Psychiatry Department


Elaine Tierney, MD

Professional Certifying Organizations:

  • Maryland State Board of Medical Examiners
  • Maryland State Board of Examiners of Psychologists
  • Maryland State Board of Nursing
  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology


  • American Association of Professional Counselors
  • Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Staffing (Licensure):

Programming is supervised by PhD's licensed by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, MD's licensed by the Maryland State Board of Medical Examiners and RN's licensed by the Maryland State Board of Nursing.


The Department of Psychiatry is primarily responsible for providing outpatient diagnosis and treatment of individuals who have both developmental disabilities and psychiatric disorders. The department provides a variety of multi-faceted programs and training to help children and adolescents with developmental and psychiatric disorders participate as fully as possible in family, school and community life.

Inpatient Programs:

The Neurobehavioral Unit (NBU) is a unique inpatient unit designed to meet the needs of children with developmental disability and severe behavioral disturbance. Multiple types of disability are represented on the unit, including autism, intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, Fragile X, various metabolic and other genetic syndromes, traumatic brain injury, post-infectious processes, fetal alcohol syndrome and other toxic exposures, as well as many unknown causes for developmental delay. Regardless of the etiology of the delay, all of the children served on the NBU have concomitant severe behavioral difficulties, which have failed treatment in multiple outpatient modalities. Self-injurious, aggressive and disruptive behaviors are among the most common disturbances treated, and have often resulted in significant injury to self and others prior to admission.

The treatment team on the Neurobehavioral Unit consists of child psychiatrists, pediatric neurologists, pediatric nurse practitioners, behavioral psychologists, social workers, nurses, speech-language therapists and education specialists. A multidisciplinary model is employed to allow the expertise from all disciplines to be merged in the thorough assessment of behavioral and psychiatric pathology and development of an effective treatment regimen for each child. Parent involvement is critical throughout the admission, particularly as the child is ultimately prepared for a successful return to his/her family and community.

Outpatient Programs:

Referrals: All patient referrals to outpatient psychiatry are reviewed by either the clinic or medical director to assure that a patient is appropriate for our clinic. Patients should have a known or suspected developmental disability or be receiving other services within the Institute. If appropriate, the patient referral is then assigned to a clinician(s) who can provide the requested service(s).

Subspecialty Treatment Clinics: There are currently two subspecialty clinics within Outpatient Psychiatry:

These subspecialty clinics consist of a team of clinicians, both psychiatrists and therapists, who provide services to children and their families. While not all children are assigned to a subspecialty clinic, all are assigned to clinicians who are experienced in treating the child's presenting problems.

Family Center

The Kennedy Krieger Institute established the Family Center, an outpatient and community-based department within the Division of Psychiatry, to respond to the mental health and developmental needs of children and families affected by abuse, neglect and out-of-home placement. The Family Center provides comprehensive resources for children and families who have experienced trauma. From its inception, the Family Center has maintained a strong commitment to providing services to children in foster care and their caregivers.

The Family Center assesses and treats the developmental, emotional and behavioral problems of children and families. The multidisciplinary staff includes child psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, certified professional counselors, a developmental pediatrician, a nurse, a psychiatric rehabilitation counselor, early childhood teachers, family advocates, respite specialists, recreational therapist assistants, case managers. Speech-language and occupational therapists provide services as well.

Teams of clinical professionals provide services to more than 1,000 children and their families each year. Clinic based programs offer integrated services that include psychological and psychiatric assessments, developmental assessments and therapy. Collaborative relationships with schools, day treatment programs, hospitals and other child centered programs are developed and maintained in order to best meet the needs of the individual child and family.

Community Programs:

Family Center: See the information in the above paragraphs.

Work Study Opportunities:

General inquiries about work study opportunities should be directed to:
Shirley Eisenhardt
Phone: (443) 923-7612

School Programs:

Professional Training:

There are several internship opportunities available through the Department of Psychiatry including:

  • Spring, summer, fall internship sessions for high school, undergraduate and graduate students
  • Independent study for undergraduate and graduate students
  • Placement site for Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program
  • Placement Site for MARC-USTAR Program (Minority Access to Research Careers - Undergraduate Scholars Training in Academic Research – Biomedical Field)
  • Placement site for epidemiology/biostatistic interns
  • Placement site for genetic counseling interns

The Psychiatry Research Internship Program

The Psychiatry Research Internship Program is a collaborative research training program in ongoing research projects conducted at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and it's affiliations. Its mission is to provide program participants with exceptional training in developmental disabilities research in order to better prepare them for future careers as scientist practitioners in psychiatry, psychology and allied disciplines.

Goals of the Research Internship Program:

  • To assist the student in developing basic/advanced research competencies
  • To foster the development of student expertise centered on developmental disabilities and treatment programs grounded in applied research
  • To provide a professional forum for career exploration to assist the student in developing and/or refining associated professional research skills

Eligibility Requirements:

Candidates interested in the psychiatry internship program must have word processing, spreadsheet and database expertise (preferred) and be able to provide a minimum of nine hours per week (undergraduates) or a minimum of 16 hours per week (graduate students). We try to maintain flexibility in our attempts to design research opportunities that meet the needs of the individual student. Also candidates should be interested in conducting literature searches, maintaining subject binders, assisting in the manual and computerized scoring of data (when appropriate). Interns will assist with parent questionnaires, research subject interviews, cognitive testing procedures, maintain research databases, perform statistical analysis and participate in weekly Continuing Education Seminars and a biweekly Journal Club.

General inquiries about the internship or application process should be directed to JoAnne Smith, administrative coordinator, at (443) 923-7618 or

Medical Students - Psychiatry Research Rotation/Elective

The Department of Psychiatry is enthusiastically committed to the education and training of medical students. The rotation consists of a medical tutorial, research experience and a series of lectures/seminars. We try to maintain flexibility in our attempts to design research rotations that meet the needs of the individual student. A description of the some of the available research projects can be found online. Many other opportunities can be developed through direct collaboration of individual students and individual faculty members.

Visiting Students

Students enrolled in other medical schools or pre-medical programs (undergraduate, post-baccalaureate) who wish to participate in the rotation process are advised that the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine reserves the right to strictly evaluate the clinical and research education provided by the applicant's own school. Enrollment of visiting students is usually limited to one nine-week period per academic year. General inquiries about the psychiatry research rotation should be directed to Marco A. Grados, MD, MPH, at (443) 923-7654 or


Psychiatry Research Center

The Psychiatry Research Center serves as a research infrastructure to provide research database management, basic statistical analysis consultations, literature searches, a research referral network/screening triage system, the dissemination of research information and provide support for the psychiatry research internship that interfaces with child and adolescent clinical/research programs throughout Kennedy Krieger Institute and it's affiliations. The Psychiatry Research Center is also a multi-pronged set of initiatives designed to enhance the understanding and treatment of children with psychiatric and developmental disabilities.

Goals of the Center:

  • To increase opportunities for research training in developmental disabilities
  • To increase opportunities for dissemination of research findings of psychiatric investigations studying developmental disabilities
  • To increase public awareness of research findings and treatment programs for children with developmental disabilities