About the Researchers

sara moyer
Sara Moyer

Sara Moyer, B.S., RN

Sara Moyer is enrolled in the Ph.D. program at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Nursing and is a Conway Scholar. Prior to graduate work, she received a bachelor’s degree from Bridgewater College (Biology) and a bachelor’s degree from VCU (Nursing). Sara is a senior clinical research coordinator in the Mindful Wellness Lab, currently practices as a NICU and maternal infant nurse and is a passionate perinatal mental health (PMH) advocate. Sara's research interests include a holistic approach to understanding PMH symptom development and screenings, promoting a dyad centered approach to perinatal care for families, as well as a focus on the impact of birth and early postpartum experiences on PMH.

patricia kinser
Patricia Kinser

Patricia Kinser, Ph.D., WHNP-BC, RN, FAAN

Patricia Kinser is an endowed professor and interim dean at the VCU School of Nursing. Her biobehavioral program of research is focused on mental health in women across the lifespan. The main focus of Dr. Kinser’s work is to examine mechanisms of perinatal depression and non-pharmacologic symptom management strategies for depression and related symptoms. Given that depression is a significant world health problem, projected to be a leading cause of global illness and disability by 2030, and that nearly 20% of pregnant and postpartum women experience depressive and related symptoms, this focus on perinatal depression has significant impact. She is internationally recognized for her biobehavioral research on mental wellness in women and families, with several active large-scale studies funded by the National Institutes of Health.

She is the PI of a NICHD-funded large-scale multi-site randomized controlled trial of an internet-based self-management intervention to prevent perinatal depression (1R01HD100395 and 3R01HD100395-02S1); contact PI/MPI of a NINR-funded study evaluating the effects and mechanisms of a yoga-based intervention for pregnant marginalized women with depressive symptoms within a multifaceted biobehavioral context (1R01NR020220); site Co-PI of a nationwide NHLBI-funded initiative to understand the effects of long-COVID in children and families (OT2HL161847); and MPI of a NIDA-funded pilot study about using community-based fetal ultrasounds to enhance prenatal care uptake in pregnant individuals using substances (1R21DA058407). She is a Governor-appointee on the Board of Health for the Commonwealth of Virginia, bringing the voice of nursing and a health equity focus to policy development that promotes and protects the health of Virginians. She maintains an active clinical practice as a board-certified Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. Dr. Kinser is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.

Mindful Wellness Lab

Our research is positioned at the intersection of research and clinical care regarding the promotion of positive health behaviors and  interventions for mental and physical wellness in women and families. The following are examples of funded studies occurring or recently completed in Kinser’s Mindful Wellness Lab:

  • Internet and mobile-based approaches to enhance wellness during pregnancy and postpartum (see the Mamma Mia study)
  • Mindful physical activity to enhance wellness during pregnancy (see the Mindful Moms study)
  • The long-term effects of COVID-19 in children, adolescents, and young adults (see the RECOVER study)
  • The experiences of pregnant and postpartum women during the COVID-19 pandemic (see the VCU COPE study)
  • Gene-environment interactions (epigenetics) as related to stress and depression in women and their families (see the PREG+PPD study)
  • Mindfulness for healthcare professionals (see the Mindfulness for HCP study)

The Mindful Wellness Lab may be contacted at mindful@vcu.edu.

a smiling team of researchers and students