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Robin Gurwitch

Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Psychiatry, Child & Family Mental Health & Community Psychiatry


Dr. Robin Gurwitch, a professor in the Duke University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Center for Child and Family Health, is a recognized expert in understanding and supporting children in the aftermath of trauma and disasters. She received her doctorate in Clinical/Medical Psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, completed her internship in Pediatric Psychology at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago and completed a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychology at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

Since the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, Dr. Gurwitch has focused much of her clinical work, training and research on improving the outcomes and increasing resilience in children who have experienced trauma or crisis events, including terrorism, natural disasters and stressors related to military deployment. She has served on state and national committees and task forces including the National Commission on Children and Disasters Subcommittee on Human Services Recovery and served as a subject-matter expert in the area of at-risk populations for the Disaster Mental Health Subcommittee of the National Bio-Defense Science Board for the Pediatric Preparedness and Response in Public Health Emergencies and Disasters for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (DHHS/ASPR). She is a member of the American Psychological Association’s Disaster Response Network and provides expertise on children and disasters/terrorism for the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). She was a member of the inaugural HHS National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters.

A prolific writer and educator, Dr. Gurwitch has co-authored book chapters, scientific journal articles and public education materials on the topics of trauma, resilience, psychological first aid, terrorism, disasters and preparedness. She authored a trauma treatment manual for use following disasters for children and adolescents. Dr. Gurwitch regularly presents on topics related to her specialty area at regional, national and international conferences. An active volunteer of the American Red Cross, she worked with the American Red Cross to develop materials related to terrorism and disaster for use in disaster mental health training courses and for use in schools.

A caring clinician, Dr. Gurwitch has been involved in direct care following national and international disasters.  She has been an active member of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) since it began in 2001. She currently is the Co-PI for the NCTSN grant, NEW DAY (Network for Enhancing Wellness in Disaster Affected Youth. Dr. Gurwitch serves as a Senior Advisor for the National Center of Child Traumatic Stress' Terrorism and Disaster Program of the NCTSN. 

Dr. Gurwitch also serves as the Director of the PCIT & CARE Training Program at the Center for Child & Family Health. She is one of only 22 Global Trainers in Parent Child Interaction Therapy, certified by PCIT International. She has led the national efforts for PCIT adaptations for military families and for PCIT with children who have experienced trauma. She is a co-developer of CARE (Child Adult Relationship Enhancement), again leading efforts for military and classroom adaptations. She has published and presented extensively across the United States and Internationally on issues related to PCIT & CARE. 

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences · 2021 - Present Psychiatry, Child & Family Mental Health & Community Psychiatry, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Affiliate of the Center for Child and Family Policy · 2023 - Present Center for Child and Family Policy, Sanford School of Public Policy

Education, Training & Certifications

University of Alabama, Birmingham · 1988 Ph.D.