Megan Veenema Smith, DrPH, MPH

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, in the Child Study Center and of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases); Director, New Haven Mental health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) Partnership

Research Interests

Child Psychiatry; Chronic Disease; Mental Health; Stress, Psychological; Urban Health; Women's Health; Substance-Related Disorders; Healthcare Disparities; Psychiatry and Psychology

Public Health Interests

Mental Health; Social determinants of health; Social inequalities; Social networks; Stress; Substance abuse; Urban health; Women's Health

Research Organizations

Child Study Center

Psychiatry: Center for Wellbeing of Women and Mothers | MOMS Partnership | Psychology Section | Psychotherapy Development Center

School of Public Health: Chronic Disease Epidemiology

Faculty Research

Office of Cooperative Research

Research Summary

The basis of my clinical research work is my belief that the successful prevention of poor childhood outcomes requires an alternative understanding of women’s mental and physical health problems beginning in the preconception period. Mental and physical illness, I believe, should be conceptualized as constructs in dynamic relation to the social, historical, cultural, economic, and political context in which families reside. This framework has driven my research thus far in specific projects related to the psychiatric and social epidemiology of depression in pregnancy and prevention of mental illness in women and children.

Specialized Terms: Mental health promotion and prevention in children and families; Mental illness in pregnancy and parenting; Community-based mental health research; Community-based participatory research in mental health; Gender disparities in mental illness

Extensive Research Description

Advocating for the reduction of racial, ethnic and gender disparities in health has been a driving force in my research thus far. My research is focused on low-income, racial and ethnic minority women who suffer from mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders. A major portion of this work includes investigations into the occurrence and treatment of illnesses in pregnancy, the postpartum period, and during the parenting years. I am interested in not only the impact of maternal psychopathology on a woman’s own morbidity, but also the impact on her parenting style and the long term health and developmental outcomes of her children. Current projects include determining the efficacy and effectiveness of interventions to treat perinatal mood and substance use disorders in novel community settings and investigating the impact of perinatal depressive, anxiety and substance use disorders on birth outcomes and long term parent-child interaction.

New Haven Mental health Outreach for Mothers (MOMS) Partnership

Momba Smartphone application for new mothers

Pink and Blue Kids Study (follow-up of children born to women in the Yale Stress & Pregnancy Study)

CT Health Foundation Children's Mental Health Initiative

Gene by Environment Study of post traumatic stress disorder and preterm birth

Selected Publications

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Contact Info

Megan Veenema Smith, DrPH, MPH
Mailing Address
40 Temple Street
New Haven, CT 06511

New Haven MOMS Partnership