickman. Susan was an expert witness in infanticide cases and an outspoken advocate for fair and competent treatment for postpartum women. Susan and Robert attended the very first PSI conference in Santa Barbara in 1987 and hosted the 1992 PSI conference in San Diego.

Eligibility of Award

The research must be related to issues of perinatal mental health. A qualified candidate for the research award will: 1) be a master’s, doctoral, post-doctoral or research faculty member with affiliation with an accredited institution of higher education, and 2) be or become a member of Postpartum Support International, and 3) has not received the award in the last three years.

Submission Requirements

  1. Include a cover letter including a 2-3 sentence description of how your research is novel and specifically enhances the field of perinatal mental health.
  2. Provide the following information on a cover page: title of proposal, author institution, mailing address and phone.
  3. Submit a 3-5 page summary of the proposal. Summary should include the problem statement, question/hypothesis, conceptual base/literature review, method/design, sample description, instruments/data collection approach, procedures and proposed budget outline (if funded, how will the funds be utilized),
  4. Submit documentation of “Ethical Approval” from the candidate’s representative academic institution. Examples of this can include documentation from your Institutional Review Board (IRB), Governance Checklist or Ethical Approval Certificate.
  5. Document protection of human and animal rights.


All submitted applications will be reviewed by members of PSI Research Committee. The official announcement of the Hickman award will be made at the Annual PSI Conference.

PSI shall be acknowledged in any publication of research resulting from this award. Research results should be presented at a PSI Annual Conference within 3 to 5 years of receipt of the award.

For further questions, please email Courtney Yorks, PSI Research and Impact Manager at

Past Recipients


Amy M. Claridge, Ph.D., LMFT
Central Washington University
“Social Policy Context and the Transition to Parenthood: A Cross-Cultural Exploration of Couples Mental Health and Relationship Experiences in the Postpartum Period”

Lee S. Cohen, MD
Massachusetts General Hospital
Ammon-Pinizzotto Center for Women’s Mental Health
“A Qualitative Examination of the Lived Experience of Postpartum Psychosis”


Chinyere Y. Eigege, Ph.D. Candidate
University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work
“A Grounded Theory Study on the Experiences of Perinatal Loss Among Black Women”

Tyriesa L. Howard, PhD, LMSW
Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
“An Exploration of Paternal Involvement to Optimize Maternal Mental Health in NICU Settings”


Eynav Elgavish Accortt, Ph.D. 
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
“Do plasma inflammatory protein signatures differentiate women with Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMAD) from healthy controls?”

Rachel C. Vanderkruik, PhD, MSc
Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School
Ammon-Pinizzotto Center for Women’s Mental Health
Targeting Body Image Dissatisfaction During Pregnancy: A Way to Mitigate Risk for Disordered Eating and Depression in the Postpartum


Courtney King, PhD
University of South Carolina
Exercise, Health and Peer-Recovery Coaching A Novel, Web-Based Treatment for Perinatal Opioid Use Disorder


Rebecca J. McCloskey, MSW, LISW
PhD Candidate | Graduate Research Associate
The Ohio State University College of Social Work
Adverse Childhood Experiences, Postpartum Health, and Breastfeeding: A Mixed Methods Study


Sharon Dekel, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Harvard Medical School & Massachusetts General Hospital
Can we facilitate maternal bonding and prevent postpartum psychopathology using intranasal oxytocin? A novel treatment approach


Moshe Winograd, Ph.D.
CUNY Brooklyn College
Understanding the Predictors of Posttraumatic Growth Among Those With a History of a Reproductive Trauma


Dr. Kayla Wiesner, MD, PGY2
University of Buffalo
Obstetrics and Gynecology
Sisters of Charity Hospital
Buffalo, New York
Degree and determinants of maternal anxiety and depression during antepartum hospitalization for risk pregnancy


Shona L. Ray-Griffith, M.D.
Women’s Mental Health Program
Psychiatric Research Institute
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Exposure to Acetaminophen in the Perinatal Period: Quantification and Consequences


McClain Sampson, McClain Sampson, Ph.D., M.S.S.W.
Assistant Professor, University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work
Development of an Intervention for PPD among Impoverished Mothers


Dayna J. Le Platte, MD
Psychiatry Resident, University of Michigan
Moms for Moms Project. A community-based approach designed to enrich young mom’s social support and to facilitate self-care and parenting skills. Dr. Le Platte’s project will research this innovative community program connecting at-risk mothers with trained peer supporters.


Ruth Paris, PhD
Boston University School of Social Work
Experiences of Postpartum Depression in Military Families, A Qualitative Study.


Kanita E. Allen, MA, MFT
A phenomenological study of the experience of partners of women diagnosed with Postpartum Depression.

Sona Dimidjian PhD
Exercise-Based Intervention for Antenatal Depression.


Katy Backes Kozhimannil, PhD, MPA
Harvard University PhD Program in Health Policy
Evaluating the impact of a statewide initiative on the treatment of postpartum depression among low income mothers in New Jersey.


Peta-gay Rhinehart, RN, LPC, PhD
University of Houston
Self-Perception of Postpartum Depression.


Maureen L. Murphy, CNM, MSN, EdM
University of Massachusetts, Lowell, School of Health and Environment, Nursing Division for her dissertation on Determinants of Nurse-Midwifery Management of Postpartum Onset Major Depression: A National Survey


Abby Goldstein, MS
Wright State University, Ohio for her dissertation on maternal filicide.

Sandra Jolley, MS
University of Washington for her dissertation on Maternal adaptation in the transition from pregnancy to postpartum: focus on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and mood.


Kelly Harner, MFT
California School of Professional Psychology, Sacramento, California for her study to assess if support groups are a viable treatment approach for postpartum depression.

Janice Goodman, RN
Boston College, Massachusetts for her dissertation on Parental Postpartum Depression and the Family System.


Kim Boland-Prom, MSW
Portland Oregon, for her study on whether or not working women’s reported sense of control and perceived social support in the work and family domains affect their depressive symptoms.


Yuko Leong, RN
University of California, San Francisco for her postgraduate work on postpartum depression in Japanese women in California.


Linda Amankwaa, RN
Florida State University for her dissertation on Postpartum Depression Among African-American Women.