Heidi Kar, PhD, is a mental health professional who develops evidence-based psychosocial and behavioral health interventions for underserved communities globally. She is an expert in the psychological assessment and treatment of trauma, intimate partner violence (IPV), substance use, and couples/marital functioning and has worked with both survivors and perpetrators of IPV. Kar brings expertise in both international, cross-cultural intervention development and implementation and in mental health assessment and treatment. She has lived and worked across cultures including in Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, India, Iran, Kosovo, and the United States.

Currently, Kar oversees the development and implementation of innovative mental health programs for at-risk populations, focusing on increasing the delivery of evidence-based psychotherapies. A skilled trainer of health care providers, researchers, and the general community, she delivers culturally informed programs that draw on her experiences working with communities across Africa and Asia and underserved communities in the United States, including the veteran community. As a subject-matter expert for the Veterans Affairs system, Kar contributed to the development, implementation, and  dissemination of IPV policy throughout its health care system.

Kar holds a PhD in clinical psychology from Stony Brook University and received post-doctoral training in trauma and substance use psychological treatment from the San Francisco VA Medical Center. She an MHS in international public health with specialization in devleopment of social and behavioral interventions from the Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health and a BA in neuroscience from Smith College.

"Incorporating a culturally informed mental health lens into public health and development programs is a necessity for sustainability."


Promoting Veteran Engagement and Shared Decision Making in the Implementation of Evidence-Based Psychotherapies
Empleando Futuros: Increasing Employment and Protective Factors for At-Risk youth in Honduras

Speaking Highlights

Psychological Foundations of Intimate Partner Violence—Examining Common Myths
National Task Force on Intimate Partner Violence, Department of Veterans Affairs
February 2015
Assessment, Safety Planning, and Treatment of Intimate Partner Violence in Veterans
Expert training course, Evidence-Based Psychotherapy Training Programs, Department of Veterans Affairs
Charlotte, NC

Selected Publications

Kar, H. L., & O’Leary, K. D. (2013). Emotional intimacy mediates the relationship between PTSD and intimate partner violence perpetration in OEF/OIF/OND veterans. Violence & Victims, 28(5), 790–803.

Kar, H. L., & O’Leary, K. D. (2013). Patterns of psychological aggression, dominance, and jealousy within marriage. Journal of Family Violence, 28(2), 109–119.

O’Leary, K., D., & Kar, H. L. (2010). Partner abuse: Assessment and treatment. In J. C. Thomas & M. Hersen (Eds.), Handbook of clinical psychology competencies. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 

Kar, H. L., & Garcia-Moreno, C. (2009). Intimate partner violence across cultures. In K. D. O’Leary & E. M. Woodin (Eds.), Understanding psychological and physical aggression in couples: Existing evidence and clinical implications. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.