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Robin Gurwitch, PhD

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

Dr. Robin Gurwitch, a faculty member 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 recently appointed to the 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 since it began in 2001.  

Education and Training

  • Ph.D., University of Alabama Birmingham, 1988


Raczynski, J. M., D. J. Wiebe, J. B. Milby, and R. H. Gurwitch. “Behavioral assessment of narcotic detoxification fear.” Addict Behav 13, no. 2 (1988): 165–69.

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Smith, K. E., S. Gotlieb, R. H. Gurwitch, and A. D. Blotcky. “Impact of a summer camp experience on daily activity and family interactions among children with cancer.” J Pediatr Psychol 12, no. 4 (December 1987): 533–42.

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Milby, J. B., R. H. Gurwitch, A. A. Hohmann, D. J. Wiebe, W. Ling, A. T. McLellan, and G. E. Woody. “Assessing pathological detoxification fear among methadone maintenance patients: the DFSS.” J Clin Psychol 43, no. 5 (September 1987): 528–38.<528::aid-jclp2270430517>;2-2.

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McCallum, D. M., R. McCallum, and R. H. Gurwitch. “Dimensions of interpersonal events: Reward value and information value.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 23, no. 4 (January 1, 1987): 316–30.

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Milby, J. B., R. H. Gurwitch, D. J. Wiebe, W. Ling, A. T. McLellan, and G. E. Woody. “Prevalence and diagnostic reliability of methadone maintenance detoxification fear.” Am J Psychiatry 143, no. 6 (June 1986): 739–43.

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McCallum, D. M., R. McCallum, R. H. Gurwitch, and M. Joyce. “Assessing perceptions of dental health behavior.” Clin Prev Dent 8, no. 2 (March 1986): 27–30.


Blotcky, A. D., J. M. Raczynski, R. Gurwitch, and K. Smith. “Family influences on hopelessness among children early in the cancer experience.” J Pediatr Psychol 10, no. 4 (December 1985): 479–93.

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