Reproductive and Women's Health

reproductive and women's health


Current Studies 

Mi Health Mi Choice study logo

Mi Health Mi Choice: Improving Contraceptive Care for Women With Medical Conditions

Justine P. Wu, M.D., M.P.H., Principal Investigator

Funded by National Institutes of Health (read more on Dr. Wu's award)

Adult women with chronic conditions have a higher rate of unintended pregnancy than adult women without chronic conditions. Chronic conditions and unintended pregnancy are both associated with pregnancy-related complications and adverse maternal and child health outcomes. Prior studies show that women with chronic conditions are not receiving adequate contraceptive counseling, particularly regarding highly effective contraceptive methods. There is an urgent need to improve contraceptive counseling and services for women with chronic conditions in order to decrease the rate of unintended pregnancy and improve reproductive health outcomes among this population. 

This mixed methods, multi-phase study will first 1.) identify key factors on the patient-, provider-, and practice-level that are critical to the design of a contraceptive intervention for women with chronic conditions in primary care. The research team, led by Wu, will then develop an interactive, web-based contraceptive decision aid for women with chronic conditions, their PCPs, and implementation in primary care. Finally, a pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) will be conducted to measure the feasibility of the decision aid as a potential large-scale intervention.

Maternal Mental and Physical Health Outcomes After Stillbirth and Infant Death

Katherine J. Gold, M.D., M.S.W., M.S., Principal Investigator

Funded by National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Mental Health

Little is known about the long-term impact of perinatal loss on surviving mothers, its effect on subsequent prenatal health behaviors and its impact on outcomes of their subsequent pregnancies. Findings may potentially help to identify populations of women at highest risk for mental illness after such a loss, measure the impact of hospital care on maternal psychiatric morbidity, quantify the economic costs of maternal health care in the years following such a loss, and improve fetal outcomes in subsequent pregnancies.

Health Check-Up for Expectant Moms: Computer Intervention for HIV/STI Risk and Drug Use During Pregnancy

Golfo Tzilos, Ph.D., Principal Investigator page

Funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) risk and alcohol/drug use during pregnancy are interconnected problems - both are associated with numerous negative consequences for the woman and the developing fetus. Yet, virtually no interventions have been developed or tested to target both of these serious health concerns during pregnancy. This study will:

  • Design and develop Health Check-up for Expectant Moms (HCEM), a computer-delivered brief intervention that targets both the risk for HIV/STIs and alcohol/drug use among low-income pregnant women

  • Determine the effect of HCEM in two-group, RCT

  • Inform the development of integrated HIV/STI and substance use interventions that are cost-effective, high-reaching, and widely disseminable within prenatal care.

Speaking Their Language: Using Social Media And Texting To Create An Adolescent-centered Approach To Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Tammy Chang, M.D., M.P.H., M.S., Principal Investigator

Funded by the National Institutes of Health, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute Of Child Health & Human Development

This study utilizes qualitative and quantitative methods to understand adolescent women's perceptions of and knowledge about pregnancy weight gain. Excess pregnancy weight gain has a significant negative impact on the health of the adolescent mother, increases the risk of dangerous complications during delivery, and contributes to long-term obesity for both mother and child. Leading a team of researchers, including experts in nutrition, adolescent health, health informatics and social media mining, and primary care, Dr. Chang will:

  • Conduct analyses using nationally representative data from the Fragile Families and Wellbeing Study
  • Carry out social media mining and corresponding qualitative interviews with pregnant and postpartum adolescents
  • Design, implement, and evaluate an adolescent- centered and tailored eHealth (tailored text-messaging) intervention

Longitudinal Population-Based Study of Vulvodynia

Barbara D. Reed, M.D., M.S.P.H., Principal Investigator
Ananda Sen, Ph.D., Biostatistician

Funded by Health and Human Services and National Institutes of Health

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the prevalence, incidence, persistence, and remission rates of vulvodynia among a group of 2500 women. Results from this study will substantially augment our understanding of the combined role of genetics and hormone exposure in the onset, maintenance and remission of vulvodynia, facilitating future studies on pathophysiology, treatment and prevention.

Improving Contraceptive Care for Women with Breast Cancer: An Interprofessional Collaborative Practice Approach

Justine P. Wu, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor, Primary Investigator

Funded by the University of Michigan Health Sciences Council

It has been estimated that cancer survivors have a threefold greater risk of unintended pregnancy than those without cancer. However, family planning efforts for women with breast cancer have primarily focused on fertility preservation, with much less attention devoted to pregnancy prevention and contraception. This new work aims to address the unmet need of premenopausal women with breast cancer. It will develop a prototype web-based decision aid that enables women to make preference-sensitive informed decisions within the context of their cancer status and treatment. The work builds upon and expands Dr. Wu’s recently funded K23 NIH study to develop a contraceptive decision aid for women with medical conditions such as diabetes.

As a first-round recipient of an interprofessional exchange (IP-X) pilot grant, the project is unique in its approach to the research and development process. The project aims to formally develop an interprofessional Collaborative Practice Model of care. Dr. Wu will lead a team of collaborators, representing the complementary disciplines of breast oncology, oncology nursing, oncology social work, and primary care and family planning. The research and implementation team will utilize mixed methods to collect and analyze qualitative and quantitative data to inform both the decision aid intervention and the Collaborative Practice Model.

Pregnancy Outcomes And Experiences Among Deaf And Hard Of Hearing Women

Michael M. McKee, M.D., M.P.H., Co-Primary Investigator

Funded by the National Institutes of Health

Read the full project announcement here

Along with the the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University, co-Principal Investigator Michael M. McKee will lead a five-year NIH-funded study of perinatal care and pregnancy outcomes for women who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH). This pioneering study seeks to fill a critical knowledge gap. While women who are Deaf and hard of hearing are equally likely to be pregnant as women with other disabilities and women without disabilities, almost no research exists about their pregnancy experiences, maternal and birth outcomes, or associated healthcare costs.

 This study will provide the first-ever systematic understanding of pregnancy care costs and health outcomes for DHH women. With it, Mitra and McKee hope to establish the foundational knowledge necessary to develop future interventions to improve outcomes. They also plan to generate practice recommendations for clinicians to deliver improved perinatal health to DHH mothers and their infants.


Media and Infographics

APHA flyer - Long acting reversible contraceptives

Click to view large image
"Adolescents and Immediate Postpartum Long Acting Reversible Contraceptive (IPLARC)" American Public Health Association October 2016, Tammy Chang, MD, MPH, MS

Recent Publications

  1. Reinebrant HE, Leisher SH, Coory M, Henry S, Wojcieszek AM, Gardener G, Lourie R, Ellwood D, Teoh Z, Allanson E, Blencowe H, Draper ES, Erwich JJ, Frøen JF, Gardosi J, Gold K. Making stillbirths visible: a systematic review of globally reported causes of stillbirth. BJOG. 2018 Jan;125(2):212-224. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.14971. Epub 2017 Nov 29.
  2. Gold KJ, Sen A, Leon I. Whose Fault Is It Anyway? Guilt, Blame, and Death Attribution by Mothers After Stillbirth or Infant Death. Illness, Crisis and Loss. 2017 Nov. Illness, Crisis & Loss. 26(1).
    doi: 10.1177/1054137317740800 
  3. Hughey KL, Llanes M, Plegue M, et al. Risk for Unintended Pregnancy Among Latino Men and Women in a Nonmetropolitan County in Michigan. PRiMER. 2017;1. doi:10.22454/primer.2017.651218.
  4. Tzilos Wernette G, Plegue M, Kahler CW, Sen A, Zlotnick C. A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of a Computer-Delivered Brief Intervention for Substance Use and Risky Sex During Pregnancy. J Women's Health. 2017 Oct 5, ePub ahead of print. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2017.6408 (press release here)
  5. Moniz MH, McEvoy AK, Hofmeister M, Plegue M, Chang T. Family Physicians and Provision of Immediate Postpartum Contraception: A CERA Study. Fam Med. 2017 Sep;49(8):600-606. PMID: 28953291.
  6. Gold KJ, Treadwell MC, Mieras ME, and Laventhal NT. Who tells a mother her baby has died? Communication and staff presence during stillbirth delivery and early infant death. Journal of Perinatology, (ePub ahead of print: 31 August 2017,  doi: 10.1038/jp.2017.125
  7. Reed BD. Candida Vulvovaginitis and Vulvodynia: The Mystery Continues. Journal of Women's Health. August 2017, ahead of print. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2017.6620
  8. Berman BA, Jo AM, Cumberland WC, Booth H, Wolfson AA, Stern C, Zazove P, et al. D/deaf Breast Cancer Survivors: Their Experiences and Knowledge. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. 2017 Aug; 28(3): 1165-1190. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2017.0104. (press release here)
  9. Harlow SD, Karvonen-Gutierrez C, Elliott MR, Bondarenko I, Avis NE, Bromberger JT, Brooks MM, Miller JM and Reed BD. It is not just menopause: symptom clustering in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation. Women's Midlife Health. 2017;3(2). doi: 10.1186/s40695-017-0021-y
  10. Huberty J, Matthews J, Leiferman J, Cacciatore J, Gold KJ.  A study protocol of a three-group randomized feasibility trial of an online yoga intervention for mothers after stillbirth (The Mindful Health Study). Pilot Feasibility Stud., 4:12, 2017. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD012504
  11. Mahmoudi E, Lu Y, Metz AK, et al. Association of a Policy Mandating Physician-Patient Communication With Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Postmastectomy Breast Reconstruction. JAMA Surgery. (ePub ahead of print 31 May 2017) doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2017.0921

See more

  1. Wu JP, McKee KS, McKee MM, Meade MA, Plegue MA, Sen A. Use of Reversible Contraceptive Methods Among U.S. Women with Physical or Sensory Disabilities. Perspect Sex Reprod Health. 2017 May 17. doi: 10.1363/psrh.12031.
  2. Moniz MH, Chang T, Heisler M, Admon L, Gebremariam A, Dalton VK, Davis MM. Inpatient Postpartum Long-Acting Reversible Contraception and Sterilization in the United States, 2008-2013. Obstet Gynecol. 2017 May 5. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000001970
  3. Chang T, Moniz MH, Plegue MA, Sen A, Davis MM, Villamor E, Richardson CR. Characteristics of women age 15-24 at risk for excess weight gain during pregnancy.  PLoS ONE 12(3): e0173790. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0173790
  4. Flenadya V, Wojcieszeka AM, Ellwood D, Hopkins Leishera S, b, Erwich JJ, Drapere ES, McClure EM, Reinebranta HE, Jeremy Oats J, McCowan L, Kent AL, Gardenera G, Gordon A, Tudehope D, Siassakos D, Storey C, Zuccollo J, Dahlstrom JE, Gold KJ, et al. Classification of causes and associated conditions for stillbirths and neonatal deaths. Seminars in Fetal & Neonatal Medicine. Available online 9 March 2017 (in-press). doi: 10.1016/j.siny.2017.02.009
  5. Wojcieszek AM, Shepherd E, Middleton P, Gardener G, Ellwood DA, McClure EM, Gold KJ, Khong TY, Silver RM, Erwich JJHM, Flenady V.  Cochrane Protocol:  Interventions for investigating and identifying the causes of stillbirth. 2017 (Accepted, in press)
  6. Mitro SD, Harlow SD, Randolph JF, Reed BD. Chronic vulvar pain in a cohort of post-menopausal women: Atrophy or Vulvodynia? Womens Midlife Health. 2016;2. DOI: 10.1186/s40695-016-0017-z
  7. Wu JP, McKee MM, Mckee KS, Mead, MA, Plegue M, Sen A. Female sterilization is more common among women with physical and/or sensory disabilities than women without disabilities in the United States. Disability and Health Journal. 2017 Jan. DOI: 10.1016/j.dhjo.2016.12.020
  8. Verma BA, Nichols LP, Plegue MA, Moniz MH, Rai M, Chang T. Advice given by community members to pregnant women: a mixed methods study. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2016 Nov 9;16(1):349. DOI: 10.1186/s12884-016-1146-y
  9. Reed BD, Plegue MA, Harlow SD, Haefner HK, Sen A. Does degree of vulvar sensitivity predict vulvodynia characteristics and prognosis?. J Pain. 2016 Oct 24. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpain.2016.10.006
  10. Reed BD, Sen A, Harlow SD, Haefner HK, Gracely RH. Multimodal Vulvar and Peripheral Sensitivity Among Women With Vulvodynia: A Case-Control Study. J Low Genit Tract Dis. 2016 Oct 7. DOI: 10.1097/LGT.0000000000000267
  11. Gold KJ, Andrew LB, Goldman EB, Schwenk TL. "I would never want to have a mental health diagnosis on my record": A survey of female physicians on mental health diagnosis, treatment, and reporting. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2016;43:51-57. PMID: 27796258
  12. Mozurkewich EL, Greenwood M, Clinton C, Berman D, Romero V, Djuric Z, et al. Pathway Markers for Pro-resolving Lipid Mediators in Maternal and Umbilical Cord Blood: A Secondary Analysis of the Mothers, Omega-3, and Mental Health Study. Front Pharmacol. 2016;7:274.  DOI: 10.3389/fphar.2016.00274
  13. Patton EW, Moniz MH, Hughes LS, Buis L, Howell J. National network television news coverage of contraception - a content analysis. Contraception. 2016 Jul 8. DOI: 10.1016/j.contraception.2016.07.005
  14. Zick SM, Sen A, Wyatt GK, Murphy SL, Arnedt JT, Harris RE. Investigation of 2 Types of Self-administered Acupressure for Persistent Cancer-Related Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Oncol. 2016 Jul 7. DOI: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.1867
  15. Gold KJ, Normandin MM, Boggs ME. Are participants in face-to-face and internet support groups the same? Comparison of demographics and depression levels among women bereaved by stillbirth. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2016 Aug 25. DOI: 10.1007/s00737-016-0657-x
  16. Petrites AD, Mullan P, Spangenberg K, Gold KJ. You have no Choice but to go on: How Physicians and Midwives in Ghana Cope with High Rates of Perinatal Death. Matern Child Health J. 2016;20(7):1448-55. DOI: 10.1007/s10995-016-1943-y
  17. Papoutsis D, Haefner HK, Crum CP, Opipari AW, Reed BD. Vestibular Mast Cell Density in Vulvodynia: A Case-Controlled Study. J Low Genit Tract Dis. 2016;20(3):275-9. DOI: 10.1097/LGT.0000000000000221 
  18. Wu JP, Gundersen DA, Pickle S. Are the Contraceptive Recommendations of Family Medicine Educators Evidence-Based? A CERA Survey. Fam Med. 2016;48(5):345-52. PMID: 27159092
  19. Wu JP, Kusunoki Y, Ela EJ, Barber JS. Patterns of Contraceptive Consistency among Young Adult Women in Southeastern Michigan: Longitudinal Findings Based on Journal Data. Womens Health Issues. 2016;26(3):305-12. DOI: 10.1016/j.whi.2016.02.007
  20. Moniz MH, Chang T, Davis MM, Forman J, Landgraf J, Dalton VK. Medicaid Administrator Experiences with the Implementation of Immediate Postpartum Long-Acting Reversible Contraception. Womens Health Issues. 2016;26(3):313-20. DOI: 10.1016/j.whi.2016.01.005
    Opoku CA, Browne EN, Spangenberg K, Moyer C, Kolbilla D, Gold KJ. Perception and risk factors for cervical cancer among women in northern Ghana. Ghana Med J. 2016;50(2):84-9. PMID: 27635096(link is external)
  21. Hryniuk W, Jenkins I, Djuric Z. Psychiatric Disorders Impeding Weight Loss in Obese Breast Cancer Survivors. J Clin Oncol. 2016;34(10):1152-3. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2015.65.5639
  22. Heazell AE, Siassakos D, Blencowe H, Burden C, Bhutta ZA, Cacciatore J, Dang N, Das J, Flenady V, Gold KJ, et al. Stillbirths: economic and psychosocial consequences. Lancet. 2016;387(10018):604-16. PMID: 26794073
  23. Chang T, Verma BA, Shull T, et al. Crowdsourcing and the Accuracy of Online Information Regarding Weight Gain in Pregnancy: A Descriptive Study. J Med Internet Res. 2016;18(4):e81. DOI: 10.2196/jmir.5138
  24. Chang T, Moniz MH, Plegue MA, Shaffer KS, Vance HB, Gold KJ. Patient or Clinician: Duration of Use of Intrauterine Devices Based on Who Initiated Discussion of Placement. J Am Board Fam Med. 2016;29(1):24-8. DOI: 10.3122/jabfm.2016.01.150192
  25. Reed BD, Harlow SD, Plegue MA, Sen A. Remission, Relapse, and Persistence of Vulvodynia: A Longitudinal Population-Based Study. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2016;25(3):276-83. DOI: 10.1089/jwh.2015.5397
  26. Reed BD, Plegue MA, Williams DA, Sen A. Presence of Spontaneous Pain and Comorbid Pain Conditions Identifies Vulvodynia Subgroups. J Low Genit Tract Dis. 2016;20(1):57-63. DOI: 10.1097/LGT.0000000000000166
  27. Gold MA, Tzilos GK, Stein LA, et al. A Randomized Controlled Trial to Compare Computer-assisted Motivational Intervention with Didactic Educational Counseling to Reduce Unprotected Sex in Female Adolescents. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2016;29(1):26-32. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpag.2015.06.001
  28. Zlotnick C, Tzilos G, Miller I, Seifer R, Stout R. Randomized controlled trial to prevent postpartum depression in mothers on public assistance. J Affect Disord. 2016;189:263-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2015.09.059
  29. Moniz MH, Dalton VK, Davis MM, Forman J, Iott B, Landgraf J, Chang T. Characterization of Medicaid policy for immediate postpartum contraception. Contraception. 2015;92(6):523-31. DOI: 10.1016/j.contraception.2015.09.014
  30. Gold KJ, Leon I, Boggs ME, Sen A. Depression and Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms After Perinatal Loss in a Population-Based Sample. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2016;25(3):263-9. DOI: 10.1089/jwh.2015.5284

Collaborative Partners & External Affiliates

Association of Reproductive Health Professionals logo






    In the News 

    Justine P. Wu, M.D., M.P.H.

    January 12, 2018:  Dr. Justine Wu recognized for leadership as chair of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals

    As the organization's chair, Dr. Wu promoted reproductive health as an essential part of primary care and developed inclusive, forward-thinking professional trainings to highlight the needs of transgender patients and people with disabilities.

    Golfo Tzilos Wernette, PhD

    December 8, 2017:  New Research: This low-cost computer program may reduce rates of STIs among pregnant women

    A study finds that a brief, computer-delivered intervention reduced rates of alcohol and drug use during pregnancy. These risky behaviors have been identified as key risk factors for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

    Tammy Chang, M.D., M.P.H., M.S. Assistant Professor

    October 17, 2017:  Tammy Chang selected as 2017 National Academy of Medicine Fellow

    Dr. Chang is the second U-M family physician ever chosen for the prestigious James A. Puffer MD Fellowship, sponsored by the the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM). Her experience follows Katherine J. Gold's tenure as the 2013-2015 fellow.

     image of award ribbon with text New Research Awards

    September 27, 2017: New Research Award: Justine Wu will lead an interprofessional research team

    Awarded a first round Interprofessional Exchange (IP-X) pilot grant, Dr. Wu will build an interprofessional team to provide specialized contraceptive care for breast cancer survivors.

    illustrated image of mother holding shadowed infant

    September 1, 2017:  Why Mothers Need Personal and Clinical Support After a Baby’s Death

    New analysis from the Michigan Mothers Study led by Katherine J. Gold, M.D., M.S.W., M.S. is the first large scale effort to document how bereaved mothers receive the news of their infant's death and the context of their support immediately after loss.

    image of mri scan

    August 22, 2017:  Brain Imaging Study Shows How Acupressure Fights Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors

    A new study, co-authored by Suzanna Zick, N.D., M.P.H., analyzes how the brain reacts to different types of the acupressure, in the treatment of fatigue.

     Golfo Tzilos, Ph.D.

    August 9, 2017:  Addiction and women's health researcher recognized at APA with early career award

    Golfo Tzilos Wernette, Ph.D., was recognized in Washington D.C., at the American Psychology Association Convention this month, for her work identifying “Psychosocial Correlates of Marijuana Use Among Pregnant and Non-Pregnant Adolescent Girls."

     National Institutes of Health logo

    July 18, 2017: U-M family medicine faculty accepted into two highly-competitive NIH training programs

    Elham Mahmoudi, Ph.D. will attend the National Institute on Aging (NIA)'s 2017 Butler-Williams Scholars Program this summer. Justine P. Wu, M.D., M.P.H. will attend the year-long Training Institute for Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health (TIDIRH) course from the NIH's Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR).

    Elham Mahmoudi PhD

    June 26, 2017:  New Research: Law Reduces Some Racial, Ethnic Disparities in Breast Reconstruction Post-Mastectomy

    A study led by Dr. Elham Mahmoudi finds that state law in New York that mandated physician-patient communication helped some cancer patients get a beneficial procedure. It was published in the June 2017 issue of JAMA Surgery. 

    Golfo Tzilos, Ph.D.

    June 14, 2017:  New ResearchRisky Bingeing: Women in Appalachian Ohio Report Higher Rates of Alcohol Misuse

    Assistant professor Golfo Tzilos and professor emeritus Mack T. Ruffin IV examined binge drinking habits and associated risk factors in rural Appalacia in a new study published in the Journal of Rural Mental Health. 

    Justine P. Wu, M.D., M.P.H.

    May 17, 2017:  New research funding: Dr. Justine Wu’s K23 Research Career Development Award

    The five-year career development grant, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will fund Dr. Wu’s research on the dynamic contraceptive care needs of women with medical conditions.   

    image of award ribbon with text New Research Awards

     April 17, 2017: Recent Grants Awarded in 2017

    Recent NIH awards will support family medicine faculty as they lead two exciting new ventures: Training 100 oncology professionals in integrative medicine and developing a web-based contraceptive decision aid for women with chronic conditions and their health care providers

    Tammy Chang, MD, MPH, MS

    March 17, 2017: For Adolescents, Pre-Pregnancy BMI Directly Linked to Excess Pregnancy Weight Gain 

    New research by Tammy Chang, M.D., M.P.H., M.S., identified factors associated with unhealthy weight gain during pregnancy for a vulnerable subset of mothers, those aged 15 to 24. 

    Barbara D. Reed, M.D., M.S.P.H., professor of family medicine

    March 6, 2017: Emeritus professor celebrated by the department and named AAFP Life Member

    Barbara Reed, M.D. M.S.P.H., was recently recognized by the American Academy of Family Physicians for her longstanding support and career as a family physician. Read more on Dr. Reed's legacy in family medicine and women's health.

    Advice to pregnant women about smoking

    December 2, 2016: New research examines health advice given by friends and family to pregnant women

    A new mixed methods study used text message surveys to tap into community conversations about pregnancy health norms and health literacy.


    Principal Investigators