Dr. Francine Cournos, MD, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center Principal Investigator, New York/New Jersey AIDS Education and Training Project, Mailman School of Public Health
Dr. Francine Cournos, is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry (in Epidemiology) at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She also serves as the Principal Investigator of the New York/New Jersey AIDS Education and Training Project.
Dr. Cournos’ education and training all took place in New York City. She received her undergraduate degree from City College (CUNY) and attended medical school at New York University. Her internship and residency were completed at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. An additional residency in psychiatry followed at New York State Psychiatric Institute.
Dr. Cournos was a true pioneer in the area of HIV/AIDS and mental illness, having been involved with AIDS and its mental health implications since 1983, when much about the disease was still unknown and it was surrounded more by fear than by science. She has participated in numerous research projects, training grants, practice guidelines, and policy development projects related to HIV/AIDS and mental health. Her particular interest is treatment of HIV positive people with severe mental illness. Internationally, she has worked on approaches to treating mental health disorders in the context of the antiretroviral rollout.
From 1978-2003, Dr. Cournos was Director of the Washington Heights Community Service, a bilingual and bicultural program funded by the New York State Office of Mental Health to serve people suffering from severe mental illness in northern Manhattan. Dr. Cournos also held senior positions at the New York State Psychiatric Institute in the 2000s.
Dr. Cournos has received a number of awards including the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
In addition to teaching and public speaking, Dr. Cournos conducts a private practice at the Columbia University Medical Center focused on individual and couples therapy.
Although Dr. Cournos treats adult patients, one of her greatest contributions was the memoir she published in 1999, "City of One," which deals openly with the early deaths of her parents and her experiences as an orphan and with the foster care system. The book, and her personal experience, has led Dr. Cornous to speak extensively on issues such as disclosure, permanency planning and childhood bereavement. She continues to be involved in many projects addressing the mental health needs of foster children.
Dr. Cournos, who lives in New York City with her husband, has been a member of the Board of Directors of Brightpoint Health since 2007.