Margaret V. Austin, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist with a master’s degree in psychology from Tennessee State University, as well as a master’s degree and a doctorate in clinical psychology from California School of Professional Psychology. Her varied career includes a focus on children, family dynamics, cultural issues and healthy lifestyles.
Her early career focused on providing direct clinical services regarding a variety of issues to children and their families. She quickly developed an interest in teaching others and began supervising clinical staff and graduate students regarding their therapeutic work with children and families. She became the Director of Behavioral Health at an Indian Health Clinic in Montana in 1993. During her tenure, she worked closely with the adjunct hospital staff regarding various children’s health issues, including significant work with eating disordered clients. She coordinated the Child Abuse Protection Team at the reservation for much of her time there. Despite these roles, her primary focus was on developing a Children’s Mental Health Program for the reservation. She designed and successfully implemented this program during her years at the Reservation. The Children’s Mental Health Department had earned continued funding prior to her departure and she was able to hire a replacement to maintain the new program and to pursue additional mental health services for Indian children on the reservation.
Dr. Austin moved on to take the position of Assistant Director of Behavioral Health in a rural California county. In this role, she was responsible for supervising the clinical work of numerous mental health professionals and designed several programs with the goal of providing more effective clinical services to the county population, many of whom were children. She was also the coordinator of the Special Multi-Agency Resource Team whose task was to identify children at risk of out-of-home placement and design a package of treatment services to improve the child’s ability to remain in the community.
Dr. Austin left this position after several years in order to spend more time with her young son and to focus on a new business she had founded with her husband. The original focus of O.M.S. was the development of technology products for the mental health community. Although the orientation of O.M.S. has shifted away from a narrow focus on the mental health community over the years, technology and its use as a tool to aid people in their daily lives has continued to be a central concern.
Dr. Austin has remained active in the mental health field through positions as the Research Director and a Core Faculty Member at San Diego University for Integrative Studies. In addition to teaching, her professional focus is on writing about mental health issues for both the general public and the professional community. Dr. Austin’s special areas of interest are Violence Prevention, the Impact of Media on Child and Youth Development, and the behavior of people on the Internet, including how much time is spent on what kinds of activities. She is currently researching how the Internet can influence people’s lives, developing tools to facilitate the ease of technology use and examining how people might successfully integrate technology into their everyday lives and balance its use. More information on her current projects can be found at www.omsweb.com.