In Memoriam: Nancy K. Grote

In Memoriam: Nancy K. Grote (1944-2021)

Nancy Grote, a beloved member of the IPT community, passed away on December 23, 2021 at the age of 78.  Nancy was a wise, generous, and open-hearted human being who always put the needs of others ahead of her own. She was adored as much for her warmth and kindness as for her many significant contributions to the IPT literature.

Although it seems hard to believe, given her many contributions to IPT, Nancy’s role transition to IPT researcher and trainer came later in her life, having already devoted many years to careers as a teacher and then social worker.  She received her M.Ed. in elementary education in 1968 from Tufts University and initially worked as a school teacher when her beloved children Sara and Hobey were young.  She then turned to social work, receiving her M.S.W. in Clinical Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh in 1980. She worked as a family, child and individual therapist from 1980-1992.   In yet another role transition, she completed her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology in 1992 at the University of Pittsburgh, and then a NIMH Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Epidemiology in 1997.  Once her children were grown, Nancy turned to academia for Act 2 (or Act 3?) of her multi-faceted professional life.

In 2001 Nancy started working with Ellen Frank who trained her in IPT.  In 2003, she received an NIMH-funded K-Award to develop and test culturally-relevant IPT for perinatal depression. In the ensuing two decades, she published numerous high impact articles describing her seminal research on the development, testing, and dissemination of culturally relevant evidenced-based treatments for perinatal depression in low-income white and minority women.  Among her many contributions, she demonstrated that a culturally-informed engagement session reduced barriers to treatment-seeking in low-income, pregnant women.  She also showed that an IPT-based collaborative care intervention for perinatal depression (MOMCare) was superior to treatment as usual in socio-economically disadvantaged women and resulted in fewer adverse neonatal birth events.  And, of course, she trained, supervised, and taught numerous students, mentees, and colleagues along the way.

In 2007, Nancy and her husband Bob moved from Pittsburgh to Seattle to be closer to their children and grandchildren.  She joined the faculty at the University of Washington where she served as both PI and consultant on numerous NIMH-funded projects, and she continued this work past her official retirement in 2016. One of her final intellectual contributions was filming with Xavier Pereira a video for the 2021 ISIPT Conference, “Ensuring Cultural Competence of IPT Delivery.”  It shows Nancy at her finest: curious, empathic, and wise. This video will eventually reside on the “Members Only” section of the ISIPT website, continuing to inspire new generations of learners in the years ahead. 

Nancy lived as she taught, prioritizing cultural humility, compassion, and human connection. She inspired all of us who were lucky enough to spend time with this very special person. She will be missed. 


Holly Swartz