Reproductive Grief Screening Tool

Groundbreaking Research by the Institute

In 2021, the Institute of Reproductive Grief Care began our first steps towards creating and researching a new tool to help healthcare professionals quickly identify patients with possible mental health symptoms post-pregnancy loss.

Our research designed and validated a five-item questionnaire, called the Reproductive Grief Screening Tool, to detect complicated grief reactions after reproductive loss.

Our first peer-reviewed research on our clinical trials to validate the Reproductive Loss Screening Tool, led by Dr. Buskmiller, Perinatal Surgery Fellow and Doctor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Fetal Surgery Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, was published in a peer-reviewed journal in April 2023.

This research was followed up by additional peer-reviewed research on this Tool, by Drs. Brann and Bute of Indiana University – Indianapolis, in December 2023.

The Institute has created this Reproductive Grief Screening Tool, and the research surrounding it, to understand the nuances of reproductive grief, the psychological impact, and the coping mechanisms employed by individuals dealing with this loss.

Maria Brann, PhD, MPH

Dr. Maria Brann (PhD, University of Kentucky; MPH, West Virginia University) is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies at IUPUI. Dr. Brann explores the integration of health, interpersonal, and gender communication. Her translational focus and mixed methods approach are woven throughout her health vulnerabilities research, which advocates for more effective communication to improve people’s health. Her primary research interests focus on the study of women’s issues in health communication contexts and promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviors to improve personal and public health and safety.

Most notably, she seeks to understand the individual and societal communicative negotiations of birth and pregnancy loss, promotion of more empathic provider communication during bad news delivery, and persuasive public health messaging. Her work has been published in numerous refereed journals including Health Communication, Patient Education and Counseling, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, and Qualitative Health Research and several scholarly books including Pregnancy Loss: A Narrative Collection, Gender in Applied Communication Contexts, and Casing the Family: Theoretical and Applied Approaches to Understanding Family Communication. Her teaching includes graduate and undergraduate communication courses in health, family and interpersonal relationships, nonverbal, and gender as well as the senior capstone and graduate orientation courses.

Jennifer J. Bute, Ph.D.

Dr. Jennifer J. Bute is a Professor of Communication Studies in the Department of Communication Studies at IUPUI; Adjunct Faculty, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, IU School of Liberal Arts; Translational Scholar, IUPUI Center for Translating Research into Practice; and a former Senior Editor for the journal Health Communication. Dr. Bute’s research centers on communication about health in interpersonal relationships. Most of her work has explored issues of reproductive health, such as how people manage private information about topics like infertility and miscarriage.

Her research also examines public discourses about reproductive and sexual health and patient-provider communication about pregnancy loss. She has served on the advisory committee for the Personalized Medicine Coalition, where she offered expertise in health communication to develop a patient-centered research agenda. Her research has appeared in numerous edited books and journals, including Communication Monographs, Health Communication, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Patient Education and Counseling, Qualitative Health Research, and Social Science and Medicine. Her work has been funded by the National Communication Association, the Indiana State Department of Health, the Central States Communication Association, the IUPUI School of Liberal Arts, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research at IUPUI. Dr. Bute teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate level on topics including health communication, interpersonal communication, gender and communication, and qualitative research methods.

Dr. Cara Buskmiller, M.D., M.S.

Dr. Cara Buskmiller is a board certified OB/GYN and a fellow in fetal intervention in Houston,
Texas. Her research and clinical interests include the ethics of maternal-fetal and fetal-fetal vital
conflicts, and grief in reproductive loss. She is an instructor in the Department of Obstetrics,
Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at UT Health Houston McGovern Medical School and a founding board member of Conscience in Residency. Dr. Buskmiller is the lead researcher in
this clinical trial to determine reliability and validity for a brief reproductive grief screening tool.

Dr. Glorisel González Viera, MD

Glorisel González Viera, MD is an Assistant Professor and Reproductive Psychiatrist at The Women’s Place at Texas Children’s Hospital Pavilion for Women. She earned her medical degree and completed a residency in Psychiatry, where she served as Chief Resident, at Ponce Health Sciences University in Puerto Rico. During her Psychiatry residency program, she received the Department of Veteran’s Affair Certificate of Pride in Public Service for her service to the Veteran’s population in her island during Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. She also completed specialized training in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Prolonged Exposure Therapy.

She was also recognized for her excellence as a clinician during her medical training and Psychiatry residency training. She then completed a Sleep Medicine Fellowship at VA Caribbean Healthcare System before moving to Houston to complete a Women’s Mental Health Fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine. She has received additional training by the Interpersonal Psychotherapy Institute for Interpersonal Psychotherapy in Perinatal Patients. In addition, she has completed training through the Touchstone Institute in Pregnancy Loss and Newborn Death for Psychotherapists and, most recently, completed a certificate in Prolonged Grief Disorder Therapy by The Center for Prolonged Grief. Her hopes are to continue working on educating colleagues and the general public on the topic of reproductive grief while providing her patient’s a place to feel safe and heard.

Michaelene Fredenburg, President & CEO, Institute of Reproductive Grief Care

Michaelene Fredenburg is the President and CEO of the Institute of Reproductive Grief Care, the global authority on reproductive grief and loss. A recognized expert in reproductive grief care, Michaelene co-developed reproductive loss Continuing Education Curricula that is nationally accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the National Association of Social Workers, and approved by the California Board of Registered Nurses (BRN) and the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT).

She is an author, speaker, guest lecturer, and has consulted on research studies published in the peer-review journals Health Communication, Frontiers in Pediatrics, and Frontiers in Psychology. Most recently, Divine Mercy University, a graduate school for counseling and psychology, invited Michaelene to be their commencement speaker and bestowed upon her an Honorary Doctorate.

Dr. Jerica Wesley, Ph.D., LPC, ALPS

Dr. Jerica Wesley is a researcher and a Licensed Professional Counselor in West Virginia who has provided services to youth and adults as a school counselor and community mental health provider. Dr. Wesley received professional training at Marshall University and Ohio University where she earned her doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision. She currently is an Assistant Professor at Marshall University, where she teaches in the graduate counseling program. She is passionate in identifying and taking actions towards closing disparities in care for Black African American women.

Dr. Wesley was one of the Institute’s presenters in the 2024 Institute symposium presenting on: Supporting the Full Spectrum of Motherhood: Exploring Reproductive Grief in African American Women.

Our Screening Tool Working Group will follow these steps

See the studies and how to participate:

See our studies in the news:

For more information contact us.