Natalie Stevens, PhD

 Natalie Stevens, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Behavioral Sciences, Rush Medical College
Role: Faculty
Joined Rush in 2013


I am an Assistant Professor of Behavioral Sciences and a licensed clinical psychologist. I am also Assistant Director of the Outpatient Psychotherapy Service and co-Director of the Center for Women’s Behavioral and Mental Health at Rush. My clinical specialty is treatment of perinatal depression and anxiety. My research focuses on the impact of stress, trauma, and anxiety on pregnancy outcomes, including postpartum mental health and parenting. In my teaching role, I help students and medical residents understand and address the impact of traumatic stress on medical populations, particularly obstetrics and gynecology.

What inspired you to get into your field?

I have always been inspired by the incredible transformation that takes place during pregnancy and the transition to parenthood. As the most transformative stage in human development - for both mothers and infants - the perinatal period unlocks an immense potential within us for growth, resilience, and fulfillment. It also demands an immense amount of energy, resources, and support, and is therefore a time of heightened vulnerability. This is especially true for women who have faced trauma or adversity in early life. When I volunteered as a childbirth doula for mostly single mothers before starting graduate school, it was clear to me that when women feel supported and cared for, they are healthier and more empowered as parents. The importance of building resilience and support for pregnant women, within the whole bio-psycho-social context, underpins all of my clinical and scientific work.

What excited you about your work at Rush?

I truly consider myself to be working in my “dream job.” Rush fosters a collaborative clinical and research environment where I have been able to partner with other health care professionals and scientists who are as passionate about women’s health as I am and who are as compassionate as I strive to be. In addition to being supported I am constantly challenged. I don’t like to be bored - and I never am!

What is your opinion of mentoring and sponsorship? Please comment about your experiences.

The most important thing in life is relationships. This is no less true in one’s professional life. A strong mentoring team is essential to professional development, growth, and success. My mentors offer guidance and training while also “stepping back” and allowing me to trust my decisions and instincts. They also have given me more support than I could possibly have asked for as I expanded my own family, helping me to find that elusive work-life balance.

Do you have tips or advice you would recommend for someone looking to enter your field of work?

Reach out to people. Meet lots of people across an array of disciplines who share your passions, whether for patient care, science, or community involvement. Not every meeting will lead to a partnership. In fact, few will. Do it anyway. Find a mentor who is a partner in your work who will connect you to others in the field. This is an ongoing part of mentoring and collaboration rather than a one-time event. Ideally, build a team of two or three mentors whose strengths match your professional goals.

What are your hobbies? How do you like to spend your free time?

I recently added twins, a boy and a girl, to my family and they keep me very busy! I enjoy spending my time with them, being outside as much as possible, and taking advantage of having grandparents nearby! In the future I hope to do more open-water swimming and taking my twins on little adventures.