Karestan Koenen
Professor

Karestan Koenen

Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology

Epidemiology

kkoenen@hsph.harvard.edu

Other Positions

Faculty Affiliate in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


Overview

Karestan C. Koenen, PhD aims to reduce the population burden of mental disorders through research, training, and advocacy. She is passionate about using science to overcome violence and trauma, which are major preventable causes of health problems globally.

Research
Dr. Koenen's research focus is three-fold. First, she studies why some people develop PTSD and related mental and physical health problems and why some people are resilient when exposed to similar traumatic events. Dr. Koenen is a co-principal investigator on the NIMH-funded AURORA study, led by Dr. Samuel McLean with Drs. Ronald Kessler and Kerry Ressler. Dr. Koenen also co-leads the PTSD working group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, which aims to identify genetic variants that increase risk and resilience following trauma exposure. Second, she investigates how violence, trauma, and PTSD alter long-term physical health and accelerate aging. Much of this work is done in collaboration with the Nurses' Health Study. Third, she aims to expand access to evidence-based mental health treatment for survivors of violence and trauma. To this end, she co-wrote the book, Treating Survivors of Childhood Abuse: Psychotherapy for the Interrupted Life with Drs. Marylene Cloitre and Lisa Cohen.

Training
Dr. Koenen leads the NIMH-funded Training Program in Psychiatric Epidemiology and Biostatistics (T32) and the Interdisciplinary Concentration in Population Mental Health. She also advises masters and doctoral degree students in the Departments of Epidemiology and Social Behavioral Sciences. In addition, Dr. Koenen leads the Trauma Epidemiology and Population Mental Health Research Group for her students and post-doctoral fellows. The group is primarily a forum for trainees and junior investigators to present and receive feedback on work-in-progress, but also includes presentations on advanced research methodology and career development.

Advocacy
Dr. Koenen advocates for survivors of violence and trauma. In May 2011, Dr. Koenen testified before the House Foreign Affairs Full Committee about the epidemic of sexual violence and victim blaming culture of the Peace Corps. She has written for the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and the Women's Media Center's Women Under Siege Project, which investigates how rape and other forms of sexualized violence are used as tools in conflict. Dr. Koenen also consulted on the documentary, It Happened Here, which examined the epidemic of sexual assault on university campuses. In addition, Dr. Koenen speaks to lay audiences about the latest scientific findings around violence and trauma.


Bibliography

Development and Validation of a Model to Predict Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Major Depression After a Motor Vehicle Collision.

Ziobrowski HN, Kennedy CJ, Ustun B, House SL, Beaudoin FL, An X, Zeng D, Bollen KA, Petukhova M, Sampson NA, Puac-Polanco V, Lee S, Koenen KC, Ressler KJ, McLean SA, Kessler RC, Stevens JS, Neylan TC, Clifford GD, Jovanovic T, Linnstaedt SD, Germine LT, Rauch SL, Haran JP, Storrow AB, Lewandowski C, Musey PI, Hendry PL, Sheikh S, Jones CW, Punches BE, Lyons MS, Murty VP, McGrath ME, Pascual JL, Seamon MJ, Datner EM, Chang AM, Pearson C, Peak DA, Jambaulikar G, Merchant RC, Domeier RM, Rathlev NK, O'Neil BJ, Sergot P, Sanchez LD, Bruce SE, Pietrzak RH, Joormann J, Barch DM, Pizzagalli DA, Sheridan JF, Harte SE, Elliott JM, van Rooij SJH.

JAMA Psychiatry. 2021 Sep 01. PMID: 34468741

A prospective examination of sex differences in posttraumatic autonomic functioning.

Seligowski AV, Steuber ER, Hinrichs R, Reda MH, Wiltshire CN, Wanna CP, Winters SJ, Phillips KA, House SL, Beaudoin FL, An X, Stevens JS, Zeng D, Neylan TC, Clifford GD, Linnstaedt SD, Germine LT, Bollen KA, Guffanti G, Rauch SL, Haran JP, Storrow AB, Lewandowski C, Musey PI, Hendry PL, Sheikh S, Jones CW, Punches BE, Kurz MC, Murty VP, McGrath ME, Hudak LA, Pascual JL, Seamon MJ, Datner EM, Chang AM, Pearson C, Peak DA, Merchant RC, Domeier RM, Rathlev NK, O'Neil BJ, Sanchez LD, Bruce SE, Miller MW, Pietrzak RH, Joormann J, Barch DM, Pizzagalli DA, Sheridan JF, Luna B, Harte SE, Elliott JM, Koenen KC, Kessler RC, McLean SA, Ressler KJ, Jovanovic T.

Neurobiol Stress. 2021 Nov. 15:100384. PMID: 34485632

Classification and Prediction of Post-Trauma Outcomes Related to PTSD Using Circadian Rhythm Changes Measured via Wrist-Worn Research Watch in a Large Longitudinal Cohort.

Cakmak AS, Alday EAP, Da Poian G, Rad AB, Metzler TJ, Neylan TC, House SL, Beaudoin FL, An X, Stevens JS, Zeng D, Linnstaedt SD, Jovanovic T, Germine LT, Bollen KA, Rauch SL, Lewandowski CA, Hendry PL, Sheikh S, Storrow AB, Musey PI, Haran JP, Jones CW, Punches BE, Swor RA, Gentile NT, McGrath ME, Seamon MJ, Mohiuddin K, Chang AM, Pearson C, Domeier RM, Bruce SE, O'Neil BJ, Rathlev NK, Sanchez LD, Pietrzak RH, Joormann J, Barch DM, Pizzagalli DA, Harte SE, Elliott JM, Kessler RC, Koenen KC, Ressler KJ, Mclean SA, Li Q, Clifford GD.

IEEE J Biomed Health Inform. 2021 08. 25(8):2866-2876. PMID: 33481725

Thalamic volume and fear extinction interact to predict acute posttraumatic stress severity.

Steuber ER, Seligowski AV, Roeckner AR, Reda M, Lebois LAM, van Rooij SJH, Murty VP, Ely TD, Bruce SE, House SL, Beaudoin FL, An X, Zeng D, Neylan TC, Clifford GD, Linnstaedt SD, Germine LT, Rauch SL, Lewandowski C, Sheikh S, Jones CW, Punches BE, Swor RA, McGrath ME, Hudak LA, Pascual JL, Chang AM, Pearson C, Peak DA, Domeier RM, O'Neil BJ, Rathlev NK, Sanchez LD, Pietrzak RH, Joormann J, Barch DM, Pizzagalli DA, Elliott JM, Kessler RC, Koenen KC, McLean SA, Ressler KJ, Jovanovic T, Harnett NG, Stevens JS.

J Psychiatr Res. 2021 09. 141:325-332. PMID: 34304036


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