Professor Cindy-Lee Dennis

Professor Cindy-Lee Dennis

Professor in the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing and the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto.

Chief Investigator D

Professor Cindy-Lee Dennis has over $26 million in research funding as Principal Investigator and has led nine Cochrane systematic reviews. She has completed extensive work in systematizing knowledge of perinatal mental illness via the Cochrane Collaboration and works closely providing implementation advice to the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services, Public Health Ontario.

Top 5 Peer-Reviewed Publications in Last Five Years

Dr. Dennis has over 260 peer-reviewed manuscripts published or in press with a Scopus h-index of 60 and a Google Scholar h-index of 88 with over 27000 citations and more than 780 followers on ResearchGate (RG=45.35). Below are selected publications related to perinatal mental health:

  • Dennis, C. L., Grigoriadis, S., Zupancic, J., Kiss, A., & Ravitz, P. (2020). Telephone-based nurse-delivered interpersonal psychotherapy for postpartum depression: nationwide randomised controlled trial. The British Journal Of Psychiatry: The Journal Of Mental Science216(4), 189–196.
  • Grigoriadis S, Graves L, Peer M, Mamisashvili L, Tomlinson G, Vigod S, Dennis C-L, Steiner M, Brown C, Cheung A, Dawson H, Rector N, Guenette M, Richter P. (2019). A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of antenatal anxiety on postpartum outcomes. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 22, 543-556. doi: 10.1007/s00737-018-0930-2.
  • Shorey, S., Chee, CY., Ng, ED., Lau, Y., Dennis, C-L., Chan, YH. (2019). Evaluation of a technology-based peer support intervention program for preventing postnatal depression: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 21, e12410 doi: 10.2196/12410.
  • Da Costa, D., Zelkowitz, P., Letourneau, N., Howlett, A., Dennis, C-L., Russell, B., Grover, S., Lowensteyn, I., Chan, P., Khalifé, S. (2017). What do men want in a website designed to promote emotional wellness and healthy behaviors in expectant fathers? Journal of Medical Internet Research, 19, e325
  • Dennis, C-L., Falah-Hassani, K., & Shiri, R (2017). Prevalence of antenatal and postnatal anxiety: A systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Psychiatry, 210, 315-323.

Dr. Dennis has over $26 million in research funding as Principal Investigator and has led nine Cochrane systematic reviews. She has published over 260 peer-reviewed research papers. To promote policy change, she has been an expert advisor for international and national perinatal mental health initiatives and has worked closely with provincial organizations such as the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services, Public Health Ontario, and the Provincial Council for Maternal and Child Health.

Honours and Awards

2018    Fellow, Canadian Academy of Health Sciences

2018    Marcé Medal, The International Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health

2018    Scholarship into Practice Award, Council of Ontario University Programs in Nursing

2016    Visiting Professor, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia

2015    Global Bridges International Scholar, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

2014    Helping Hands Award, Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba

2013    Hope Inspiration Award, Mood Disorders Association of Ontario

2011    Shirley Brown Chair in Women’s Mental Health Research, the University of Toronto, Department of Psychiatry, and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

2007    Canada Research Chair in Perinatal Community Health (Tier 2)

2006    Canadian Top 40 under 40, nominated by the University of Toronto

2005    New Investigator Award, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

2003    Career Scientist Award, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Contributions to Perinatal Mental Health Science

  1. Virtual care perinatal interventions. A sub-theme of Dr. Dennis’ research program is the use of technology to increase access and “reach” to effective care especially among disadvantaged populations and those living in rural and remote areas. She has conducted numerous prevention and treatment clinical trials to deliver interventions provincially and nationally and is currently evaluating a collaborative virtual care intervention with depressed women across Canada as a new approach to the management of perinatal mental illness.
  2. Cochrane systematic reviews. Dr. Dennis became a member of the Cochrane Collaboration in 2000 and has led the majority of Cochrane systematic reviews and meta-analyses related to perinatal mental health including: (1) Oestrogen and progesterone therapy for preventing and treating postpartum depression; (2) Psychosocial and psychological interventions for preventing postpartum depression; (3) Psychosocial and psychological interventions for treating antenatal depression; (4) Psychological and psychological interventions for treating postpartum depression; (5) Interventions (other than psychosocial, psychological, and pharmacological) for treating antenatal depression; (6) Psychosocial, psychological, and pharmacological interventions for treating antenatal anxiety; (7) Interventions (other than psychosocial, psychological, and pharmacological) for treating postpartum depression; and (8) Interventions (other than psychosocial, psychological, and pharmacological) for preventing postpartum depression.

Select Peer-Reviewed Grants as a Principal Investigator

2017-2027TRajectories Of healthy life using Public Health and primary care Interventions in Canada: HeLTI Canada preconception trialCIHR$17,050,000
2014-2020Evaluating Collaborative Care for Postpartum Depression in Paediatric Primary Care Settings (EPDS Trial)CIHR$981,384
2013-2020Women who are breastfeeding: Increasing Self-Efficacy to improve outcomes (WISE Trial)CIHR$1,262,453
2013-2019Impact of Maternal and Paternal Postpartum Depression: Assessing Concurrent Depression in The Family (The IMPACT Study)CIHR$1,320,564
2012-2017Understanding Postpartum Depression among Recent Immigrant and Canadian-Born Chinese Women (New Mothers in a New Country Study)CIHR$557,208
2009-2016An RCT to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Telephone-Based Interpersonal Psychotherapy for the Treatment of Postpartum Depression (IPT Trial)CIHR$901,473

Select Peer-Reviewed Grants as a Co-Investigator

2020-2025A Randomized Clinical Trial of At-Home Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) for Depression in PregnancyS. VigodCIHR$1,017,068
2019-2023A northern prenatal care network with an indigenous system navigator to improve care transition and health outcomes for indigenous women in northern ManitobaP. GregoryCIHR$900,000
2018-2023Scaling up psychological treatments for perinatal depression and anxiety symptoms via telemedicineD. SinglaPCORI$13,200,000


2018-2021Schizophrenia Understood in the Perinatal period: Psychiatric Outcomes and Reproductive Trajectories (SUPPORT) - Part 3: Child HealthS. VigodCIHR$336,600
2018-2023An Electronic Patient Decision Aid For Antidepressant Drug Use In Pregnancy: A Randomized Controlled TrialS. VigodCIHR$719,000