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Dace Svikis' research has focused on reducing health disparities in maternal and infant birth outcomes.

VCU women’s health researcher Dace Svikis honored by the Rosalind Franklin Society

The Special Award in Science recognizes her recently published work on peripartum care for Black women.

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Virginia Commonwealth University professor Dace Svikis has been recognized by an international organization for her research in improving peripartum care for Black women.

Svikis, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Psychology in the College of Humanities and Sciences, and she serves as deputy director of the VCU Institute for Women’s Health in the School of Medicine.

The Rosalind Franklin Society, which recognizes and advances the contributions of women in life sciences and affiliated disciplines, has named Svikis a 2023 recipient of its Special Award in Science for her research published in Journal of Women’s Health.

Since 2021, the society – named for the 20th-century British biophysicist – has partnered with publishing company Mary Ann Libert Inc. to recognize the best paper, by a woman or under-represented minority in science, published in 100 of Libert’s peer-reviewed journals. Abstracts for the recipients’ winning papers will be published in an anthology on July 25.

Svikis, who is among the nation’s leaders in perinatal substance use disorder research and treatment, has studied the disorders and women’s health throughout her career. At VCU, her research has focused on reducing health disparities in maternal and infant birth outcomes and the development of community-based strategies to reduce stigma and barriers to care for vulnerable groups of women.

When she joined the university in 1999, the VCU Institute for Women’s Health provided “the support and guidance I needed to establish my research program here in Richmond,” Svikis said. “With the help of the institute, I met faculty members who became my colleagues and community partners who were vital to our success.”

Now as a member of the institute’s leadership team, Svikis is grateful for the chance to pay it forward.

“Our role is to kindle interest in women’s health research; support multidisciplinary, translational research projects; and, most importantly, mentor and inspire the next generation of women scientists,” she said.