Jeffrey Newport, MD, MS, MDiv — Director, Ohio State’s Women’s Behavioral Health

My name is Jeff Newport. I’m a professor of
psychiatry and the vice-chair of research for the Department of Psychiatry as well as
the director of the OSU Women’s Mental Health Program. My general area of specialty is women’s
mental health, but the particular area of interest is in helping women manage mental
illness as safely as possible throughout childbearing, from preconception through pregnancy and into
the postpartum period. As I was going through my psychiatry training, I was very interested in finding
an area of mental health care at the intersection between medical management and psychiatry.
And I found that managing mental illness, in and around pregnancy, to be very gratifying. It’s
very fulfilling from an intellectual standpoint and that there are tremendous challenges to
safeguarding not only the expectant mother but her child. But then it’s very emotionally
gratifying because I feel like I get to participate in this wonderful experience of bringing a
child into the world and doing so in a healthy manner. The approach I use is what’s commonly
called patient-centered care. Although that phrase often needs some definition. In my
approach to patient-centered care, it’s an approach in which I don’t give orders, I don’t
give commands, but offer advice and counsel and direction, because the patients with whom
I’m working with, they have important decisions to make, and their decisions not only affect
their own well-being but the well-being and the health of their child. And so I want to
offer them, respect their autonomy, and offer them the advice I can so that they can make the
best decision for not only themselves but for their family. Those who come here with
histories of mental illness, be it depression, be it anxiety, who are needing some help,
can have a team of people from preconception planning all the way to childbearing and then
following their children on for a comprehensive assessment as things move through that process.
I think there’s a wonderful opportunity here in terms of growing the Department of Psychiatry,
but also doing so in a way that interfaces with the already very strong Department of
Obstetrics and Gynecology. And that was an opportunity I didn’t have at my prior position,
and I’m looking forward to embracing that.

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