"My research seeks to further our understanding of how trauma and mental health challenges can affect a woman's reproductive health and childbearing experiences. I am also dedicated to developing trauma-specific interventions to promote healthy parenting and interrupt cycles of violence and psychiatric vulnerability."
Trauma and trauma-informed approaches; mental health; sexual and reproductive health; interventions; infant mental health; health disparities; gun violence
Mickey Sperlich, an assistant professor, is an experienced midwife and researcher who studies the effects of trauma and mental health challenges on women's childbearing and postpartum experiences and outcomes. She originally became interested in research in order to better understand the needs of her midwifery clients who were trauma survivors. Her first research project culminated in the book "Survivor Moms: Women's Stories of Birthing, Mothering and Healing after Sexual Abuse," which was named the 2008 Book of the Year by the America College of Nurse Midwives.
Sperlich has taken part in several trauma-focused perinatal studies and is co-author of a psychosocial intervention for pregnant survivors of abuse, the "Survivor Moms' Companion." She completed her PhD with a dual-title in Social Work and Infant Mental Health at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, in 2014. Sperlich is committed to developing and evaluating trans-disciplinary interventions to understand and address the sequelae of sexual violence and other trauma, particularly in relation to women's reproductive health and childbearing. Sperlich's research also examines the importance of a trauma-informed approach for positioning such interventions and fostering their success. Owing in part to its contribution to maternal mortality, a recent research focus includes looking at gun violence and how to better involve social workers in intervening to prevent such violence.