Karen O’Donnell, PhD


Dr. Karen O’Donnell is Associate Professor (retired), Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Duke University Medical Center and Director of Prevention and Global Initiatives at the Center for Child and Family Health (also retired). She is a Senior Research Fellow at Duke Global Health Initiative. She received her graduate training in special education (M.Ed.) and clinical psychology (Ph.D.) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed post-doctoral study in Early Childhood at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle. She has been a Licensed Practicing Psychologist in North Carolina since 1988. Her expertise focuses on infant and early childhood and development, traumatic stress, parenting, maternal mental health and treatment, the effects of in utero cocaine and HIV exposure on early development, and child and family assessment. Dr. O’Donnell is the lead author on the PEPFAR funded Child Status Index (CSI), now used to assess orphans and other vulnerable children in over 16 resource poor countries; the CSI provided the model for the Family Support Matrix, used in the Family Connects program. She continues to be an active participant in the implementation of the universal short-term home visiting program for newborns and their families, Family Connects, and its national dissemination.

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