One Thousand Days Transformed - The Campaign for Cedarville

by Carolina Zimbron

Mental health is a significant issue in America. One rural Ohio mom is using her research to help others through various mental health struggles. 

Dr. Marcia Williams, assistant professor of nursing at Cedarville University, presented her research on the importance of postpartum maternal mental health at the Eastern Nursing Research conference in Boston, Massachusetts on Friday, April 5. 

Seeking to fill the resource void on postpartum mental health, Williams began a yearlong mixed method study that looked at the type of mental health care women prefer postpartum and the stigma that comes from depression during their pregnancy.  

“What I found in my research is that women have significant health care barriers during their pregnancies,” Williams said. “The greatest barrier is a lack of childcare during medical appointments, but I also learned the women prefer to care for any mental health issues in an informal process using a self-care approach.” 

From the beginning of her research, Williams was concerned about the effects untreated mild or moderate perinatal depression can have on women and their families. 

“I was a labor and delivery nurse and one of the big things that I learned from taking care of moms was that maternal mental health doesn’t only affect the mother, it also affects the child,” Williams said. “The months following birth are when bonding occurs between mom and the child, so if the mom is not feeling well, that bond can be disrupted, as well as the care to her family.”  

From her research and experience as a nurse, Williams understands that moms are foundational to their families. Therefore, caring for the health and mental health of moms is essential for the family unit. Williams has devoted her professional life to health care and recently completed her doctoral degree in nursing from the University of Utah. Her undergraduate degree in nursing and master’s degree in nursing - family nurse practitioner, were earned at Cedarville University. 

Her love for Cedarville University and its mission is the reason Williams has devoted her professional career to teaching Cedarville students and working in the Dayton region.  

“What I love the most about working at Cedarville is the opportunity to give back to the students and helping Cedarville fulfill its mission,” Williams said.

Not only has her research helped Ohio moms, but her preparation for this conference has also helped her teach students how to prepare this kind of presentation. “Right now, I am teaching them how to create their own research posters, which they will be presenting soon at Cedarville's annual Scholar Symposium,” Williams said. 

Williams is excited to use her newly developed skills as a researcher in the classroom. “I want to equip students with the ability to practice with excellence, teach with confidence and improve care through research,” she said. 

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is a Baptist university with undergraduate programs in arts, sciences, and professional programs, and graduate programs. With an enrollment of 5,456 students in 175 areas of study, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio and is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, and high graduation and retention rates. For more information about the University, visit

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