Katherine Wisner, MD, Norman and Helen Asher Professor, has long been recognized as one of the nation’s foremost experts in women’s mental health. In early October, she garnered international acclaim.
Bestowed the Marcé Society’s highest award, Wisner, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and obstetrics and gynecology, was acknowledged for her academic and service contributions to the understanding of perinatal mood disorders. She joined the society, which focuses on the understanding and treatment of these disorders, in 1986.
“It’s really an honor to receive this kind of international recognition because the past couple of years have featured some wonderful scientific advances and policy breakthroughs by leaders in our field, many of whom have been involved with perinatal mental health long before we Americans ever began to focus on it,” said Wisner, director of the Asher Center for Research and Treatment of Depressive Disorders.
Wisner is just the second American to win the Marcé Medal, which she received October 5 at their biennial international conference, held this year in Paris.
Throughout her research career, Wisner has been a pioneer in the field of women’s mental health, becoming the first American psychiatrist to develop a technique to monitor possible infant toxicity caused by psychotropic medication in breast milk. She also performed the first comparative drug study for postpartum depression, and her work in public health resulted in the first comprehensive National Institute of Mental Health-funded demonstration screening project for postpartum depression.
The immediate past president of the Marcé Society, Wisner is also a member of the American Medical Association, Society for Women’s Health Research, and American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, among other professional organizations.
Formed in 1980, the Marcé Society brings together different strands of research in perinatal mood disorders to promote, facilitate, and communicate research regarding all aspects of female mental health and the mental health of their infants and partners around the time of childbirth. The society was named after Louis Victor Marcé, a French psychiatrist who wrote the first treatise entirely devoted to perinatal mental illness, published in 1858.
Next year, with sponsorship from the Asher Center, the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Northwestern Medicine®, Feinberg will host a regional meeting of the Marcé Society as part of a conference on perinatal mental health on November 6-8 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel.