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Heidemarie Laurent, PhD

Program Area: Clinical/Community

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Contact Information:


  • Stress regulation; Mindfulness; Depression; Close relationships

Research Description

What separates people who can thrive in the face of stress from those who succumb to mood disorders?  How do early and later relationships buffer or exacerbate stress vulnerabilities, and how can people learn to respond more adaptively to daily stressors? Dr. Laurent’s research focuses on (1) defining what we mean by stress “regulation” by relating multiple biological (i.e., neural, neuroendocrine, autonomic) and behavioral stress response facets to psychological symptoms and well-being; (2) identifying developmental paths shaping stress regulation, including prenatal and postnatal influences of parental depression; and (3) determining how practices such as mindfulness can improve stress regulation, and whom such practices are most likely to benefit.  Her work combines stress physiology monitoring, neuroimaging, and/or behavioral observation as people respond to naturalistic stressors that arise within close interpersonal relationships, toward the ultimate goal of interrupting intergenerational cycles of stress dysregulation and depression.

Dr Laurent has completed professional training in Mindfuless-Based Cognitive Therapy and Mindfulness Based Childbirth and Parenting and has been teaching and supervising mindfulness classes since 2014.


  • Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst


Kristy Higgs, MSN CNM

Kristy has been a practicing nurse midwife since 1989.  She worked in free standing birth centers for 10 years before joining the OB/GYN Department at Carle in 1999 where she worked til 2018. She now works in Saint Louis in a Residency program as Faculty.  Heidemarie's interest in bringing Mindfulness Based Childbirth and Parenting to the area was the catalyst to adding mindfulness to her daily routines and expanding her clinical practice to the include integrating mindfulness into the birthing experience.  She has completed professional training Levels 1 and 2 in Mindfulness Based Childbirth and Parenting.

Jeri Lake

Jeri became a nurse midwife and family nurse practitioner in 1989 practicing first at the UT Memphis Medical Center. She joined Carle's nurse midwifery practice in 1991 and practiced there until 2005 when her life path was changed by a traumatic brain injury. In 2010 she became involved with mindfulness training as a part of neuro-rehabilitation research and has had a personal mindfulness practice since that time. This program provides an exciting new connection between her love of working with birthing families and her experience with the impact of mindfulness on the brain.   Jeri has also completed Level 1 professional training in Mindfulness Based Childbirth and Parenting.

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