Dr. Sharon Dekel is an assistant professor of Psychology of Harvard Medical School. She earned a PhD in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University and completed her clinical internship training at Columbia Medical Center followed by a research postdoctoral fellowship in a lead international trauma lab. Dr. Dekel is also a licensed clinical psychologist.
Dr. Dekel has been studying biological and psychological factors associated with ways of coping with stressful events. Her work on the positive outlook of traumatic stress is considered pioneering in the field. Rather than viewing trauma outcomes as exclusively negative, her studies have increased our understanding of the human capacity to thrive in the wake of trauma (see Dekel’s publication record).
Since joining Massachusetts General Hospital in 2013, Dr. Dekel has expanded her research with the investigation of childbirth as a potentially traumatic event. This represents a new frontier in trauma studies. She developed a multidisciplinary research model involving both the Mass General Psychiatric and OB/GYN Departments that has allowed her to study over 4,000 postpartum women. Dr. Dekel is defining the overlooked condition of childbirth-related post-traumatic stress disorder and working to better understand the transmission of the disorder’s effects to the offspring. By studying childbirth as a model of traumatic stress, she hopes to translate the knowledge gained to improve clinical care of trauma-exposed individuals.
Dr. Dekel is a two time recipient of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation’s Young Investigator Award, Mass General’s Claflin Distinguished Scholar Award for Women in Science, the MGH’s Executive Committee On Research ISF funding, the Harvard Mind Brain Behavior Faculty Award, and a recent recipient of Postpartum Support International Susan A. Hickman Memorial Research Award for excellence in scientific work on postpartum mental health. She has been continually supported by the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Dekel is on the Editorial Board of PLOS ONE, Frontiers in Psychology, where she edited a special volume on childbirth-PTSD, and Journal of Psychological Trauma, the American Psychological Association’s lead traumatic stress journal. Dr. Dekel is also Chair of the Postpartum Trauma Special Interest Group of the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies, which is the largest professional organization in the field.
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