Eminent Harvard psychologist selected to lead The Ballmer Institute

January 31, 2023

Dear University of Oregon community members, 

We are thrilled to announce that Katie McLaughlin, a clinical psychologist and professor from Harvard University, has been selected to lead The Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health. As executive director, Dr. McLaughlin will lead efforts to create a new national model of mental and behavioral health care for youth at the Ballmer Institute located at the UO’s new northeast Portland campus. 

Dr. McLaughlin currently directs the Stress and Development Laboratory at Harvard University and is a professor of psychology. Her leadership, training, and clinical experience are perfectly aligned with the Ballmer Institute’s goal of innovating through partnerships in research, educational endeavors, and community outreach. 

One of the most consequential and influential psychologists working in child behavioral health right now, she demonstrates a strong passion for developing cutting-edge strategies to support the well-being of young people and their families. Her expertise will allow the university to rapidly move the Ballmer Institute model—to be perfected in Oregon—to benefit the rest of the country. 

Dr. McLaughlin’s research examines how adverse environmental experiences shape emotional, cognitive, and neurobiological development in ways that contribute to the emergence of psychopathology in children and adolescents and translates that knowledge into interventions aimed at preventing the onset of youth mental health problems. Her work has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and numerous other prestigious foundations. She has received awards from the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, the Jacobs Foundation, and the American Psychological Association. She earned PhDs in both clinical psychology, and epidemiology and public health from Yale. 

We are very grateful to Dr. Randy Kamphaus, who has served as acting executive director of the Ballmer Institute since its launch in March 2022 thanks to a $425 million gift from Steve and Connie Ballmer. During that time, he established the institute’s infrastructure and recruited outstanding faculty and staff. Under his leadership, the UO received formal approval by the State of Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission to create a novel BA/BS degree program in Child Behavioral Health, the first undergraduate behavioral health degree program of its kind in the United States. Randy will continue to serve in an ongoing role in the Ballmer Institute through community and partner engagement, as well as supporting the leadership transition. 

Dr. McLaughlin will begin her tenure in August. Please join us in welcoming Katie to the University of Oregon. To learn more, please see the announcement on the Ballmer Institute website


Patrick Phillips 

Interim President and Professor of Biology 


Janet Woodruff-Borden 

Acting Provost and Executive Vice President 

Professor of Psychology