Francine Cournos, MD is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry (in Epidemiology) at Columbia University. She is the Principal Investigator of the New York/New Jersey AIDS Education and Training Project. Dr. Cournos has worked in the area of HIV/AIDS and mental illness since 1983, and has participated in numerous research projects, training grants, practice guidelines, and policy development projects.
She has edited two books and written numerous articles and book chapters on the interface of HIV/AIDS and mental health issues with a particular concentration on people with severe mental illness. Internationally, she has worked on approaches to treating mental health disorders in the context of the antiretroviral rollout. Dr. Cournos has served on the boards of many professional organizations as well as many not-for-profit programs that serve disadvantaged populations. In 1999 Dr. Cournos published an autobiography, City of One, which describes her own experiences as an orphan and foster child, and has spoken and published about disclosure, permanency planning, and childhood bereavement. She is involved in many projects that address the mental health needs of foster children.
Dr. Cournos also conducts a private practice at the medical center focused on individual and couples therapy. She has received a number of awards including the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from NAMI.
Areas of Expertise / Conditions Treated
- Couples/Relationship Therapy
- Couples Therapy
- Individual Psychotherapy
- Professor of Clinical Psychiatry (in Epidemiology)
- Principal Investigator, Northeast Caribbean AIDS Education and Training Center, New York State Psychiatric Institute
- NewYork-Presbyterian / Columbia University Irving Medical Center
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Credentials & Experience
Education & Training
- New York University
- Residency: Montefiore Medical Center
- Fellowship: New York State Psychiatric Institute
Committees, Societies, Councils
Attending Psychiatrist, New York Presbyterian Hospital
Honors & Awards
Distinguished Life Fellow, American Psychiatric Association
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) Exemplary Psychiatrist Award (1999)
Dr. Cournos' research has focused on people with severe mental illness in two areas: consent to treatment and refusal of treatment; and the epidemiology of HIV infection and HIV-related risk behaviors.
- Mental health
- Substance Use
- Cournos F: City of One, Authors Choice Press, New York, NY, USA, 2006
- Cournos F, Forstein M: What Mental Health Practitioners Need to Know About HIV and AIDS. New Directions for Mental Health Services 87, Jossey Bass Inc Publishers, San Francisco, CA, USA, 2000
- Cournos F, Wainberg M, Horwath E: Psychiatric Care in Anti-retroviral (ARV) Therapy (for Second Level Care) Fieldtest Version, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, 2005
- Cournos F, Empfield M, Horwath E, McKinnon K, Meyer I, Schrage H, Currie C, Agosin B: HIV seroprevalence among patients admitted to two psychiatric hospitals. American Journal of Psychiatry 1991;148: 1225 - 1230
- McKinnon K, Carey MP, Cournos F: Research on HIV, AIDS, and severe mental illness: Recommendations from the NIMH national conference. Clinical Psychology Review 1997;17: 327-331
Urban Health Activities
Dr. Cournos has participated in numerous forums and meetings focused on the needs of people with HIV/AIDS and mental illness, the care of people with severe mental illness, procedures for approving the involuntary medication of psychiatric patients, and the mental health needs of children living in foster care in New York City. She has served on the Board of Directors of four New York City non-profit organizations caring for these populations, and remains active on two of them.