Joan Kaufman, Ph.D.'s picture
Director of Research at the Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress
Phone: 443-923-5953

1741 Ashland Avenue, Room 434
Baltimore, MD 21205
United States

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Joan Kaufman, Ph.D. is Director of Research at the Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress at Kennedy Krieger Institute.  She also holds appointments in the Department of Psychiatry and the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins.

Joan Kaufman, PhD, Director of Research, Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Professor of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.


Dr. Kaufman received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Yale University where she served on faculty in the Department of Psychiatry from 1998-2015.  In 2015 she was recruited to Baltimore to serve as Director of Research at the Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress at Kennedy Krieger Institute.  She also holds an appointment as a Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and in the division of Mental Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  Dr. Kaufman’s research is in the area of child abuse and neglect, spans from neurobiology to social policy, and uses tools from psychology, genetics, and neuroscience to understand resilience and mechanisms of disease risk associated with early adversity. She has received consistent funding from the National Institute of Health for her research, and has published over 100 peer-reviewed professional articles and book chapters.  She also authored the book Broken Three Times: A Story of Child Abuse in America (Oxford University Press;, which is a narrative non-fiction story that follows one family through the child welfare system, with each chapter providing launching points for discussing state-of-the-art policy, practice, and scientific updates.   Dr. Kaufman is also first author on paper-and-pencil KSADS child psychiatric diagnostic interview which has been translated into more than 30 languages, and served as co-Principal Investigator on the grants funded to update the KSADS to a web-based computer-administered format.  As one of the principal developers of the KSADS, Dr. Kaufman has served as a consultant on numerous federally-funded and industry-sponsored child psychiatric clinical trials.

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Google Scholar Profile


Dr. Kaufman’s research focuses on two areas of investigation:

1) Research on risk and resilience in maltreated children; and 2) Child psychiatric assessment and studies in support of the National Institute of Mental Health’s Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) initiative which aims to develop the necessary database to derive a new psychiatric nomenclature informed by neuroscience, genetics, and psychology.  

These two lines of research are synergistic and interrelated, with the study of maltreated individuals having a number of advantages for the RDoC project, including: the study of a subset of patients that are frequently treatment resistant to standard clinical interventions; examination of a relatively homogenous sample with the onset of psychopathology proposed to be associated with stress-related mechanisms; and well-established relevant animal models to facilitate translational research.  

Our investigations utilize clinical assessment, neuroimaging (e.g., structural, fMRI fear conditioning paradigm, resting state connectivity), and genetics (e.g., polymorphisms, epigenetic markers) research methods, with the goal of understanding the effects of early adversity on later development and factors that modify outcomes. Our program of research with maltreated children is broad, with a focus that spans from neurobiology to social policy.

KSADS - Child Psychiatric Diagnostic Interview

DSM-5 Paper and Pencil KSADS:

K-SADS-PL DSM-5 Screener 
Supplement #1: Depressive and Bipolar Related Disorders Supplement
Supplement #2: Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders Supplement
Supplement #3: Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive, and Trauma-Related Disorders
Supplement #4: Neurodevelopmental, Disruptive, and Conduct Disorders Supplement
Supplement #5: Eating Disorders and Substance-Related Disorders Supplement
Foreign Translations

Web-Based Versions of the KSADS: We have developed three web-based KSADS assessment tools: 1) a teen self-report computerized KSADS; 2) a parent report self-administered computerized KSADS; and 3) a clinician-administered computerized KSADS.  For more information about these tools, email

Current Funded Grants Include:

NIMH   RO1 MH098073                                    09/01/2012 – 08/30/2017               

“Risk and Resiliency in Maltreated Children”
This grant incorporates clinical, neuroimaging, and epigenetic research methods to examine risk and resilience in maltreated children.  The grant is part of the NIMH’s Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) program, an initiative that aims to further the long-range goal of developing a new psychiatric nomenclature informed by genetics, neuroscience, and psychology.
Role:  PI

NIMH    R44 MH094092                                    04/01/2014 – 03/31/2018

“Computerized Screening for Comorbidity in Adolescents with Substance and Psychiatric Disorders”
This grant will develop self-, parent- and clinician-administered computerized assessment programs to assess DSM-5 diagnoses and neurocognitive tasks that map on to the domains included in the NIMH’s Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) initiative which aims to develop the necessary database to derive a new psychiatric nomenclature informed by neuroscience, genes, and psychology.  This tool will provide a bridge between DSM and RDoC diagnostic perspectives.
Role:  PI

NIMH R21 DA038756-01                                  4/1/15-3/31/17

“A GEWIS Study of Smoking, Hazardous Drinking, and Other Health Risk Behaviors”
Early adversity and stress later in life are common experiences that are associated with highly prevalent health risk behaviors (e.g., smoking, hazardous drinking, obesity), with each of these health risk behaviors associated with increased incidence of a broad range of medical and other problems.  The goal of this project is to understand the genetic factors that interact with stress to confer risk for these problems by conducting gene-environment wide interaction secondary analyses of data collected as part of the Army STARRS project.
Role:  PI

Research Publication

Montalvo-Ortiz JL, Bordner KA, Carlyle BC, Gelernter J, Simen AA, Kaufman J (2016). The Role of Genes Involved in Stress, Neural Plasticity, and Brain Circuitry in Depressive Phenotypes: Convergent findings in a Mouse Model of Neglect. Behav Brain Res. ,.

Montalvo-Ortiz JL, Gelernter J, Hudziak J, Kaufman J (2016). RDoC and translational perspectives on the genetics of trauma-related psychiatric disorders. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 171B(1), 81-91.

Kaufman J, Gelernter J, Hudziak JJ, Tyrka AR, Coplan JD (2015). The Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) Project and Studies of Risk and Resilience in Maltreated Children. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 54(8), 617-25.

Turecki G, Ota VK, Belangero SI, Jackowski A, Kaufman J (2014). Early life adversity, genomic plasticity, and psychopathology. Lancet Psychiatry. 1(6), 461-6.

Weder N, Zhang H, Jensen K, Yang BZ, Simen A, Jackowski A, Lipschitz D, Douglas-Palumberi H, Ge M, Perepletchikova F, O'Loughlin K, Hudziak JJ, Gelernter J, Kaufman J(2014). Child abuse, depression, and methylation in genes involved with stress, neural plasticity, and brain circuitry. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 53(4), 417-24.e5.

Yang BZ, Zhang H, Ge W, Weder N, Douglas-Palumberi H, Perepletchikova F, Gelernter J, Kaufman J (2013). Child abuse and epigenetic mechanisms of disease risk. Am J Prev Med. 44(2), 101-7.

Weder N, Kaufman J (2011). Critical periods revisited: implications for intervention with traumatized children. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 50(11), 1087-9.

Kaufman J, Yang BZ, Douglas-Palumberi H, Houshyar S, Lipschitz D, Krystal JH, Gelernter J(2004). Social supports and serotonin transporter gene moderate depression in maltreated children. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 101(49), 17316-21.

Kaufman J, Plotsky PM, Nemeroff CB, Charney DS (2000). Effects of early adverse experiences on brain structure and function: clinical implications. Biol Psychiatry. 48(8), 778-90.