Professor Jeannette Milgrom

Professor Jeannette Milgrom, AM

Professor of Psychology, Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne, and Executive Director, Parent-Infant Research Institute, Austin Health.

Chief Investigator A

Professor Jeannette Milgrom is well placed to lead this CRE as a world leader in identification and treatment of perinatal mental health disorders and known for pioneering novel strategies to address vital knowledge gaps with the first published study of mother-infant relationship treatment. The impact of her work has been significant, demonstrating an ability to translate research to practice.

She is the first researcher internationally to be leading a national, scaled up delivery of e-mental health treatments across the country. CI Milgrom led the development a stepped care model that integrates an internet treatment MumMoodBooster (trialled over 8 years in RCTs with NIH and NHMRC funding) with other novel e-supports. This ongoing implementation is funded by the Australian Government. She has made a significant national contribution to the government’s perinatal mental health agenda by developing a suite of perinatal programs with a strong RCT evidence base now available for implementation and which have attracted international translations and uptake.

Top 5 Publications in the last 5 years

Professor Milgrom's publications demonstrate her expertise in perinatal mental health and infants, designing interventions with public health implications and completing high-quality RCTs.

  1. Milgrom, J., Danaher, B., Seeley, J., Holt, C., Holt, C., Ericksen, J., . . . Gemmill, AW.. (2021). Internet and Face-to-Face Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Postnatal Depression Compared to Treatment-As-Usual: A Randomised Controlled Trial of MumMoodBooster. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 23 (11), e17185, Epub ahead of print doi: 10.2196/17185.
  2. Milgrom, J., Danaher, B. G., Gemmill, A. W., Holt, C., Holt, C. J., Seeley, J., Tyler, M. S., Ross, J. & Ericksen, J.. (2016). Internet Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Women with Postnatal Depression: a randomised controlled trial of MumMoodBooster. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 18(3), e54. We produced one of the first web based treatments for postnatal depression with US National Institute of Health funding, and completed a trial funded by NHMRC (APP1046875).
  3. Milgrom, J., Holt, C., Holt, C. J., Ross, J., Ericksen, J. & Gemmill, A. W. (2015). Feasibility study and pilot randomised trial of an antenatal depression treatment with infant follow-up. Archives of Women's Mental Health, 18(5):717-30.
  4. Holt, C., Gentilleau, C., Gemmill, A.W., Milgrom, J. (2021) Improving the mother-infant relationship following postnatal depression: A randomised controlled trial of a brief intervention (HUGS). Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 24: 913-923.
  5. Milgrom, J., Holt, C. J., Bleker, L. S., Holt, C., Ross, J., Ericksen, J., Glover, V., O’Donnell, K. J., de Rooij, S. R., & Gemmill, A. W. (2019). Maternal antenatal mood and child development: an exploratory study of treatment effects on child outcomes up to 5 years. Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, 10, 221-231.

Overall Track Record in the last 5 years

Career summary: I hold a PhD in Psychology (University of Melbourne 1977). I am currently

Professor of Psychology, Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne (1999 - current), past Director of Clinical and Health Psychology, Austin Health (1978-2021). I am also Executive Director of the Parent-Infant Research Institute (PIRI) which I established in 2001. This independent research institute is a Centre of Excellence for parent and infant mental health and I have brought together an experienced research group with a focus on developing evidence-based parent-infant interventions. Having developed a suite of rigorously evaluated interventions, I now have a translational focus, and I have successfully delivered our MumMoodBooster internet postnatal depression treatment to all Australian women over the last 12 months, supported by Department of Health funding, with PIRI as lead of the Perinatal Depression e-consortium.

International standing: I am currently an executive member of the International Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health and President (2014-2016) and Past President (2016-2018). I was Conference Chair for the 2016 International Conference in Melbourne, which was one of the most successful conferences ever held by the Marcé Society. I have been invited as a CI on two large scale UK grants by the National Institute for Health Research & Policy Research Programme. A major thrust of my work is to disseminate findings widely and influence health policy. This has also been recognized internationally including keynote invitations in Canada, Italy and France in recent years.

Other contributions to NHMRC: Peer reviewer. Member, NHMRC Research Translation Faculty.

Research support and publications: I am the recipient of over 90 research grants including 5 NHMRC grants, 4 as CIA, 2 currently held. I have also been a CIA on numerous (NIH) international grants, including both in the US and UK and have held numerous non-NHMRC grants as CIA funded by beyondblue, Rotary and MBF. I am also author of 8 books (two translated into Italian), 19 chapters and 156 scientific articles.

Contribution to the field of research: My earliest work on mother-infant interactions was published in Nature and provided a novel way of investigating this dyadic relationship and the need to treat at-risk relationships. I developed the first CBT treatment manual for PND (Milgrom et al 1999). Wiley have commissioned me for a new  edition of this manualized treatment as this program is still widely used. I have diversified my treatment programs for a number of specific populations (e.g., pregnant women, mother-infant dyads, premature infants, couples, fathers) and explored delivery in different formats (e.g., self-help workbook, internet, group, individual). I have focused on screening, prevention and treatment. I have published on the utility of screening for PND and produced one of the most careful estimates of the predictive value of the EPDS for PND. I was invited to join a team of experts for high profile articles. Best Practice and Research in Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology 28, 13-23) and in The Lancet (2014).  I have had a major role with beyondblue to make available universal screening for depression for all Australian families. Under my direction, up to 6,000 women in Victoria and Tasmania were screened for depression in pregnancy as part of a large national cohort of over 40,000. This initiative resulted in government commitment of $85M to universal screening for perinatal depression I was one of the first to show that even if maternal mood improves, this does not improve the mother-infant relationship (Milgrom et al., 2006). One of my most elegant papers related early interactional deficits to later child cognitive outcome (Milgrom et al., 2004). My work reflects my ability to synthesize and translate knowledge about mood and behaviour in the perinatal period into effective interventions and public health initiatives.

Translation of Research to Practice

I have led the development of a major achievement in the translation of research to practice, MumSpace (mumspace.com.au), which provides a one-stop shop for our prevention and treatment programs. Launched by Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health in 2017, our key resources including our perinatal depression treatment program, MumMoodBooster, are now available publicly free to all Australian women. I have also brought together the Perinatal Depression e-Consortium (PDeC) who developed mobile app MindMum, offering emotional support for at-risk mothers and provides a number of universal resources to support new parents with managing the newborn.

Fostering research and training; Supervision and mentoring: In my recent role of Director of Clinical Psychology at Austin Health & Professor of Psychology, University of Melbourne I developed and convened the Doctorate in Health Psychology and supervised 41 Postgraduate Research Students (Masters, D.Psych and PhD).

Peer review involvement: I regularly review journal articles (e.g. JAD; BMC Psychiatry; ANZJP), am guest editor for BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth, have been regularly invited on grant review panels and played a key role on the beyondblue Center of Excellence research panel for many years.

Collaborations: I have extensive collaborations in place within Australia (Professor Peter Anderson, Professor Helen Skouteris) and internationally in the US (Dr Brian Danaher), the UK (Professor Louise Howard, Dr Heather O’Mahen, and Dr Paul Ramchandani), Canada (Dr Hamideh Bayrampour) and Portugal (Dr Barbara Figueiredo).

Community engagement and participation: I actively advocate for the importance of the early years and have regular community invitations e.g. International Women’s Day.

Professional Involvement: This has included being elected Chair, National Executive Committee, College of Health Psychologists, Australian Psychological Society (2002-6) building on other past roles including Member, Health Care Initiatives Advisory Group, APS (2003-6); Member, Program Development and Accreditation Reference Group, APS (2002). I am a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society and was awarded an Award of Distinction in 2006.