Past Press Releases

For Immediate Release: October 6, 2015

Preventing Depression in Women Recovering from Fistula Repair Surgery

WELLESLEY, Mass. – Join Wellesley Centers for Women for its next fall lunchtime seminar, “Project COFFEE: Preventing Depression in Women Recovering from Fistula Repair Surgery,” presented by Tracy Gladstone, Ph.D. on Thursday, October 15, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at Cheever House, 828 Washington St.

In the developing world, many women, including young mothers who were married off as young teens, give birth without access to medical help, and obstructed labor, which is quickly remedied in affluent countries like the U.S., can have dire consequences for these women. Obstructed labor can last days, and often results in the death of the baby. If the mother survives, she will likely be left with an obstetric fistula, a hole created by the pressure of the baby on her pelvis, leaving her with medical complications such as incontinence.

Women with obstetric fistula are commonly rejected by their communities and frequently struggle with symptoms of trauma and depression. Fistula repair surgery is associated with improvements in women’s quality of life and mental health, but researchers have found that many women have difficulty engaging in family and community life even after their fistula is repaired. Project COFFEE was designed to be delivered to women while they are in the hospital recovering from fistula repair surgery and aims to promote mental health and support re-integration. In this presentation, Tracy Gladstone, Ph.D. will discuss the problem of obstetric fistula, introduce the Project COFFEE intervention, and present preliminary data from an open trial of this intervention conducted in Gondar, Ethiopia.

Dr. Gladstone is a senior research scientist at Wellesley Centers for Women and the inaugural director of the Robert S. and Grace W. Stone Primary Prevention Initiatives, which focuses on research and evaluation designed to prevent the onset of mental health concerns in children and adolescents. Gladstone holds a health service provider psychologist license in Massachusetts and has been trained in evidence-based clinical prevention and intervention protocols. She has conducted prevention-oriented work with children and families, and she has served as a clinical supervisor for researchers working with depressed families, as well as for clinical trainees.

Most lunchtime seminars are held Thursdays, 12:30–1:30 p.m. at the Centers' Cheever House location. The programs are free and open to the public. Guests are invited to bring their lunches, and Wellesley Centers for Women will provide tea and coffee. Many programs are recorded and audio files are posted online at The lunchtime seminar series schedule is subject to change. To confirm program line-up, call 781.283.2500 or visit

The Wellesley Centers for Women is a premier women- and gender-focused, social-change oriented research-and-action institute at Wellesley College. Scholars at the Centers conduct social science research and evaluation, develop theory and publications, and implement training and action programs on issues that put women’s lives and women’s concerns at the center. Since 1974, WCW’s work has generated changes in attitudes, practices, and public policy.




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