Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Women's Behavioral Health

The Women’s Behavioral Health Program is dedicated to investigating and providing novel treatments and combination therapies for our patients.  We conduct urgently needed studies to seek scientific breakthroughs to advance the understanding of affective disorders. This program is part of the Asher Center for the Study and Treatment of Depressive Disorders, named for Helen and Norman Asher, who provided funds for its establishment. The goals of this program, directed by Katherine L. Wisner, MD, MS, Norman and Helen Asher Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, is to become a nationally prominent center of excellence for research and clinical practice pertaining to the depressive disorders; create a premier translational research center with investigators in basic science (physiology, neuroscience, pharmacology) collaborating with clinical research scientists to generate new ideas and develop novel interventions for mood disorders, and to disseminate treatment breakthroughs to patients.


Specialty training and education in women’s reproductive-related mood disorders is offered to medical trainees via educational seminars, lectures, and rotations. Education and training in novel treatments for mood disorders are offered via lectures and clinical workshops for medical professionals and medical grand round lectures. A national conference in Perinatal Mental Health is being held November 6-8, 2013, at the Sheraton Chicago: Optimizing Maternal Treatment to Improve infant Outcomes.


Our clinical and basic researchers strive to be at the frontier of women’s mental health and mood and anxiety disorders research. Treatments that are considered to be effective for major depression in women range from short-term psychotherapy, antidepressant medications, bright light therapy, regular exercise, and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation. New research is needed to improve treatment outcomes, particularly for women with treatment-refractory reproductive-related depressive illness, such as postpartum depression. This research program has the following goals:

Patient Care

The Women’s Behavioral Health Program is part of the Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation, a nationally recognized group of physicians and psychologists at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. We are dedicated to offering compassionate and confidential patient care for the behavioral health needs of women. We help women who need assessment and treatment of depression and bipolar disorder, anxiety and stress, premenstrual depression, mother and infant attachment, perimenopausal mood and anxiety, pregnancy planning consultations, medication use during pregnancy and breastfeeding consultations, pregnancy loss, trauma from assault or interpersonal violence, support during infertility treatment, and sleep disorders. We have earned a reputation for providing high-quality patient care and are known for our innovative clinical practices.

Katherine Wisner, MD

Katherine Wisner, MD
Division Chair, Women's Behavioral Health Program

Katherine Wisner