In Memoriam: Patricia Van Horn, PhD, JD

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Van Horn

It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our colleague Patricia Van Horn, PhD, JD on January 31, following a stroke she suffered earlier in the month while teaching in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Dr. Van Horn was a professor in the Department of Psychiatry, director of the SFGH Division of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry since 2010, and associate director of the Child Trauma Research Program since its inception in 1996.  At the national level, she was associate director of the Early Trauma Treatment Network, a center of the federally funded National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

Dr. Van Horn had a remarkable career as an internationally renowned expert in the assessment and treatment of traumatic stress in infancy and early childhood. She was the co-developer of child-parent psychotherapy, an extensively used evidence-based treatment for traumatized young children. She created and conducted long-distance training and dissemination models for clinicians nationally and abroad.  She authored several books, dozens of articles and chapters, and created training manuals and models of system collaboration linking mental health, pediatrics, domestic violence advocacy, and the child welfare system. 

As an attorney who argued cases at the California Supreme Court before becoming a psychologist, she collaborated with the Presiding Judge of the San Francisco Superior Court in establishing the Zero to Three Court Team and other innovative judicial initiatives, provided training to judges and attorneys in family court and dependency court, and was a much-sought consultant and speaker on the needs of children in the child welfare system. She was passionately devoted to promoting the advancement of women and ethnic minorities in academia. She received the 2009 Champion for Children Award of the San Francisco Bar Association in recognition of her tireless public service on behalf of underserved children and their families.  

She was an inspiring and much-loved teacher and colleague and will be profoundly missed.

In honor of Dr. Van Horn, two memorial events have been tentatively scheduled:

  • The first event, an informal gathering for colleagues and friends at SFGH, has been scheduled for Thursday, February 27 at 3:30 p.m. in room 7M30. 
  • A second, department-wide memorial featuring presentations from leaders in key child-serving disciplines about Dr. Van Horn's lasting legacy developing state-of-the-art child trauma treatment and contributing to trauma-informed systems of care will be held on Friday, May 30. Further details about this event will be made available shortly, but please save the date on your schedule now.



Leadership in research, education, psychiatric care and public service