Catherine C. Ayoub, RN, EdD

Director, Research & Evaluation
Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School
Executive Director, Family Connections Project
Director of Research, Children & the Law Program, Massachusetts General Hospital

Phone: 857-218-4374
Fax: 617-730-0060

Dr. Catherine Ayoub is a licensed psychologist and nurse practitioner with research and practice interests in the impact of childhood trauma across the life span and the development and implementation of prevention and intervention systems to combat risk and promote resilience with emphasis on young children and their families across cultures and communities.

Her work at the Brazelton Touchpoints Center includes program development, research, evaluation, consultation, and training. She is responsible for overseeing the evaluation efforts at the Center and is presently engaged in research around child, family, and system-level assessment with attention to evidence-based practice.

Her current research and evaluation centers on the developmental consequences and emotional adjustment of children who have experienced child maltreatment, chronic illness, and difficult parental divorce, as well as witnessed domestic and community violence. She directs ongoing research in prevention and intervention systems for young children and families, including playing a central role in the longitudinal evaluation of children and families in Early Head Start, an innovative systems-wide preventive intervention related to depression and parenting within early childhood care systems, and as local evaluator for the Red Cliff SAMHSA LAUNCH initiative.

Raised in Mexico, Dr. Ayoub comes from a multicultural background and has special expertise in clinical work, program development, and research with Latino families.


  • EdD, Harvard University Graduate School of Education (Counseling & Consulting Psychology)
  • MN, Emory University (Psychiatric Nursing)
  • University of Tulsa (Statistics)
  • BSN, Duke University (Nursing)

Post-Doctoral Training

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Children and the Law Program, Judge Baker Children’s Center and Boston Juvenile Court Clinic Boston
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Behavioral Medicine, Children’s Hospital Boston
  • Research Fellow, National Institutes of Health, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Research Fellow, Agency for Health Research and Policy, Harvard Graduate School of Education and Harvard Medical School

Areas of Special Interest and Expertise

  • Supporting developmentally appropriate practice: The Touchpoints Approach
  • Supporting families exposed to the trauma of family violence
  • The effects of trauma on young children and their families

Selected Publications:

  • Ayoub C. & Kinscherff R. (2006). Forensic Assessment of Parenting in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases. In S Sparta & G Koocher (Eds.) Forensic Assessment of Children and Adolescents. New York: Oxford University Press, 330-341.
  • Ayoub C. & Rappolt-Schlichtmann G. (2007). Child maltreatment and the development of alternative pathways in biology and behavior. In D Coch, G Dawson & K Fischer (Eds.), Human Behavior, Learning, and the Developing Brain: Atypical Development. New York: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Watson Avery, M., Beardslee, W.R., Ayoub, C.C., Watts, C.L. & Stephenson, K. (2008). Understanding Depression Across Cultures, The Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center, Office for Head Start,
  • Watt, N.F., Ayoub, C., Bradley, R.H., & Puma, J. (Eds.). Child Psychology and Mental Health Series, Volume 4. Reforming the Village that Raises our Children: Early Intervention Programs and Policies. (2008) Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing.
  • Ayoub, C., O’Connor, E., Rappolt-Schlichtmann, G., Raikes, H., Chazan-Cohen, R., & Vallotton, C. (2009). Losing ground early: Protection, risk and change in poor children’s cognitive performance. Early Childhood Research Quarterly.