M. Katherine Shear, MD

M. Katherine Shear, MD

Marion E. Kenworthy Professor of Psychiatry and founding director of the Center for Prolonged Grief at Columbia University School of Social Work

M. Katherine Shear, MD is the Marion E. Kenworthy Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia School of Social Work and Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Shear began her work with studies of panic disorder by participating in the development and extensive testing of a cognitive behavioral therapy for panic. She has extensive experience in community outreach and was the recipient of a large community-based study of treatment effectiveness in women. She began studying grief in 1995. Her panic disorder and community-based infrastructure studies as well as grief intervention studies have been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. Her adaptation-focused grief intervention has the strongest evidence base of any grief treatment to date. In addition, studies of suicide-bereaved individuals and bereaved military family members have been funded by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the United States Department of Defense. Overall Dr. Shear has received more than 18 million dollars in grant funding. More recently, GriefCare for Families, a publicly available app-based program for parents and caregivers of grieving children, was developed with funding from the New York Life Foundation.

Dr. Shear’s work includes more than 330 peer reviewed publications. She has developed several widely used assessment instruments and a group of instructional materials for prolonged grief disorder therapy. Prior to coming to CSSW, Dr. Shear served on the faculties of Cornell University Medical College and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where she conducted research on anxiety disorders, depression, and grief. This included seminal work on the behavioral treatment of panic disorder, development of the Panic Disorder Severity Scale, and assessment and treatment research for mood and anxiety disorders.

She has served on review committees of the National Institute of Mental Health and on the advisory council for its National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. She served as an advisor to the DSM-5 workgroup on complicated grief and adult separation anxiety, a member of the World Health Organization’s ICD11 Working Group on Mood and Anxiety Disorders, a member of the scientific advisory board of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and an elected member of the board of the Association for Death Education and Counseling.

Dr. Shear received a BS in biology with honors from the University of Chicago and an MD from Tufts University Medical School. She completed residencies in Internal Medicine and Psychiatry and a psychosomatic fellowship before beginning her clinical research career.