Photo of Bell, Aleeca

Aleeca Bell, PhD, RN, CNM

Associate Professor

Department of Women, Children and Family Health Science

Building:

820 NURS

Address:

845 S. Damen Ave., MC 802, Chicago, IL 60612

Office Phone Voice:

(312) 996-8051

About

Dr. Aleeca F. Bell, Associate Professor, aims to align her values, service and teaching with her scholarly expertise to exert a meaningful impact on the missions of her Department, College, University, and professional organizations.  Dr. Bell guides her students in their academic endeavors with respect and empowerment, supports active learning, fosters their leadership skills, and encourages an interchange of ideas and a love for learning.

Dr. Bell's bio-behavioral program of research focuses on promoting optimal early mother-infant synchrony, and understanding oxytocin as an underlying mechanism of mother-infant synchrony.  Addressing a major gap in the state of the science is her research on whether environmental factors during sensitive perinatal developmental windows epigenetically modify the oxytocin system to affect maternal mood, anxiety and caregiving behavior in vulnerable women.  She collaborates with experts across the disciplines of nursing, psychology, psychiatry, behavioral neuroscience, biostatistics, and molecular biology. Her research has also investigated the maternal birth experience influencing maternal mood/anxiety and caregiving behavior, as well as exposure to intrapartum Pitocin and epidural analgesia influencing newborn behavior.

Selected Grants

Internal Research Support Program, College of Nursing, UIC, Feasibility Study of an Intervention to Improve Mother-Infant Synchrony, and the Contributing Role of Oxytocin, PI

Capacity Building Grant, Ulster University, Northern Ireland, Change in Oxytocin from Pregnancy to after Birth, Co-PI

Center for Clinical and Translational Science NIH KL2 Scholar Award, Oxytocin-Related Predictors of Postpartum Maternal Mood and Mothering Behaviors, PI

Fetzer Institute, Oxytocin and the Biology of Love, Co-PI

National Institute of Nursing Research, NIH F31 NR009912 Training Award, Neonatal Sucking Organization After Epidural Analgesia, PI

Selected Publications

Bell, A. F., Andersson, E., Goding, K., & Vonderheid, S. C. (2018) The birth experience and maternal caregiving attitudes and behavior: A systematic review. Sexual and Reproductive HealthCare. 16(June), 67-77. doi: 10.org/10.1016/j.srhc.2018.02.007 

 

Griffith, T. T., Bell, A. F., White-Traut, R., Medoff-Cooper, B., & Rankin, K. (2018) Relationship between duration of tube feeding and success of oral feeding in preterm infants. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, Epub ahead of print doi: 10.1016/j.jogn.2018.06.002. PMID: 30040913 

 

Griffith, T. T., Bell, A. F., Vincent, C., White-Traut, R., Medoff-Cooper, B., & Rankin, K. (2018) Oral feeding success: A concept analysis. Advanced Neonatal Care, Epub ahead of print doi: 10.1097/ANC.0000000000000540. PMID: 30028735 

 

Rungnapa, R., Rutherford, J., & Bell, A. F. (2018). A systematic review of placental biomarkers predicting small for gestational age infants. Biological Research for Nursing, 20(3), 272-283. doi: 10.1177/1099800418760997. PMID: 29490471 

 

Maeder, A. B., Vonderheid, S. C., Park, C. G., Bell, A. F., McFarlin, B. L., Vincent, C., & Carter, C. S. (2017). Titration of intravenous oxytocin infusion for post-dates induction of labor across body mass index groups. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing. 46(4), 494-507. doi: 10.1016/j.jogn.2017.02.006 PMID: 28528810 (Received the 2018 Best of JOGGN Award) 

 

Bell, A. F. & Andersson, E. (2016). The birth experience and women’s postpartum depression: A systematic review. Midwifery, 39, 112-123. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2016.04.014. PMID: 27321728 

 

Bell, A. F., Carter, C. S., Steer C. D., Golding J., Davis J. M., Steffen A. D., Rubin L. H., Lillard T. S., Gregory S. P., Harris J. C., & Connelly J. J. (2015). Interaction between oxytocin receptor DNA methylation and genotype is associated with risk of postpartum depression in women without depression in pregnancy. Frontiers in Genetics, 6, article 243, 1-10. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2015.00243. PMID: 26257770 

 

Bell, A. F., Carter C. S., Davis, J. M., Golding, J., Adejumo, O., Pyra, M., Connelly, J. J., & Rubin, L. H. (2015) Childbirth and symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety: A prospective birth cohort study. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 19(2), 219-227. PMID: 26202722 

 

Bell, A. F., Erickson, E. N., & Carter, C. S. (2014). Beyond labor: The role of natural and synthetic oxytocin in the transition to motherhood. Journal Midwifery & Women’s Health, 59(1), 35-42. doi: 10.1111/jmwh.12101. PMID: 24472136 

 

Dahlen, H. G., Kennedy Powell, H., Anderson, C. M., Bell, A. F., Clark, A., Foureur, M., Ohm, J. E., Shearman, A. M., Taylor, J. Y., Wright, M. L., & Downe, S. (2013). The EPIIC hypothesis: Intrapartum effects on the neonatal epigenome and consequent health outcomes. Medical Hypotheses. 80(5) 656-662. doi:pii: S0306-9877(13)00040-6. 10.1016/j.mehy.2013.01.017. PMID: 23414680 

 

Bell, A. F., White-Traut, R. C., & Rankin, K. (2013). Fetal exposure to synthetic oxytocin and relationship to prefeeding cues within one hour postbirth. Early Human Development, 89, 137-143. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2012.09.017. PMID: 23084698 

 

Bell, A. F., White-Traut, R. C., Wang, E., & Schwertz, D. (2012). Maternal and umbilical artery cortisol levels at birth: Relationships with epidural analgesia and newborn alertness. Biologic Research for Nursing, 14(3), 269-276. doi: 10.1177/1099800411413460. PMID: 21719528 

 

Bell, A. F., White-Traut, R. C., & Medoff-Cooper, B. (2010). Neonatal neurobehavioral organization after exposure to maternal epidural analgesia in labor. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, 39, 178-190. doi:10.1111/j.1552-6909.2010.01100.x PMID: 20409118 

 

White-Traut, R. C., Watanabe, K., Pournajafi-Nazarloo, H., Schwertz, D., Bell, A. F., & Carter, S. (2009). Detection of salivary oxytocin levels in lactating women. Developmental Psychobiology, 51, 367-373. doi:10.1002/dev.20376. PMCID: PMC2767206 

 

Bell, A. F., Lucas, R., & White-Traut, R. C. (2008). Concept clarification of neonatal neurobehavioral organization. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 61(5), 570-581. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.2007.04561.x PMCID: PMC2573022

 

 

Service to Community

Dr. Bell chairs the Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Women to promote the professional, educational and career development of women at UIC.

Education

2009 Ph.D., Nursing Science, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Nursing
1998 M.S., Nurse-Midwifery, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Nursing
1996 B.A., Board of Governors, Governors State University, University Park, IL
1995 A.A.S., Nursing, Prairie State College, Chicago Heights, IL

Licensures and Certifications

1998-Present  Certified Nurse Midwife, American Midwifery Certification Board (active)

1995-Present  Registered Nurse, Department of Professional Regulation, Illinois (active)

2001-2014       Advanced Practice Nurse, Department of Professional Regulation, Illinois (inactive)

Professional Memberships

2007-Present  American College of Nurse Midwives

Selected Presentations

Since 2009 International Presentations (presenting author underlined, invited podium presentation)

Ruchob, R., Rutherford, J.N., & Bell, A.F. (2017). A systematic review of placental biomarkers predicting small for gestational age infants. International Federation of Placenta Associations Meeting, Manchester, UK (poster).

Bell, A. F. & Andersson, E. (2017). The birth experience and women’s postpartum depression: A systematic review. The International Confederation of Midwives Triennial Congress, Toronto, Canada (poster).

Maeder, A. B., Vonderheid, S., C., Park, C. G., Bell, A. F., McFarlin, B. L., Vincent, C., & Carter, C. S. (2017). Intravenous Oxytocin Titration for Post-Dates Labor Induction Across Body Mass Index Groups. Society for Reproductive Investigation’s 64th Annual Scientific Meeting, Orlando, FL (poster).

Bell, A. F. & Andersson, E. (2016). The birth experience and women’s postpartum depression: A systematic review. The International Marcé Society Conference, Melbourne, Australia (poster).

Bell, A. F., Carter, C. S., Steer C. D., Golding J., Davis J. M., Steffen A. D., Rubin L. H., Lillard T. S., Gregory S. P., Harris J. C., & Connelly J. J. (2015). Interaction between oxytocin receptor DNA methylation and genotype is associated with risk of postpartum depression in women without depression in pregnancy. International Society of Nurses in Genetics World Congress, Pittsburgh, PA (podium).

Bell, A. F., Rubin, L. H., Adejumo, O., Pyra, M., Davis, J. M., Connelly, J. J., & Carter, C. S. (2014). The birth experience may influence postpartum anxiety and parenting. Optimizing Birth Outcomes across Europe Conference, Brussels, Belgium (podium).

Bell, A. F., Steffen, A. D., Yoder, J. C., Davis, J. M., Carter, C. S., Golding J., & Connelly, J. J. (2013). Increased oxytocin receptor DNA methylation is associated with postpartum depression. World Congress of Neurohypophyseal Hormones, Bristol, United Kingdom (poster).

Anderson, C. M., Bell, A. F., Clark, A., Dahlen, H. G., Downe, S., Foureur, M., Kennedy, H.P., Ohm, J., Shearman, A., Taylor, J., & Wright, M. (2012). Plenary session at the annual conference of the International Society of Nurses in Genetics. The EPIIC hypothesis: Intrapartum effects on the neonatal epigenome and consequent health outcomes. Philadelphia, PA (podium).

Bell, A. F., White-Traut, R., & Rankin, K. (2012). Fetal exposure to synthetic oxytocin and relationship to prefeeding cues within one hour postbirth. International Conference for Infant Studies conference, Minneapolis, MN (poster).

Bell, A. F., White-Traut, R. C., Wang, E., & Schwertz, D. (2010). Maternal and umbilical artery cortisol levels at birth: Relationships with epidural analgesia and newborn alertness. International Conference for Infant Studies, Baltimore, MD (poster).

Bell, A. F., White-Traut, R. C., & Medoff-Cooper, B. (2010). Neonatal neurobehavioral organization after exposure to maternal epidural analgesia in labor. International Conference for Infant Studies, Baltimore, MD (poster).

Bell, A. F. & White-Traut, R. (2009). Part of a symposium presented at the bi-annual conference of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing on Merging Knowledge - Nurses and Engineers. Collaborating to advance health care research and practice: Lessons learned while collaborating with engineers: Neonatal sucking organization after maternal epidural analgesia. Indianapolis, IN (podium).

Bell, A., Lucas, R. & White-Traut, R. (2007). Concept clarification of neonatal neurobehavioral organization. 6th Graz Symposium on Developmental Neurology, Graz, Austria (poster).

Since 2009 National Presentations (presenting author underlined, invited podium presentation)

Bell, A. F. (2017). The birth experience may influence postpartum anxiety and maternal caregiving behavior. American College of Nurse Midwives annual conference, Chicago, IL (poster).

Bell, A. F. & Andersson, E. (2017). The birth experience and women’s postpartum depression: A systematic review. American College of Nurse Midwives annual conference, Chicago, IL (poster).

Maeder, A. B., Vonderheid, S., C., Park, C. G., Bell, A. F., McFarlin, B. L., Vincent, C., & Carter, C. S. (2017). Use of Electronic Medical Records to Examine Titration of Intravenous Oxytocin Infusion for Post- Dates Induction of Labor Across BMI Groups. Academy Health Annual Research Meeting, New Orleans, LA (poster).

Bell, A. F., Steffen, A. D., Yoder, J. C., Davis, J. M., Carter, C. S., Golding, J., & Connelly, J. J. (2014). Increased oxytocin receptor DNA methylation is associated with postpartum depression. National Network of Depression Centers annual conference, Chicago, IL (poster).

Bell, A. F., White-Traut, R., & Rankin, K. (2012). Fetal exposure to synthetic oxytocin and relationship to prefeeding cues within one hour postbirth. Translational Science Conference, Washington DC (poster).

Since 2009 Regional Presentations (presenting author underlined, invited podium presentation)

Goding, K., Vonderheid, S. & Bell, A.F. (2017). Birth experience and maternal caregiving attitudes and behavior: A systematic review. 2017 Student Research Forum, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL (poster).

Bell, A. F. (2016). Mother-baby synchrony: Risk biomarkers and an early behavioral intervention to reduce risk. Children’s Research Institute, Children’s Hospital of WI, Milwaukee, WI (podium).

Bell, A. F., Carter, C. S., Steer C. D., Golding J., Davis J. M., Steffen A. D., Rubin L. H., Lillard T. S., Gregory S. P., Harris J. C., & Connelly J. J. (2016). Interaction between oxytocin receptor DNA methylation and genotype is associated with risk of postpartum depression in women without depression in pregnancy. Part of a symposium presented at the Midwest Nursing Research Society’s annual conference on Pregnancy and postpartum research, Milwaukee, WI (podium).

Bell, A. F., White-Traut, R. C., Wang, E., & Schwertz, D. (2010). Maternal and umbilical artery cortisol levels at birth: Relationships with epidural analgesia and newborn alertness. Midwest Nursing Research annual conference, Kansas City, MO (podium).

Bell, A. F. (2009). Neonatal neurobehavioral organization after exposure to maternal epidural analgesia in labor. Nursing PhD Reunion, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Nursing, Chicago, IL (podium).