Susan Bodnar-Deren

Susan M. Bodnar-Deren, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Graduate Program Director

Founders Hall Room 210

Office hours: Wednesday's 1-3:30 p.m.

Curriculum vitae


Mental Health




  • PhD Sociology, Rutgers, The State University of NJ, New Brunswick (2011)
  • MA Sociology, Rutgers, The State University of NJ, New Brunswick (2008)
  • BA Women's and Gender Studies, Montclair State University (2004)

Research Interests

  • Medical Sociology
  • Perinatal Health
  • Community Engaged Research
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Community Based Participatory Research
  • Mental Health
  • Health Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Life Course
  • Demography
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods

Select Publications

2022 Kinser, P., Bodnar-Deren, S., Amstadter, A., Lapato, D., Thacker, L., Johnson, J., Aubry, C., Johnson, A., Gault, C., Hill-Thomas, A., Russell, S., Lanni, S., Freeman, A. Study protocol for the Mindful Moms study: A randomized controlled trial evaluating a mindful movement intervention for marginalized pregnant people experiencing depression. Contemporary Clinical Trails. NCT04886856

2020 Kinser, P., Thacker, L., Rider, A., Moyer, S., Amstadter, A., Mazzeo, S., Bodnar-Deren, S., Starkweather, A. (2020). Feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effects of “Mindful Moms”- and mindful physical activity intervention for pregnant women with depression. Nursing Research. Oct 17, online ahead of print. doi:10.1097/NNR.0000000000000485. PMID: 33075031

2017 Susan Bodnar-Deren, Emma Benn, Amy Balbierez, and Elizabeth Howell. Stigma and postpartum depression treatment acceptability among black and white women in the first six-months postpartum. Journal of Maternal and Child Health. Accepted 1/2/2017 DOI 10.1007/s10995-017-2263-6 PMID: 28102504

2016 Susan Bodnar-Deren, Kimberly Klipstein, Eyal Shemesh, Madeline Fersh, and Elizabeth Howell. (2016). Suicidal ideation during the postpartum period. Journal of Women’s Health. 2016 Dec;25(12):1219-1224. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2015.5346. Epub 2016 May 26. PubMed PMID: 27227751; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5175420.

2016 Susan Bodnar-Deren, RaShel Charles, Alice Freeman. A Community Based Participatory Action Research Evaluation of the ABC’s of Breastfeeding – Mommies, Bellies, Babies and Daddies. An intervention to increase breastfeeding rates of underserved mothers. White paper evaluation of comprehensive curriculum of perinatal health program submitted for the City of Richmond Dept. of Health.


Institute for Women's Health VCU School of Medicine


  • Medical Sociology
  • Sociology of Mental Disorders
  • Aging and the Life Course
  • Health Science in Times of Uncertainty (co-instructed with Brosnan)
  • Comparative Social Justice: Forging Cultures of Resilience (co-instructed with Mthethwa)


2021 Co-PI with Patricia Kinser. R01 “Biobehavioral perspectives on social connectedness and the “Mindful Moms” intervention for marginalized pregnant women with depression.” 1R01NR020220-01. Funding period (5/1/2021-4/30/2026) (5-year grant period) $2,690,495 Awarded.

2021 Co-I (Kinser PI 1R01HD100395)). NIH/NICHHD – R01 -“Administrative Supplement (3R01HD100395-02S1): “Mamma Mia”: A multisite randomized controlled trial of an internet-based program for preventing and reducing perinatal depressive symptoms.” Funding period: 09/01/2021-03/31/2025. Full award $1,170,947) admin supplement (2-year grant period) - $251,680 Awarded.

2022 mPI with Sutton-El and Hawkins (Birth in Color) and Jallo (School of Nursing). Humanities Research Center, Health Humanities Fellowship for the project “Health Disparities and Birthing People: Where we are and where we CAN go!” December, 2022 $4,000 Awarded.

2022 Co-PI with Kevin Brosnan (CHS – Philosophy) and Kenda Sutton-El (Birth in Color ED). CHS Catalyst Grant. Health Science in the Time of Uncertainty: Public health and the politicization of science. 7/1/2022-6/30/2022. $19.950 Awarded

2023 co-PI (with Frankie Mastrangelo (contact PI), Jesse Goldstein, Gina Longo and Meghan Gough. VCU Transformative Learning Fund: Vertically Integrate Projects. “Sociology as a Transdisciplinary Research Hub”. VIP to transform Sociology into a hub of transdisciplinary, vertically-integrated research at VCU. We are building upon a network of already established student-engaged research labs and projects that provide opportunities for students to gain impactful experience - research, organizing and professional development - through hands-on participation and mentorship. $19,500 requested. Submitted 4/10/2023 (Awarded).

2023 co-PI (with Chris Cynn (contact PI), Michael Dickinson, Mary Boyes, Nancy Jallo, Maggie Unverzagt and Daniel Sunshine (East Marshall Street Well Project). VCU Transformative Learning Fund: Vertically Integrate Projects. “Re-envisioning Community Health and Healthcare: to address health and healthcare inequities as they reflect and reproduce longstanding, broader systemic and structural inequities.” $20,000 requested (2-year grant period). Submitted 4/10/2023 (Awarded).