Mclean Hospital

Center of Excellence in Women’s Mental Health

The mission of McLean’s Center of Excellence in Women’s Mental Health is to innovate and improve mental health care for all women and girls throughout their lives.

The need for novel, evidence-based care that addresses the specific mental health needs of girls and women is profound. The center is a national leader in this emerging field and is conducting and sharing research across McLean and around the globe. We also provide new models of clinical care, education, and community engagement.

The center provides a uniting infrastructure that advances all three of McLean’s mission elements: clinical care, training and education, and research. It brings together an array of investigators, clinicians, educators, and staff members with a wide range of psychiatric and scientific expertise whose collaborative efforts are improving the lives of girls and women—and their families.

The center is led by Chief Shelly F. Greenfield, MD, MPH, and Clinical Director Amy Gagliardi, MD, who are supported by a 19-member steering committee.

“It is only since the late 1990s that women were included in medical research, and these newer studies reveal that many diseases do have specific sex and gender characteristics, etiologies, and treatments.”– Shelly F. Greenfield, MD, MPH

Support the Center of Excellence in Women’s Mental Health

A gift to women’s mental health supports the educational, clinical, and research activities of McLean’s Center of Excellence in Women’s Mental Health and advances the center’s mission to address and improve the mental health of all women and girls throughout their lives.


Clinical Services

McLean is home to a number of world-class treatment programs that focus on the mental health of girls and women.

Philanthropically supported by the Klarman Family Foundation, the Klarman Eating Disorders Center treats young women ages 16 to 26 who have been diagnosed with eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder.

Part of McLean’s suite of adolescent dialectical behavior therapy programs, the 3East Girls Intensive and Step-Down Programs provide specialized care for teenage and young adult women who need treatment for depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and emerging borderline personality disorder.

The Hill Center for Women is a residential and day program on McLean’s Belmont campus that offers psychiatric services for women with histories of trauma and related disorders.

Treatment at McLean
The Hill Center for Women is one of many programs at McLean focusing on the psychiatric needs of women

The Gunderson programs—Gunderson Residence and Gunderson Outpatient Program—offer cutting-edge treatment for women 21 and over with borderline personality disorder and other severe personality disorders, including those who experience coexisting psychiatric conditions such as substance use, eating disorders, depression, or anxiety.

The Dissociative Disorders and Trauma Inpatient Program provides acute treatment for individuals who struggle with the effects of childhood abuse or other painful traumatic events.

Outpatient group and individual therapy are also available through specialty clinics offered by the Adult Outpatient Services and the Child and Adolescent Outpatient Services. The Women’s Recovery Group provides addiction recovery support for individuals receiving treatment from McLean’s Center of Excellence in Alcohol, Drugs, and Addiction.

Research Initiatives

Investigators at McLean are on the cutting edge of scientific innovation, including studies that focus on women’s mental health.

Mary C. Zanarini, EdD, is the principal investigator of the McLean Study of Adult Development—a NIMH examination of the long-term course of borderline personality disorder (BPD) now entering its 24th year.

PTSD and dissociative disorders research led by Milissa Kaufman, MD, PhD, and Sherry R. Winternitz, MD, is evaluating the neurobiological basis of traumatic dissociation utilizing structural and functional neuroimaging techniques and genetic analysis.

The research and clinical practice of assistant psychologist Kristin N. Javaras, DPhil, PhD, focuses on eating disorders and other eating-related problems.

Shelly F. Greenfield, MD, MPH, leads a team of collaborators who focus their research on substance use disorders treatment, gender differences, and substance health services.

Training Programs

Professional training programs at McLean include a wide array of clinical fellowships in a number of disciplines including geriatric psychiatry, behavioral neurology, addiction psychiatry, and child and adolescent psychiatry. The Women’s Mental Health Psychiatry Fellowship is a philanthropically funded 12-month clinical fellowship designed to provide training in treatments for the major mental health issues facing women and girls. McLean offers advanced social work training for master’s, post master’s, and doctoral-level social work clinicians.

The Gunderson Personality Disorders Institute at McLean provides training to clinicians with the goal of increasing quality of care and access to treatment for patients with BPD. BPDTI training workshops and conferences include introductory and advanced courses on mentalization-based treatment, DBT for PTSD, and more.

McLean’s continuing education conferences include conferences and weekly Grand Rounds lectures featuring experts in a wide range of behavioral health topics including addiction, attachment, and coaching in healthcare and leadership.

Advocacy and Community Education

McLean’s Borderline Personality Disorder Patient and Family Education Initiative offers interactive and on-demand resources to support individuals and families affected by BPD.

The Women’s Mental Health Leadership Council at McLean works to elevate the needs of women and girls. From the informational On Women’s Minds Luncheon Series to philanthropic planning, the council fosters a number of projects and initiatives.

Women’s MH Leadership Council
Women’s Mental Health Leadership Council Co-Chairs Carroll C.D. Pierce (left) and Kristine M. Trustey (right), with center Chief Shelly F. Greenfield, MD, MPH

In the News

Center Chief Shelly F. Greenfield, MD, MPH, answers questions about her work combating the opioid crisis.

Listen to Hilary S. Connery, MD, PhD, discuss gender differences in substance use disorders on the BBC Radio hour.

Milissa Kaufman, MD, PhD, and Lauren A.M. Lebois, PhD, are studying the effects of trauma on women’s brains.

Watch this short video by Elena Chartoff, PhD, and Hilary S. Connery, MD, PhD, explaining what happens to a brain on opioids.

Read about Mary C. Zanarini, EdD’s borderline personality disorder research at McLean.

A. Blythe Rose, MD, MPH, was McLean’s inaugural women’s mental health fellow.

Lois W. Choi-Kain, MEd, MD, is working to make BPD treatment more accessible by training clinicians.

Read articles about borderline personality disorder, trauma, eating disorders, and more.

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