UCSF Researcher Inducted Into Hall Of Fame


A celebrated UCSF researcher can add one more accolade to her list as an inductee into the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing Hall of Fame.

The UCSF School of Nursing’s Dr. Sandra Weiss, co-director of the UCSF Depression Center, will be granted the prestigious honor in Melbourne, Australia, in July. Weiss is involved in collaborative research with faculty in the Department of Psychiatry, the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and the Division of Neonatology.

The Hall of Fame induction comes as a result of her research focusing on the interaction between biological and psychological factors as they impact the mental health of children and adults.

She is currently examining precursors of emotion regulation and affective disorders in early childhood, including the ways in which genetic, neuroendocrine, and autonomic nervous system vulnerabilities interact with adverse events such as stress, trauma and parental depression during pregnancy and infancy.

In 2017, she was granted $1.1 million in National Institutes of Health funding for her work. She was profiled on the UCSF Science of Caring website as a lead in three major studies aimed at shedding important light on some of the most pressing issues facing American women with depression and the clinicians who treat them.

The profile reported that along with investigators from two other American universities, Weiss is studying how adversities such as poverty and trauma, a mother’s other mental health problems and her infant’s unique characteristics may influence whether a mother’s depression has a negative impact on the way she relates to her child.

“It can be very difficult for women who are struggling with their own emotional challenges to provide care that is sensitive to the child’s needs, assures effective cognitive and other stimulation, expresses positive regard and reduces their child’s distress in optimal ways,” she told the news outlet.

By understanding the effect of these moderating factors, clinicians will be better able to identify mothers at particular risk for parenting problems. Preventive interventions can then be tailored to target the most vulnerable families as well as the specific parenting qualities that need attention.

“I have great expectations for the research we are doing,” Weiss told the UCSF Science of Caring website.

“I believe that the findings from our studies can ultimately make a real difference in helping women who experience depression and stress, and in preventing adverse sequelae for their children. This is what it’s all about for me; it’s why I derive such purpose and fulfillment as a scientist.”

Sigma will induct 20 nurse researchers into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame at Sigma’s 29th International Nursing Research Congress in Melbourne, Australia, July 10 to 23.

The 20 individuals — representing Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States — will be presented with the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame award and participate in a conversation with Sigma President Beth Baldwin Tigges.

Created in 2010, the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame recognizes nurse researchers who have achieved significant and sustained national or international recognition and whose research has improved the profession and the people it serves.