Dr. Joy Osofsky’s achievements were recently acknowledged by the Louisiana Psychological Association when they named her the recipient of the Award for Contributions in Psychological Science.
Dr. Osofsky, clinical and develop-mental psychologist, is the Ramsay Endowed Chair and Barbara Lemann Professor of Child Welfare at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans where she is director of the Harris Center for Infant Mental Health.
She has published widely and authored or edited numerous books on trauma in the lives of children. She has established an international reputation has an expert
in this area and recently testified at a congressional panel. Currently, with three colleagues, she is editing the WAIMH Handbook of Infant and Early Childhood Development.
Dr. Osofsky is also Past President of Zero to Three and of the World Association for Infant Mental Health. She currently serves on the Board of Zero to Three. She has served as Co-Principal Investigator of four Centers within the National Child Traumatic Stress Network since 2003. She is currently President Elect of Division 7(Developmental) for American Psychological Association.
The Louisiana Association spokesperson, Dr. Amanda Raines, said, “Dr. Osofsky is a Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry with the LSU Health Sciences Center and the Paul J. Ramsay Chair. She is an internationally recognized expert in infant and child mental health. Dr. Osofsky has published hundreds of peer-reviewed manuscripts, books, and book chapters and received support for her work through various agencies.”
The nominating individual said, “Dr. Osofsky’s decades-long career embodies the heart of excellence in bringing the science of psychology to the benefit of others, through applications, education, writing and scientific investigation. She is a clinical psychologist, professor, author, researcher, and she brings her integrative thinking to the education of tomorrow’s leaders and innovators. She exemplifies what it means to advance psychology for the benefit of the larger society.”
In 2007, Dr. Osofsky received the Sarah Haley Award for Clinical Excellence in work
with trauma by the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. In 2010 she was recognized with the Lourie Award for leadership and outstanding contributions to the health and welfare of children and families. In 2020, she was awarded the Translational Research Award from the International Congress on Infant Studies and in 2021 she received the Zero To Three Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Osofsky has been recognized many other times for her contributions. These include Honorary President Distinction, World Association for Infant Mental Health; Presidential Commendation from the American Psychiatric Association for leadership in mental health recovery following Hurricane Katrina; the Nicholas Hobbs Award by Division 37 of the American Psychological Association for contributions to public policy; the Medal of Honor by the Mayor of New Orleans; the 2000 Role Model by Young Leadership Council, New Orleans; Best social science reference text, American Publishers Association for the WAIMH Handbook of Infant Mental Health (four volumes), as just a few examples.
Dr. Osofsky serves as Clinical Consultant, Safe Babies Court Teams, Zero to Three, in Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia,Arkansas, Connecticut, Nebraska, Iowa, New York, Cherokee, NC. She is the Past-President, Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families and Member of Executive Committee of Zero to Three (2000-2007); Member of Board of Directors (1986-present); Member Committee on the Board (2006-present); Program Chair, National Training Institute (2009-present).
The Times asked her what she feels are her most significant contributions.
“I have contributed over many years to recognizing the importance of understanding of the effects of trauma on children and on their families, and says to help them recover and gain resilience,” she said. This includes contributing to an understanding of preparation, response and recovery following major disasters including recently the intersection and inequities related to the COVID-19 pandemic, she explained.
“I have developed one of the few programs in the country offering training to psychology interns and postdoctoral fellows and child psychiatry fellows in infant and early childhood mental health including training in evidence based clinical practice for young children under the age of six years,” Dr. Osofsky said.
Her work has been acknowledged through numerous grants including:
Louisiana Association of United Ways/Red Cross funding for Family Resiliency Project, Co-Project Director with Howard J. Osofsky, M.D., Ph.D., 2008-2009, $554,246;
Louisiana Rural Trauma Services Center Substance Abuse Mental Health Administration. Principal Investigator, Center in National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 2008-2012, $1,999,000 (50% time);
Mental and Behavioral Health Capacity Project for the Gulf Region Health Outreach Program, Funded as part of the Medical Settlement following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Co-Director, 2012-2017, $14,400,00 (80% time);
Terrorism and Disaster Coalition for Child and Family Resilience, National Child Traumatic Stress Network, Co-Principal Investigator, 2016-2022, $1999,000 (50% time); and
Harris Foundation funding for Prenatal and Perinatal Behavioral Support for Maternal and Infant Well-Being, (MIST Program). CoPrincipal Investigator, 2017- 2024. $630,000, 20% time.
Examples of her extensive publications include:
Osofsky, H.J., Osofsky, J.D., Hansel, T.C., Lawrason, B., & Speier, A. (2018). “Building
resilience after disasters through the Youth Leadership Program: The importance of community and academic partnerships on youth outcomes.” Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action, 12. Special Issue, 11-21.
Weems, C. F., Osofsky, J. D., Osofsky, H. J., King, L. S., Hansel, T. C., & Russell, J. D. (2018). Three-year longitudinal study of perceptions of competence and well-being among youth exposed to disasters.” Applied Developmental Science, 22(1), 29–42.
Osofsky, J.D. & Osofsky, H.J. (2018). “Challenges in building child and family resilience after disasters.” Family Social Work, 21,115-128.
Osofsky, J.D. and Osofsky, H.J. (2020). “Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Oil Spill: Lessons Learned about Short and Long-term Effects.” International Journal of Psychology.
Osofsky, J.D., Osofsky, H.D., Mamon, L.Y. (2020). “Psychological and social impact of COVID-19.” Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy.
Osofsky, J.D. & Osofsky, H.J. (October 2022, in preparation). “The importance of building regional coalitions to support resilience for children and families in response to disasters and violence.”
Osofsky, J.D., Osofsky, H.J., Frazer, A., Olivieri, M., Many, M., Selby, M., Holman, S., & Conrad, E. (February-March, 2021). “The importance of ACEs in an intervention program during the perinatal period.” American Psychologist, 76.
She has produced over 70 books and book chapters and hundreds of scientific presentations, invited presentations and seminars. Her works include:
Osofsky, J.D. (Ed) (2011) Clinical Work with Traumatized Young Children. New York: Guilford Publishers.
Thomas, K. & Osofsky, J.D (Eds) (2012). Emerging Issues in Infant Mental Health. Zero to Three Journal., Washington, DC.
Osofsky, J.D., Cohen, C., Huddleston, J., Hudson, L., Zavora, K., Lewis, M. (March, 2017). Questions Every Judge and Lawyer Should Ask About Infants and Toddlers in the Child Welfare System (Update). Reno, NV: National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.
Osofsky, J.D., Stepka, P., & King, L.C. (2017). Treating Infants and Young Children Impacted by Trauma: Interventions That Promote Healthy Development. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Osofsky, J.D., Fitzgerald, H., Keren, M., Puura, K. (Eds) (2021, in preparation). WAIMH Handbook of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, Two Volumes, Springer Publishers.
Invited Plenary, “Lessons learned from children exposed to trauma.” Early Intervention and Education Meeting, St. Petersburg, Russia, July, 2013
Invited Conference, “Trauma through the Eyes of a Young Child,” Hong Kong Infant Mental Health Association, Hong Kong, March 2017.
Invited Master Lecture: “Recognizing the Effects of Trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences during the Perinatal Period,” World Association for Infant Mental Health, Brisbane Australia Virtual June 2021
Legacy Interview: “How to Heal Childhood Trauma,” MindinMind, UK, October 2022
What are her plans for the future?
“Currently, I continue to provide training and supervision in infant and early childhood mental health,” Dr. Osofsky said. “I initiated 4 years ago and am director of a support program with several excellent LSUHSC faculty that also has an evaluation component – Mother-Infant Support Team (MIST) for high-risk pregnant mothers at University Medical Center.”
She said she will continue to do presentations, virtually and in person, on the effects of trauma on children and families and ways to support resilience, including components related to inequities, in the United States and internationally.
“I also do presentations on the impact of vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue when working with trauma and how to provide support for providers,” she said.
“I am working as lead editor with three colleagues, two of whom are international, on the two volume World Association for Infant Mental Health Handbook on Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health which will go to press at the end of September 2023.”