Karestan Koenen
Primary Faculty

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

Utility of Wrist-Wearable Data for Assessing Pain, Sleep, and Anxiety Outcomes After Traumatic Stress Exposure.

Straus LD, An X, Ji Y, McLean SA, Neylan TC, Cakmak AS, Richards A, Clifford GD, Liu M, Zeng D, House SL, Beaudoin FL, Stevens JS, Linnstaedt SD, Germine LT, Bollen KA, Rauch SL, Haran JP, Storrow AB, Lewandowski C, Musey PI, Hendry PL, Sheikh S, Jones CW, Punches BE, Kurz MC, Swor RA, Hudak LA, Seamon MJ, Datner EM, Chang AM, Pearson C, Peak DA, Merchant RC, Domeier RM, Rathlev NK, O'Neil BJ, Sergot P, Sanchez LD, Bruce SE, Miller MW, Pietrzak RH, Joormann J, Barch DM, Pizzagalli DA, Sheridan JF, Harte SE, Elliott JM, Kessler RC, Ressler KJ, Koenen KC.

JAMA Psychiatry. 2023 Jan 11. PMID: 36630119

Childhood adversities and risk of posttraumatic stress disorder and major depression following a motor vehicle collision in adulthood.

Ziobrowski HN, Holt-Gosselin B, Petukhova MV, King AJ, Lee S, House SL, Beaudoin FL, An X, Stevens JS, Zeng D, Neylan TC, Clifford GD, Linnstaedt SD, Germine LT, Bollen KA, Rauch SL, Haran JP, Storrow AB, Lewandowski C, Musey PI, Hendry PL, Sheikh S, Jones CW, Punches BE, Kurz MC, Swor RA, Hudak LA, Pascual JL, Seamon MJ, Harris E, Pearson C, Merchant RC, Domeier RM, Rathlev NK, O'Neil BJ, Sergot P, Sanchez LD, Bruce SE, Miller MW, Pietrzak RH, Joormann J, Barch DM, Pizzagalli DA, Harte SE, Elliott JM, Ressler KJ, McLean SA, Koenen KC, Kessler RC.

Epidemiol Psychiatr Sci. 2023 Jan 10. 32:e1. PMID: 36624694

Use of serial smartphone-based assessments to characterize diverse neuropsychiatric symptom trajectories in a large trauma survivor cohort.

Beaudoin FL, An X, Basu A, Ji Y, Liu M, Kessler RC, Doughtery RF, Zeng D, Bollen KA, House SL, 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, Kurz MC, Swor RA, Murty VP, McGrath ME, Hudak LA, Pascual JL, Datner EM, Chang AM, Pearson C, Peak DA, Merchant RC, Domeier RM, Rathlev NK, Neil BJO, Sergot P, Sanchez LD, Bruce SE, Baker JT, Joormann J, Miller MW, Pietrzak RH, Barch DM, Pizzagalli DA, Sheridan JF, Smoller JW, Harte SE, Elliott JM, Koenen KC, Ressler KJ, McLean SA.

Transl Psychiatry. 2023 Jan 07. 13(1):4. PMID: 36609484

Derivation and Validation of a Brief Emergency Department-Based Prediction Tool for Posttraumatic Stress After Motor Vehicle Collision.

Jones CW, An X, Ji Y, Liu M, Zeng D, House SL, Beaudoin FL, Stevens JS, Neylan TC, Clifford GD, Jovanovic T, Linnstaedt SD, Germine LT, Bollen KA, Rauch SL, Haran JP, Storrow AB, Lewandowski C, Musey PI, Hendry PL, Sheikh S, Punches BE, Lyons MS, Kurz MC, Swor RA, McGrath ME, Hudak LA, Pascual JL, Seamon MJ, Datner EM, Harris E, Chang AM, Pearson C, Peak DA, Merchant RC, Domeier RM, Rathlev NK, O'Neil BJ, Sergot P, Sanchez LD, Bruce SE, Miller MW, Pietrzak RH, Joormann J, Barch DM, Pizzagalli DA, Sheridan JF, Smoller JW, Harte SE, Elliott JM, Koenen KC, Ressler KJ, Kessler RC, McLean SA.

Ann Emerg Med. 2022 Oct 31. PMID: 36328855


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