Kaja LeWinn, DSc - Contact Information

LeWinn, Kaja

Title: Assistant Adjunct Professor


Doctoral Degree: Harvard School of Public Health; Department of Society Human Development and Health Focus: Biological underpinning of health disparities in early life

Postgraduate Training:

Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar, University of California, San Francisco and BerkeleyFocus: Using neuroimaging to understand the neural correlates of social disparities in early life. Clinical Health Services Research Training ProgramFocus: School based prevention of mental health disorders in low-income communities

Biography Summary:

Dr. Kaja LeWinn’s research goal is to identify modifiable characteristics of the social environment that may be targeted to promote resilience to mental health disorders in community based settings like schools. Dr. LeWinn completed her doctorate in Social Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.  In her doctoral work, she examined the impact of stress hormones during gestation and social disadvantage in the first five years of life on cognitive performance in childhood. As a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at the UCSF-UC Berkeley site, Dr. LeWinn sought a more direct, mechanistic understanding of brain development and skills in neuroimaging. Through a RWJ pilot grant, she was able to examine whether the functioning of emotion regulatory neural circuitry is associated with early life socioeconomic disadvantage. 

Informed by her findings that early social adversity may be associated with the neural correlates of emotion regulation, Dr. LeWinn became interested in bridging population health and neuroscience perspectives to develop better preventive interventions that promote resilience to depression in community based settings. In the Department of Psychiatry at UCSF, her focus has been on integrating approaches from social epidemiology, psychology, and neuroscience to develop novel preventive interventions that promote the development of emotion regulatory neural circuitry and can be applied universally in school-based settings.  To accomplish this work, Dr. LeWinn has forg  ed several partnerships with local agencies in San Francisco that are also committed to this work, including the San Francisco Unified School District. 

Dr. LeWinn is currently supported by an NIMH K01 Career Development Award that focuses on understanding the neural and social underpinnings of emotion regulation development during adolescence. Ultimately, Dr. LeWinn would like to use her research to create novel preventive interventions that promote mental health and can be applied universally in school-based settings.   

Campus Location: Parnassus


Leadership in research, education, psychiatric care and public service