Jennifer Havens, MD, a leading expert on systems innovation and the treatment of behavioral and mental health issues in children and adolescents who have experienced complex trauma, has been named the Arnold Simon Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and chair of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Grossman School of Medicine.
Dr. Havens, who has served as the interim chair of the department since February 2021, was previously vice chair for clinical integration and mentoring. With appointments in both the Departments of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychiatry, she joined the faculty at NYU Grossman School of Medicine in 2008 from Columbia University Irving Medical Center. While there, she served as deputy director of their Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
A renowned child psychiatrist, Dr. Havens has delivered or supervised the care of thousands of children and adolescents and is deeply involved in many of the city and state mental health initiatives for children. Throughout her career she has been a crusader for children who are affected by child abuse, violence, and trauma and is a leader in the development of improved mental health services for children and families.
Dr. Havens has been instrumental in the national movement to improve psychiatric emergency care for children and adolescents. In 2004, she opened the first dedicated psychiatric emergency program for children in the world at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. She then implemented trauma-informed care across the child emergency and inpatient services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue and led the expansion of their acute child psychiatry service to become one of the country’s most comprehensive integrated care system. Dr. Havens worked to extend trauma-informed mental health services to New York City’s juvenile secure detention facilities and has been a consultant for the development of similar services at many healthcare systems throughout the country.
“Dr. Havens is passionate about gaining an ever deeper understanding of mental health issues in children and in vulnerable populations, with a goal of consistently improving care,” says Robert I. Grossman, MD, dean and CEO of NYU Langone. “Her tireless vision inspires others to make the world a better place for children every day. She will continue her excellent efforts as chair of the department, in which she has advanced all of its missions.”
In her role as chair, Dr. Havens will oversee a diverse team of health professionals in the department providing a wide range of mental health services for children, adolescents, young adults, and families in the New York metropolitan area. Through the Pediatric Psychiatry Consultation–Liaison Service and Integrated Behavioral Health Program, the department provides clinical services, consultations, and program expertise across a continuum of care at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone and other NYU Langone sites, including the Child Study Center, Fink Children’s Ambulatory Care Center, and NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn.
Dr. Havens will continue to oversee the acute care system at Bellevue—including the only 24-hour Children’s Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program in New York State.
“Mental health challenges are now responsible for the majority of morbidity and mortality in young people. This has only been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. We need to change this and emulate the advancing model of pediatric healthcare, where prevention is the norm,” says Dr. Havens. “We will continue to do all we can to provide high-quality mental healthcare to those children in need while also continuing to advocate with our community partners for systematic change at every level to help solve the youth mental health crisis.”
Dr. Havens plans to continue to advocate for resources to make sure prevention and early intervention are essential in the care of children’s and adolescents’ mental health. “Identifying mental health conditions early changes treatment outcomes. The earlier you treat, the greater impact can be,” she says. “NYU Langone is one of only two academic medical centers in the nation with an independent child and adolescent psychiatry department. Our commitment to training leaders in mental healthcare and integrated approach to research and broad-reaching clinical services help define excellence in the field.”
About Dr. Havens
An alum of Tufts University School of Medicine, Dr. Havens completed her adult psychiatric residency at Weill Cornell Medicine and a postdoctoral residency in child and adolescent psychiatry at NewYork-Presbyterian Columbia University Irving Medical Center. After completing a fellowship at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, she served on its faculty for 17 years before joining NYU Langone in 2008 while simultaneously serving as director of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Bellevue.
Dr. Havens will continue to serve as director of child and adolescent behavioral health for the Office of Behavioral Health at NYC Health + Hospitals, where she leads strategic planning and program development across NYC Health + Hospitals’ child-serving mental health systems.
An accomplished clinical investigator and clinician, Dr. Havens has authored and co-authored more than 50 publications, served on numerous national scientific and educational committees, and acted as a mentor to numerous medical students, residents, and faculty members. She is also an active member of several prestigious medical societies, including the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the New York Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. A recipient of various awards and honors, Dr. Havens most recently received the 2021 Passion Award from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry for her commitment to maltreated children.
“I am humbled by the opportunity to serve as chair for the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone,” says Dr. Havens. “Mental health is an essential part of children’s health and is critical to nurturing healthy families and communities. I look forward to seeing the continued efforts of our mission for innovation and increased access to child mental healthcare.”