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About Me

Suzan J. Song, MD, MPH, PhD is Director of the Division of Child/Adolescent & Family Psychiatry and Associate Professor at George Washington University Medical Center and Milken School of Public Health. She is also a humanitarian protection adviser for youth and families of forced migration globally with UNHCR, UNICEF, and the International Medical Corps; technical adviser to multiple domestic refugee and survivor of torture programs; and subject matter expert to the U.S. federal government on child trafficking. Her two decades of global mental health work span Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ethiopia, KwaZulu/Natal, Haiti, Burundi, Syria/Jordan, the DR Congo, and with forcibly displaced youth and families in the U.S.


Dr. Song is double board-certified in adult and child/adolescent psychiatry, with training from the University of Chicago, Harvard, and Stanford. She has provided clinical care to survivors of torture, refugees, youth and families seeking asylum, unaccompanied and reunified minors, and survivors of human trafficking for 10 years. She was medical director of two community-based clinics - a foster care clinic and an immigrant/refugee health clinic. Her PhD from the University of Amsterdam focused on inter-generational stress and local ways of healing for former child soldiers and survivors of torture. Her current work focuses on youth and family resiliency and stress.


Dr. Song is internationally recognized for her clinical, policy, and research work with youth and families of forced migration and armed conflict and child trafficking. Her forthcoming book, Child, Adolescent & Family Refugee Mental Health: A Global Perspective, co-edited with the senior mental health officer of UNHCR, will be published by Springer. Domestically, she is the Spokesperson for Refugee Mental Health for the American Psychiatric Association, and Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Child/Adolescent Psychiatrists. As well, she has provided subject matter expertise on refugee mental health to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and on human trafficking to the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Labor and has testified as expert witness before the Dept of Homeland Security congressional committee.



  • Director, Division of Child/Adolescent & Family Psychiatry and Associate Professor, George Washington University Medical Center (Washington, D.C. USA)

  • Spokesperson on Refugee Mental Health, American Psychiatric Association

  • Distinguished Fellow, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

  • Subject matter expert/Consultant, Capital Area Immigrant Rights' (CAIR) Coalition, Unaccompanied and Detained Youth

  • Founder/Executive Director, Global Collective


  • Humanitarian protection consultant, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Columbia Group for Children in Adversity, UNICEF, IMC


  • Past Medical director, Asian Americans for Community Involvement, CAP at Center for Survivors of Torture


  • Past Medical director, Alternative Family Services for high-risk foster youth


Clinical training


  • Pediatric Psychiatry Fellowship, Stanford


  • Adult psychiatry residency, Harvard


  • Parent-child psychotherapy, UCSF/Child Trauma Institute


  • Family therapy, Bay Area Family Training


  • M.D.  University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine


  • B.S. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Epistemology Across Cultures & Biology

Public Health


  • M.P.H. health policy, Harvard School of Public Health

  • White House APIA Initiative fellow


  • George Soros Open Society Institute Health Fellow


  • Research assistant, Harvard Dept Health Policy




  • Stanford/VA MIRECC post-doctoral research fellow


  • National Science Foundation Presidential Scholars Fellow – tumor suppressor genes in brain gliomas

Humanitarian Training


  • Harvard Humanitarian Initiative Fellow


  •  Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London: Mental health services research​

Relevant Publications


1.  Carrion V., Haas B, Garrett A., Song S., Reiss A. (2009) Reduced Hippocampal Activity in Youth with Post-traumatic Stress Symptoms:  an fMRI study.   Journal of Pediatric Psychology. 35(5):559-569


2.  Pumariega, A., Rothe, E., Song, S., Lu, F. (2010). Culturally-informed child psychiatric practice.  Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Clinics of North America, 19(4), 739-57.


3. Song, S. (2010) Children and Armed Conflict:  risk, resilience, and protective factors.  Intervention: International Journal of Mental Health, Psychosocial Work and Counseling in Areas of Armed Conflict, 8(2): 173-174.


4. Song, S. (2011).  An ethical approach to lifelong learning: Implications for global psychiatry. Academic Psychiatry, 35:391-396


5. Song, S., Belfer, M. (2012) The United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child and implications for clinical practice, policy and research. In: International Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists (IACAPAP) Textbook of Child and Adolescent Mental Health. J. Reyes, Ed. Geneva.


6. Song, S., O’Hara, R., Koopman, C., & Joop de Jong (2013).  Intergenerational trauma from Burundian former child soldiers to their children. Special Edition on Child Soldiers, Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma, 22(7), in press.


7. Tol, W., Song, S., Jordans, M., et al. (2013).  Annual Research Review:  Resilience and mental health in children and adolescents living in areas of armed conflict – a systematic review of findings in low- and middle-income countries. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 54(4), 445-460.


8. Song, S., van der Waal, H., & de Jong, J. (2013) Who cares for former child soldiers? Mental health systems of care in Sierra Leone.  Community Mental Health Journal, 49(5), 615-624.


9. Song, S. & Shaheen, M. (2013).  Conducting mental health research on trauma in children in low-income countries. Child and Youth Care Forum Journal, 42, 275-283.


10. Song, S., de Jong, J. (2013). The role of silence in Burundian former child soldiers. Journal for the Advancement of Counselling. DOI 10.1007/s10447-013-9192-x


11. Kletter, H. et al. Song, S. (2013). Helping children exposed to war and violence: Perspectives from an international work group on inte.rventions for youth and families. Child and Youth Care Forum Journal, 42(4), 371-388.


12. Song, SJ. & de Jong, J. (2013). Silence and disclosure: Intergenerational indero between Burundian former child soldiers and their children. International Journal for the Advancement of Counseling, 36, 84-95.


13. Song, S.J., Tol, W.T., & de Jong, J. (2014). Indero: Intergenerational trauma and resilience between Burundian former child soldiers and their children. Family Process, 53(2), 239-51


14. Song, S.J., Kaplan, C., Tol, WA., Subica, A., & de Jong, J. (2015). Psychological distress in torture survivors: pre- and post-migration risk factors in a US sample. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 50(4), 549-560.


15. De Jong, J., Berckmoes, L., Kohrt, B., Song, S.J., Tol, W., & Reis, R (2015). A public health approach to address the mental health burden of youth in situations of political violence and humanitarian emergencies. Current Psychiatry Reports, 17(7), 60.


16. Song S.J., & de Jong, J. (2015). Child Soldiers: Children associated with the armed forces. North American Clinic of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 24(4), 765-775.


17. International Medical Corps, UNICEF (2014). Mental health and psychosocial child protection for displaced Syrian adolescents in Za'atari, Jordan. Author: Song, SJ.

18. ​Hassan G., Kirmayer, LJ, Mekki-Berrada, A., … Song, S., & Ventevogel, P. Culture, Context and the Mental Health and Psychosocial Wellbeing of Syrians: A Review for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support staff working with Syrians Affected by Armed Conflict. Geneva: UNHCR, 2015.

19. Kohrt, B & Song, SJ. (2018). Who benefits from psychosocial support interventions in humanitarian settings? Lancet Global Health, 6(4):e354-356.

For a complete list of works, please refer to: