Physician Wins Postpartum Research Award

By Ben Boulden

PSI is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness, prevention and treatment of mental health issues related to childbearing.

Ray-Griffith, who sees patients in the Women’s Mental Health Program of the UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute, received the award in January for a research proposal involving acetaminophen exposure in pregnant women.

Ray plans to study data involving the medical histories of women up to three years after giving birth in an effort to establish a possible link between the analgesic and postpartum and neonatal complications.

She believes the study, which will last about a year, will have an impact on the usage of the common pain reliever in women before and after giving birth.

“We think there are some risks in women taking acetaminophen during pregnancy, and that it can affect not only their mental health but also affect their child’s physical and mental health,” said Ray. “This study could identify some of the problems facing women who are dealing with depression after giving birth and the problems their children may have later in life.”

The Susan A. Hickman Award is given each year to an individual involved in a scholarly research project that contributes to the field of perinatal mental health. Hickman, who died in 1997, was a psychotherapist who specialized in perinatal mood disorders in San Diego, California. She was an expert witness in infanticide cases and an outspoken advocate for fair and competent treatment for postpartum women.

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report recognized UAMS Medical Center as a Best Hospital for 2021-22; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide for the third year; and named five areas as high performing — colon cancer surgery, diabetes, hip replacement, knee replacement and stroke. Forbes magazine ranked UAMS as seventh in the nation on its Best Employers for Diversity list. UAMS also ranked in the top 30% nationwide on Forbes’ Best Employers for Women list and was the only Arkansas employer included. UAMS has 2,876 students, 898 medical residents and six dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.