Dr. Pooja Lakshmin
Psychiatrist & Author
Dr. Pooja Lakshmin, MD is a board-certified psychiatrist and writer specializing in women’s mental health and perinatal psychiatry, a frequent contributor to The New York Times, medical advisor to Peloton, and the founder of Gemma, the first digital education platform dedicated exclusively to women’s mental health. She is a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the George Washington University School of Medicine, where she is a clinical supervisor in the Five Trimesters perinatal psychiatry clinic. Dr. Lakshmin is most passionate about empowering women and sees her clinical work as a perinatal psychiatrist as an extension of this mission. She maintains a private practice where she applies an integrative approach to taking care of women suffering from maternal mental health conditions. She also serves on the board of directors of the Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance, a national non-profit dedicated to furthering maternal mental health policy and the Editorial Advisory Board of Clinical Psychiatry News. Dr. Lakshmin is passionate about digital advocacy work and community building through online platforms, including her Instagram page @womensmentalhealthdoc. As a frequent contributor to the New York Times Parenting section, she discusses topics related to women’s mental health, maternal mental health, and well-being. Her advice has been featured on The Drew Barrymore Show, NPR, and in Glamour, Marie Claire, Self, The New York Times, Shape, Harper’s Bazaar, Bustle, among other media outlets. She has been invited to speak on the topic of parental and women’s mental well-being by companies like 23andMe, alice and olivia, The ACS International Schools, the March of Dimes, Thrive Global and others. Dr. Lakshmin is the author of a forthcoming book from Penguin Life in January 2023 in which she discusses the tyranny of self-care and offers a novel framework for women to build authentic and sustainable well-being in the face of systemic stressors.
Dr. Lakshmin studied at the University of Pennsylvania where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude in Women’s Studies and Biological Basis of Behavior. She received her MD from Jefferson Medical College. She did her internship and PGY2 year of psychiatry residency training at Stanford University, finishing her psychiatry residency training at George Washington University, where she was part of the Global Mental Health track and received the 2016 Diane K. Shrier award for research in Women’s Health. After finishing her training, she joined the faculty at GW, where she is a clinical supervisor for the Five Trimesters Perinatal Psychiatry clinic.
Dr. Lakshmin has a diverse research background in women’s mental health including post-doctoral research training at Rutgers University where she worked on projects studying the neural basis of sexual response in women and taught an undergraduate course on the clinical neuroscience of human sexuality. Other research projects have included using qualitative methods to study women’s perception of living with depression in India, and testimonial therapy in intimate partner violence survivors. She served as Associate Program Director for the residency program from 2016-2018 and received the 2018 Polinger Perinatal Mental Health grant from Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Health in Washington, DC.
She is a member of the DC Metro Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative, the Marcé of North America Perinatal Mental Health Society, International Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health, and the International Association for Women’s Mental Health, and frequently presents her work at national and international meetings.
In 2020, after noticing a gap in accessible digital resources tailored to women’s mental health, Dr. Lakshmin founded Gemma, the first digital education platform dedicated exclusively to women’s mental health. Gemma provides expert lead virtual courses to support women’s mental and emotional well-being and is building an innovative approach to online learning and women’s mental health.