Margaret Howard, PhD

Margaret Howard, PhD

Professor of Psychiatry at Brown University and Executive Director of Women’s Mental Health at Care New England, Providence, RI, USA
Work Experience: 20+ years in women’s mental health

“Each woman has a unique set of experiences, but what unites them is that they are experiencing depression or another mood disorder at a time when there is a strong cultural expectation to be ‘happy’ (during pregnancy or after giving birth). Another thing that unites women with these conditions is a strong desire to become well. Thankfully, these conditions are very responsive to treatment, and it’s so satisfying for me to support my patients and help them recover.”

Career Highlights 

  • Executive director of women’s mental health at Care New England, 2019–present
  • Professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI, 2000–present
  • Division director and founder of women’s behavioral health at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island (the first mother-baby perinatal psychiatric partial hospital in the US), 2011–present
  • Published, taught, and lectured nationally and internationally on the topic of perinatal psychiatric disorders
  • Recipient of many awards recognizing contribution to the field of perinatal mental health, including the Distinguished Leadership Award by the Committee on Women in Psychology of the American Psychological Association

Education

  • Internship and fellowship at Brown University Medical School, Providence, RI, 1985–1987
  • PhD in clinical psychology from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, 1980–1985
  • Master’s degree in counseling psychology from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, 1983
  • Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA, 1975–1979

Featured Publications

  • “Peripartum depression: Early recognition improves outcomes.” Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, vol. 84, no. 5, May 2017, doi: 10.3949/ccjm.84a.14060
  • “Symptoms of the anxiety disorders in a perinatal psychiatric sample: a chart review.” The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, vol. 202, no. 2, Feb 2014, doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000086
  • “Prenatal yoga and depression during pregnancy.” Birth, vol. 37, no. 4, Dec 2010, doi: 10.1111/j.1523-536X.2010.00435_1.x 

My Journey in Psychology

I decided to focus on perinatal mental health early in my career when one of my patients developed severe postpartum depression after giving birth to her first child. I had very little experience in this area, so I began researching and reading. The more I learned about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, the more intrigued I became. I started seeing more and more women with these conditions in my clinical practice. 

What drives me in my professional life is a true desire to make a difference in the lives of pregnant and postpartum women. On an individual level, I aspire to guide women on their journey to wellness. On a more system-wide level, I find it highly satisfying to be involved in education, research, and program development. 

As a founder of the first mother-baby psychiatric partial hospital program for perinatal women in America, it is endlessly gratifying to see similar programs open around the country. Knowing that even more mothers will be supported during this critical time in their lives through these specialized programs invigorates my work every day. 

It’s wonderful to be a consultant for the top cycle-tracking app in the US. I appreciate Flo’s evidence-based approach and support its mission to empower women and mothers everywhere with important knowledge to take care of their physical and mental well-being. 

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