Betancourt, Theresa

Position: Assistant Professor of Child Health and Human Rights at Harvard University

Director of the Research Program on Children and Global Adversity (RPCGA)

Background: Theresa S. Betancourt is Director of the Research Program on Children and Global Adversity (RPCGA) and Assistant Professor of Child Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). Her central research interests include:

  • the developmental and psychosocial consequences of concentrated adversity on children and families;
  • resilience and protective processes in child development;
  • child health and human rights; and
  • applied cross-cultural mental health research.

Dr. Betancourt is the Principal Investigator of an ongoing longitudinal study of former child soldiers in Sierra Leone and is currently collaborating with Partners in Health Rwanda to launch a mixed-methods study of mental health needs among HIV/AIDS-affected youth. Recently she served as the Co-PI of a randomized-controlled trial of interventions for the treatment of depression symptoms in youth displaced by war in northern Uganda.

Her prior research includes a study of the psychosocial dimensions of an emergency education program serving internally-displaced Chechen youth, an investigation of the relationship between connectedness, social support and emotional problems in Chechen IDP youth and a study of the relationship between caregiver and child mental health among Eritrean Kunama refugees living on the Ethiopia-Eritrea border. She is also collaborating with local child protection NGOs in Sierra Leone to develop a policy initiative designed to improve child welfare and social services for war-affected youth in that country.

Dr. Betancourt graduated summa cum laude in psychology from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon and holds a Master in Art Therapy from the University of Louisville. She completed her doctoral work in Maternal and Child Health with concentrations in Psychiatric Epidemiology and Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Contact Information:

[email protected]

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