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Phyllis Zelkowitz, EdD


Director of Research, Department of Psychiatry, Jewish General Hospital
Senior Investigator, Lady Davis Institute, Jewish General Hospital 

phyllis.zelkowitz@mcgill.ca
514-340-8222 ext. 5258 

Biography

Phyllis Zelkowitz, Ed.D., is a clinical psychologist and Research Director in the Department of Psychiatry at the Jewish General Hospital, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, McGill University. She is a Senior Investigator at the Lady Davis Institute, and Head of its Psychosocial Axis. She serves as Associate Chair of the Jewish General Hospital Research Ethics Committee, and Chair of its Science Committee. Dr. Zelkowitz received a B.A. (Honours) in Psychology from McGill University, and an M.A. in Educational Psychology from the University of Toronto. She obtained her doctorate in Human Development at Harvard University.

Research Interests

Her research interests are in the field of perinatal mental health, incorporating individual, contextual, and cultural factors. She has received grants from both provincial and federal funding agencies to pursue her research program. Her research on the role of parental anxiety in the development of prematurely born infants led to the development of a CIHR-funded randomized controlled trial of an intervention specifically designed to reduce anxiety and enhance parenting skills in mothers of babies born weighing less than 1500g. She has also studied postpartum depression in native born and immigrant women, and was among the first to describe the high levels of depression among pregnant immigrant women. Dr. Zelkowitz is the recipient of a CIHR Emerging Team Grant in Perinatal Mental Health. This 5 year grant funded a research program that combines multiple methods in the study of perinatal mental illness, linking adverse life circumstances, hormonal and physiological risk factors to maternal mental health problems, which in turn may affect the mother-infant relationship. Other ongoing research involves an examination of the social context and psychological distress in couples seeking assisted reproductive technology services. This research included a demographic survey of patients seeking fertility treatment at two Montreal-area clinics, in order to determine whether there have been changes in the sociodemographic profile of the patient population in the wake of the extension of provincial health care coverage for in vitro fertilization.

Research Team

The CIHR Team in Perinatal Mental Health

Selected Publications

Read, S. C., Carrier, M. E., Boucher, M. E., Whitley, R., Bond, S., & Zelkowitz, P. (2014). Psychosocial services for couples in infertility treatment: What do couples really want? Patient Educ Couns, 94, 390-395.

Tulandi, T., King, L., Zelkowitz, P. Public funding and access to IVF (May 2013) New England Journal of Medicine, 368 (20), 1948-1949.

Zelkowitz, P., & Papageorgiou, A. (2012). Easing maternal anxiety: An update. Women’s Health, 8, 205-213.

Zelkowitz, P., Feeley, N., Shrier, I., Stremler, R., Westreich, R., Dunkley, D., Steele, R., Rosberger, Z., Lefebvre, F., & Papageorgiou, A. (2011). The Cues and Care randomized controlled trial of a neonatal intensive care unit intervention: Effects on maternal psychological distress and mother-infant interaction. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 32, 591-599. 

Zelkowitz, P., Papageorgiou, A., Bardin,C., & Wang, T. (2009). Persistent maternal anxiety affects the interaction between mothers and their very low birthweight infants at 24 months. Early Human Development, 85, 51-58. 

Zelkowitz, P., Saucier, J-F., Wang, T., Katofsky, L., Valenzuela, M., Westreich, R. (2008). Stability and change in depressive symptoms from pregnancy to two months postpartum in childbearing immigrant women. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 11, 1-11. 

Zelkowitz, P., Paris, J., Guzder, J., Feldman, R., Roy, C., & Rosval, L. (2007). A five-year follow-up of patients with borderline pathology of childhood. Journal of Personality Disorders, 21, 664-674.

Important Links

Dr. Zelkowitz's publications indexed on PubMed

Dr. Phyllis Zelkowitz’s CIHR Team in Perinatal Mental Health at the Jewish General Hospital has produced a video, “The Science of Motherhood,” presenting their research on oxytocin, as part of the Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health’s “IHDCYH Talks"