Heidi Kar, PhD, is the lead of the violence and trauma team. She develops public health and resiliency-based interventions to address the mental health needs of underserved communities around the world. A licensed clinical psychologist and international/cross-cultural public health professional, her areas of expertise are prevention and treatment of trauma disorders, violent behavior, substance use disorders, and suicide.

Kar is the principal investigator and subject matter expert for various domestic and international projects involving community-, school-, and health system-based program and intervention development. She has a broad cross-cultural background and is experienced in working with diverse populations, including veterans, domestic violence survivors and perpetrators, vulnerable youth, and American Indian and Alaskan Native communities. In addition, she serves on the Violence Prevention Alliance of the World Health Organization and the Forum on Global Violence Prevention of the National Academy of Sciences and Engineering.

Previously, Kar has served as a clinician, a consultant on domestic violence screening and intervention, and a master trainer of a range of evidence-based psychological treatment interventions. She has also worked with the International Center for Research on Women, the International Rescue Committee, and Johns Hopkins University.

Kar obtained a PhD in clinical psychology from Stony Brook University and a postdoctoral fellowship in co-occuring trauma and substance use disorders at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. She holds an MHS in international health from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and a BA in neuroscience from Smith College.


"The mental health needs of vulnerable populations must be addressed to achieve comprehensive and  sustainable change."


National Suicide Gatekeeper Training Program for Crime Victim Advocates
Evaluating Implementing Strategies to Scale-up Transdiagnostic Evidence-based Mental Health Care in Zambia
National Consortium on Preventing Law Enforcement Suicide

Speaking Highlights

Towards Deeper and More Sustainable Global Violence Interventions

World Health Organization, Violence Prevention Alliance Meeting
October 2017

Psychological Foundations of Intimate Partner Violence—Examining Common Myths

National Task Force on Intimate Partner Violence, Department of Veterans Affairs
February 2015

Selected Publications

Kar, H.L.  (2018).  Acknowledging the victim to perpetrator trajectory: Integrating a mental health focused trauma-based approach into global violence programs. Aggression and Violent Behaviorhttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2018.10.004.

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.