Catherine Monk, PhD

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Dr. Monk’s research brings together perinatal psychiatry, developmental psychobiology, and neuroscience to focus on the earliest influences on children’s developmental trajectories — those that happen in utero and how to intervene early to help women and prevent risk for mental health disorders in the future children. Her research has been continuously funded by the NIH since she had her first support as a ‘K’ Career Development awardee in 2001; she also has received funding from the March of Dimes, Johnson & Johnson, the Robin Hood Foundation, the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, and the Bezos Family Foundation.

Catherine Monk, PhD, is the inaugural Diana Vagelos Professor of Women’s Mental Health in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Professor of Medical Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and Research Scientist VI at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Monk is also the founding director of Women’s Mental Health @Ob/Gyn, an embedded initiative where she and other mental health professionals help women with stress, depression, anxiety across the lifespan. After completing her NIH post–doctoral fellowship in the Psychobiological Sciences at Columbia in 2000, Dr. Monk joined the faculty and established the Perinatal Pathways Laboratory.

New Patients

Please note, at this time, Dr. Werner is only accepting new patients referred by providers in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

Areas of Expertise / Conditions Treated

  • Clinical Research
  • Neuro-Development
  • Neurodevelopmental Disabilities
  • Neuropsychology
  • Perinatal Pathology
  • Post Menopausal Problems
  • Postpartum Depression
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
  • Psychological Aspects of Infertility
  • Women's Health
  • Women's Mental Health

Academic Appointments

  • Diana Vagelos Professor of Women’s Mental Health in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at CUMC
  • Professor of Medical Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at CUMC

Administrative Titles

  • Chief, Division of Women’s Mental Health

Hospital Affiliations

  • NewYork-Presbyterian / Columbia University Irving Medical Center


  • Female

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51 West 51st Street
New York, NY 10019
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Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • PhD, Graduate School of the City University of New York
  • Internship: Montefiore Medical Center


We conduct research studies with pregnant women and their babies to improve their well–being and their future children’s lives. For nearly 20 years, we have contributed to the scientific evidence showing that when pregnant women experience stress, anxiety, and depression, it affects them as well as their offspring in utero. There is a ‘third pathway’ for the familial inheritance of risk for psychiatric illness beyond shared genes and the quality of parental care: the impact of pregnant women’s distress on fetal and infant brain–behavior development.

Research Projects

Our projects involve fetal assessment, newborn neuroimaging, genetics, epigenetics, psychoneuroimmunology, mother–child interaction, and supportive interventions to:

  1. Characterize maternal experiences and the effects on children’s development.
  2. Promote maternal psychobiological health for the mother–child dyad.

For more information, visit the Perinatal Pathways lab website.

Research Interests

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Perinatal psychology, psychiatry
  • Psychobiological development

Selected Publications

  1. Walsh, K., McCormack, C. A., Webster, R., Pinto, A. Lee, S., Feng, T., Krakovsky, H. S., O'Grady, S. M., Tycko, B., Champagne, F. A., Werner, E. A., Liu, G., Monk, C. (in press). Maternal Prenatal Stress Phenotypes Associate with Fetal Neurodevelopment and Birth Outcomes. PNAS.
  2. Monk, C., Webster, R. S. McNeil, R. B., Parker, C. B., Catov, J. M., Greenland, P., Bairey Merz, C. N., Silver, R. M., Simhan, H. N., Ehrenthal, D. B., Chung, J. H., Haas, D. M., Mercer B. M., Parry, S., Polito, L., Reddy, U. M., Saade, G. R., Grobman, W. A. Associations of perceived prenatal stress and adverse pregnancy outcomes with perceived stress years after delivery. Archives of Women's Mental Health. PMID: 31256258 DOI: 10.1007/s00737-019-00970-8
  3. Mangla, K., Hoffman, M. C., Trumpff, C., O'Grady, S., Monk, C. Maternal self-harm deaths: an unrecognized and preventable outcome. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2019. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2019.02.056. PMID: 30849358
  4. Monk, C., Lugo-Candelas, C., & Trumpff, C. Prenatal Developmental Origins of Future Psychopathology: Mechanisms and Pathways. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology. 2019;15:317-44. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-clinspy-050718-095539. PMID: 30795695.
  5. Gustafsson, H. C., Goodman, S. H. Feng, T., Choi, J., Lee, S., Newport, D. J., Knight, B., Pingeton, B., Stowe, Z. N., Monk, C. (2018). Major depressive disorder during pregnancy: Psychiatric medications have minimal effects on the fetus and infant yet development is compromised. Development and Psychopathology. 2018;30(3):773-85. DOI: 10.1017/S0954579418000639. PMID: 30068426
  6. Lugo-Candelas, C., Monk, C., Duarte, C. S., Posner, J. Shared genetic factors, fetal programming, and the transmission of depression. Lancet Psychiatry. 2018;5(10):771-3. DOI: 10.1016/S2215-0366(18)30356-0. PMID: 30245186.
  7. Gustafsson, H. C., Grieve, P., Werner, E. A., Desai, P., & Monk, C. Newborn electroencephalographic correlates of maternal prenatal depressive symptoms. Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. 2018;9(4):381-5. DOI:10.1017/S2040174418000089. PMID: 29508679.
  8. Scorza, P., Duarte, C. S., Hipwell, A. E., Posner, J., Ortin, A., Canino, G., Monk, C. Program Collaborators for Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes. Intergenerational transmission of disadvantage: Epigenetics and parents' childhoods as the first exposure. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 2018 Feb 23. DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12877. PMID: 29473646.