Jennifer L. Payne

Jennifer L. Payne, MD

Inpatient Psychiatry, Outpatient Psychiatry
Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences
Primary Location:

PO Box 800623

Charlottesville, VA 22908-0623



ABMS Certification:
Amer Bd of Psychiatry & Neurology (Psychiatry)
Research Interests:

Epigenetic biomarkers of postpartum depression
Genetics of postpartum depression
Prevention of postpartum depression
Premenstrual exacerbation of mood disorders and psychiatric management
Perimenopause in mood disorders and psychiatric management
Best clinical practices for management of psychiatric disorders in pregnancy and postpartum
Treatment of postpartum depression
Biological basis of postpartum depression


Director, Reproductive Psychiatry Research Program


Professor and Vice Chair of Research

Jennifer Payne, MD, is an expert in reproductive psychiatry. She helps people who experience a psychiatric illness that is influenced by times of reproductive hormonal change. This can include pre-menstruation, during pregnancy and after pregnancy (postpartum), and during perimenopause (years leading up to menopause).

Her expertise includes:

  • Women's mood disorders
  • Postpartum depression
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorders
  • Perimenopausal depression

When working with a patient, Dr. Payne says, “it's important to take a complete history and understand who this individual is, where they are from, and what experiences have shaped them. If you're missing a part of the picture, you invariably cannot help someone get better. Taking a thorough history is the most important step, and the most efficient step, in helping someone recover from a psychiatric illness.”

She adds, “I really enjoy helping people. During medical school, I realized that psychiatry was a good fit for me because you can really help people get better. And when you do, you're not just helping the individual, you're helping their whole family and their community as well.”

Dr. Payne was adopted and grew up in Beckley, West Virginia. “My entire family (uncles/grandparents) lived on the same block. I grew up running around and playing outside. I loved science and biology from an early age. I went to Davidson College, majored in biology, and fell in love with neuroscience. After graduation, I started in the neuroscience program at UVA, which I really enjoyed, but realized I wanted to go to medical school. I was going to stay in Charlottesville but got a scholarship to Washington University so I moved to St. Louis for medical school.”



Washington University School of Medicine, 1997
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
National Institute of Mental Health