Loral Patchen


Loral Patchen, PhD, MSN, MA, CNM, is vice chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology and executive director of the Teen Alliance for Prepared Parenting (TAPP) Program at MedStar Washington Hospital Center (MWHC). As such, she participates in several innovative research programs to promote improved health decision making and parenting skills and to investigate health disparities in maternal and child health.

At MWHC, Dr. Patchen is responsible for strategic and operational leadership for midwifery services, and she is responsible for research and grant activities for the Section of Midwifery. Current programming initiatives include increasing exclusive breastfeeding rates among minority mothers and promoting diverse options, such as nitrous oxide, for pain management during labor.

Dr. Patchen also directs overall program implementation, management and service delivery for the Center for Adolescent Women and the TAPP Program. Current programming initiatives for this center include strategies to prevent sexually transmitted infection and re-infection, improve reproductive and sexual health decision-making, and promote the use of dual-method contraception among teens.

Dr. Patchen has published several articles on adolescent reproductive and sexual health in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Pediatric & Adolescent Gynecology; MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing; and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. She is frequently invited to speak at professional meetings, presenting topics ranging from sexually transmitted infections to the continuum of adolescent development. She is board certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives, and she is fluent in Spanish as well as English. Her experience prior to joining MedStar Health includes service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras and as a consultant for the World Bank.

Dr. Patchen earned her PhD in Public Health Sciences in the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, where she also earned a master’s degree in International Economics (Community Health). She has an additional master’s degree in Nursing for Midwifery from Yale University.

Research Interests

Dr. Patchen’s research interests include

  • Obesity and childbearing
  • Infant feeding practices
  • Interventional research
  • Mobile health interventions and technologies
  • Adolescent and reproductive health
  • Family planning
  • Prevention of sexually transmitted infections.

Selected Research

Educating Adolescents About Sexual Health

Dr. Patchen is serving as a co-principal investigator on the development of an interactive, theory-driven, mobile technology-based sexual and reproductive health game. This innovative tool is being designed to help adolescents and young adults understand the consequences of their behaviors and motivate them to adopt positive sexual health practices.

Community Child Health Network

Dr. Patchen serves as a co-principal investigator for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)-sponsored Community Child Health Network. This five-site national network was established to gain insight into the reasons for disparities in maternal health and child development.

Adolescent Family Life Demonstration Project: Parent-Child Connectedness

Dr. Patchen was the principal investigator for this five-year project designed to develop and test an enhanced care intervention using video home training for pregnant/parenting adolescents and their adult parent(s). This project was conducted primarily in African American and Latino communities with high rates of teen pregnancy, infant mortality, poverty and violence in the District of Columbia. Goals for this project included improving parent-child connectedness, reducing subsequent pregnancy, increasing high school graduation rates among the teen mothers, increasing completion of well-baby visits and immunizations, and improving parenting skills.

View Dr. Patchen's publications on PubMed.

  • Research Areas
  • Maternal-Fetal/Women’s Health