WG1: Prevention and Treatment strategies in PPD
Leader: Ana Fonseca (Portugal)
Co-Leader: Sandra Nakić Radoš (Croatia)
Objectives: Synthesize current knowledge concerning diagnosis criteria and strategies for prevention and treatment of PPD, including knowledge about well-established interventions and new lines of research, its cost-effectiveness and organizational impact.
Tasks: i) Review the state-of-the-art concerning diagnosis criteria, prevention, and treatment; ii) Identify other knowledge gaps; iii) Combine the available evidence and address the gaps in the field ; iv) Discuss new research ideas aiming for coordinated future projects in collaboration, focusing on novel effective procedures needed to support decision making on the selection of cost-effective programs; v) Propose guidelines for prevention and clinical intervention; vi) Provide training to researchers and health professionals working in perinatal settings.
Milestones: WG Meetings; 3 TSs for researchers in systematic reviews/meta-analysis, principles and practice in clinical trials, and cost-effectiveness analysis in health; 2 TSs for health professionals in prevention of perinatal mental health disorders, and evidence-based PPD interventions; 2 Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) in clinical training; 2 Workshops (1 for primary care professionals; 1 for undergraduate students); Identify the gaps in the field and discuss new future projects in collaboration
Deliverables: Report addressing the definition and diagnosis criteria of PPD, current needs and future directions for prevention, management and treatment of Peripartum Depression Disorder (consensus); Publication of systematic reviews/meta-analysis results in prevention and treatment strategies for Peripartum Depression Disorder; Proposals for concrete regional guidelines for prevention, clinical diagnosis, and treatment of PPD.
WG2: Assessment approaches and methods in PPD
Leader: Colin Martin (UK)
Co-Leader: Helena Moreira (Portugal)
Objectives: Appraise, develop and define standard procedures to: i) assess women diagnosed with PPD (pre- and post-treatment); ii) collect genetic and epigenetic biomarkers; iii) assess the impact of PPD in the newborn-infant development (0-12 months); iv) assess interpersonal functioning (the mother-baby dyad and the father-mother-baby triad).
Tasks: i) Develop an overview of the current assessment procedures for the main players in PPD and their interactions, in multiple domains: cognition,, emotion, personality, autonomy, psychopathology, quality of life and interpersonal functioning; ii) Propose assessment standards for each intervenient and dimension; iii) Provide researchers and practitioners with training courses in (neuro)psychological assessment tools for women with PPD, the dyad mother-baby and the triad father-mother-baby; iv) Provide researchers and practitioners with training courses in the assessment of neurocognitive development of newborn-infants; v) Provide researchers with training courses in biomarkers; vi) Develop scientific outputs to disseminate achieved standards for each assessment target.
Milestones: WG Meetings; 2 TSs for health professionals (on PPD clinical diagnosis and assessment, and on infant’s neurodevelopment assessment); 2 STSMs in assessment methods; 2 Workshops (1 for primary care professionals and 1 for undergraduate students).
Deliverables: Publications on current trans-disciplinary assessment procedures and tools in Peripartum Depression Disorder; Proposals for concrete guidelines or input to standards for the assessment of each intervenient and dimension.
WG3: Neuroimaging and neurophysiological data acquisition and analysis in PPD
Leader: Chris Baeken (Belgium)
Co-Leader: Marie-Anne Vanderhasselt (Belgium)
Objectives: Establish the best approaches to study the neuronal underpinnings of PPD in women and the neural correlates of its impact in the newborn-infants.
Tasks: i) Synthesis of the best practices in neuroimaging and neurophysiological data acquisition and analysis; ii) Develop innovative methods of analysis for both structural and functional neuroimaging and for neurophysiological data in the field of PPD; iii) Training of researchers in neuroimaging and neurophysiological techniques to assess mothers and newborn-infants neurodevelopment; iv) Promote the inclusion of neuroimaging and neurophysiological standard techniques in future research projects developed in collaboration; v) Promote the inclusion of neuroimaging and neurophysiological measures to assess neurodevelopment in clinical settings; vi) Elaborate outputs to disseminate the achieved standards in neuroimaging and neurophysiological methods.
Milestones: WG Meetings; 2 STSMs (on neuroimaging, and on neurophysiology); 4 Workshops (2 on neuroimaging; 2 on neurophysiology); Successful implementation of standard neuroimaging and neurophysiological techniques.
Deliverables: Report on the existing practices on brain imaging and neurophysiological assessment and recommended protocols/Standard Operating procedures (SOPs) for data acquisition (to produce compatible outputs among different geographical locations, age groups, and research projects for further data integration).
WG4: Ethical standards and procedures for clinical research in PPD
Leader: Ramón Escuriet Peiro (Spain)
Co-Leader: Mariana Moura-Ramos (Portugal)
Objectives: Improve the protection of human subjects in all aspects of research in PPD
Tasks: i) Identify emerging ethical and legal issues in PPD, related to patient recruitment, sampling, informed consent, sharing of data, biological samples and personal data protection; ii) Discuss primary ethical concerns in human research and specificities in pregnancy, postpartum and newborn-infants; iii) Develop and stimulate adherence to ethical guidelines to address the challenges; iv) Foster the inclusion of women’s mental health advocates (e.g. local associations), and practitioners (e.g. midwives) in research ethics committees.
Milestones: WG Meetings; Local Workshops (1 per ITC aiming at reaching a minimum of 8 ITC members); Satellite talks within the programmed International Conferences with stakeholders.
Deliverables: Report on the emerging ethical challenges in PPD research namely the representativeness of the different stakeholders in current regional ethic committees; Publication addressing the emerging ethical issues, and a patient-information leaflet based of the former.
WG5: Data sharing and data management in PPD
Leader: Bruno de Sousa (Portugal)
Co-Leader: Thomas Kneib (Germany)
Objectives: Promote a framework for quality of data and data sharing among participant countries; Explore data management and analysis strategies.
Tasks: i) Establish a framework to build a pan-European database in PPD, incorporating regulatory, legal, ethical and patient governance, to be adopted by in future research; ii) Define procedures on data quality control, and data collection and management in biostatistics; iii) Training of researchers in data management plans, central databases and statistical analysis; vii) Bridge biostatistics and mental health research, promoting intergroup abilities to foster translational and applied knowledge.
Milestones: WG Meetings; 1 TS for researchers (on data management and data analysis).
Deliverables: Establish the framework for a pan-European PPD database, according to the defined procedures on data quality control, data collection, and management.
WG6: Inclusiveness, Dissemination and Public Engagement
Leader: Eleni Vousoura (Greece)
Co-Leader: Maja Žutić (Croatia)
Objectives: Implement the Action policies on gender and geographical representativeness; Disseminate and transfer findings from the Action to the scientific community, health practitioners/carers, women, families and communities.
Tasks: i) Monitor the implementation of gender and geographical balance throughout the Action; ii) Boost ECIs and ITCs participation and their inclusion in leadership positions; iii) Support the organization of all events of the Action (TSs, STSMs, meetings, workshops); iv) Coordinate the publication of the Action’s scientific outputs to the scientific community and health care professionals; v) Define, implement and monitor online and offline strategies of dissemination to the wider public, and health care professionals, promoting its involvement.
Milestones: Organize 2 International Conferences (years 3 and 4); Ensure gender and geographical balance (a minimum of 50% of the MC being composed by female members and a minimum of 50% of WGs’ leadership assumed by ECIs from ITCs); Extend the Action network, particularly to other COST ITCs, but also to Near Neighbour Countries (NNCs), and other International Partner Countries (IPCs) that may share expertise and good practices; Involve representatives of the end-users in each country (particularly through our members from international organizations); Organize open events for the wider public (satellite talks during the International Conferences); Participation in local media outreach programs.
Deliverables: Publish the Action website, opening the intranet system to participants, publishing contents targeting health carers and general community (produce outreach materials and press notes, and ensure social media participation, (WG6); Report on the Action global knowledge transfer, dissemination and exploitation activities; Report on the effectiveness of the Action strategies regarding inclusion, and geographical and gender policies.