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Jean Hailes Professor Jane Fisher awarded 2017 Marcé Medal

Media releases 3 Nov 2017
Marce Medalpic

Jean Hailes for Women's Health is proud to announce that Professor Jane Fisher, Director of the Jean Hailes Research Unit, was recently awarded the 2017 Marcé Medal by the Australasian Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health.

The International Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental has chapters around the world, including an Australasian chapter, that aim to support and assist in prenatal and postpartum mental health for mothers, fathers and their babies. The distinguished Australasian Marcé Medal is awarded every two years to an eminent person who has made an extraordinary contribution to expert knowledge in the field of perinatal mental health through research, clinical practice, teaching and mentorship.

Janet Michelmore AO, Executive Director of Jean Hailes, says that Professor Fisher has contributed greatly to the improvement of new parents' emotional wellbeing, and that of their children, for decades. "We're extremely proud of Jane's work in this important field," she says. "Jane is helping bring about positive long-term change to Australian families."

At least 40,000 Australian women are affected by perinatal depression and anxiety each year. According to government estimates, it affects up to 9% of pregnant women and 16% of women following the birth of their child.

"We now understand what makes women vulnerable to these experiences and know that it is important to recognise and respond early in order to avert long-term problems," says Professor Fisher. She has shown that providing both parents with knowledge and skills to manage unsettled infants and to negotiate changes in their roles and responsibilities without criticising each other leads to lower rates of postnatal depression and anxiety in first-time mothers.

"I'm very grateful for the honour of receiving this award, which recognises the value of our research about gender-based risks to women's mental health and how, in the partnership with Jean Hailes, it has been converted to effective ways to assist women to prevent postnatal mental health problems," says Professor Fisher.

About Professor Jane Fisher

Professor Jane Fisher is Jean Hailes Professor of Women's Health and Director of the Jean Hailes Research Unit, a formal partnership between Jean Hailes and Monash University's School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine. She is an academic Clinical and Health Psychologist with interests in public health perspectives on the links between women's reproductive health and mental health from adolescence to mid-life, in particular related to fertility, conception, pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period.

Professor Fisher was instrumental in the development of What Were We Thinking!, a program, app and blog that helps new mums and dads. She was elected President of the International Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health for 2016-2018 in a worldwide ballot. She is an expert technical advisor to international agencies including the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the United Nations Population Fund.

About the Marcé Society

The International Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health is the expert professional society for research, clinical practice and public health initiatives to improve understanding of and responses to mental health problems among women who are pregnant or have recently given birth, their partners, and their infants and young children. It is a multidisciplinary group of academics, clinicians, advocates and people with lived experience.

For the media

For more information on Jean Hailes, for images or to interview Professor Fisher, please contact Janelle Carrigan on 0409 939 920 or email [email protected].