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Professor Louise Howard is a Professor in Women’s Mental Health at KCL and an Honorary Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. She was awarded a prestigious NIHR Research Professorship in 2013 and became an NIHR Senior Investigator in 2019. She is President of the International Marcé (perinatal mental health) Society.

Professor Howard studied medicine at University College London and completed an intercalated BSc in Psychology before finishing her undergraduate studies in 1988. She trained in general medicine in Bloomsbury obtaining the Membership of the Royal College of Physicians in 1991. After completing her general psychiatric training and obtaining the MRCPsych she obtained a Wellcome Trust Health Services Research Training Fellowship in perinatal psychiatry. She was appointed Senior Lecturer in 2004, promoted to a Reader in Women’s Mental Health in 2008 and to Professor in 2010.

She has won a number of prizes for her research including the Association of European Psychiatrists Research Prize, the Institute of Psychiatry Dennis Hill Prize, the Royal College of Psychiatrists Bronze Medal research prize and most recently in 2014 the International Marce Society’s Marce Medal for excellence in perinatal mental health research. She chaired the NICE Guidance on Antenatal and Postnatal Mental Health (CG192) and has also been involved in the writing of guidelines on domestic abuse for NICE and WHO. Her research programmes focuses on perinatal mental health and the relationship between violence and mental health, and she is funded by NIHR, MRC, UKRI and charitable foundations.  


Research Interests 

  • Maternal Mental Health 
  • Violence and Health 
  • Perinatal Mental Health 
  • Gender differences in Mental Health


Professor Howard teaches and leads on the Perinatal Mental Health module within the iBSc programme in Women’s and Children’s Health. She also teaches on the MRCPsych programme, DClinPsy programme, and several MSc programmes. She teaches medical students and offers supervision to students carrying out research projects within their iBSc/MSc programmes.

Expertise and Public Engagement

Louise was Chair of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence Guideline Development Group (update) on Antenatal and Postnatal Mental Health (2014), and was a member of the NICE/SCIE and WHO guidance development groups on preventing and reducing domestic violence (2013). In 2014 she edited a commissioned series on perinatal mental health for the Lancet. She also authored chapters of recent CMO annual reports (perinatal mental health 2014; violence and mental health 2013). She was appointed National Clinical Advisor NHSE Improving Access and Waiting Times Perinatal Programme 2015-2016 and was a Specialist Committee member for the Quality Standards Committee NICE CG192 (2015). She was a member of the Department of Health and Social Care Women’s Mental Health Taskforce 2017 – 2018 and a NICE Expert Adviser for the Centre for Clinical Practice (2016-2018).

Current policy engagement includes membership of the Perinatal Mental Health Project Steering Group Public Health England, NHS England & NHS Improvement Domestic Abuse and Violence Expert Clinical Reference Group 2019, NHSE CRG Clinical Outcomes group, NHSE CRG Research Priorities Group, Expert Committee to support development of WHO implementation manual for maternal mental health 2019. She is a member of several Editorial Boards including: Lancet Psychiatry; Archives of Women’s Mental Health; BJP Open; Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences (EPS). She is a member of the Steering Group of the NIHR Mental Health Incubator.