Kathryn E. Barnard

Kathryn E. Barnard, RN, PhD, is Emeritus Professor of Nursing, Adjunct Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Founding Director of the Center on Infant Mental Health and Development at the University of Washington, Seattle. Dr. Barnard is a former Board Member of ZERO TO THREE.

Kathryn E. Barnard

Emeritus Professor of Nursing and Adjunct Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle

Contributions to the Field

Dr. Barnard’s expertise includes infant mental health and improving support systems for families with newborns and young children. She has an international reputation as a researcher, including development of the widely-used NCAST (Nursing Child Assessment Satellite Training) Scales, a successful training model that includes important tools for observing and understanding parent-infant interactions. She has been an advocate for prevention in nursing, pediatrics, parenting and mental health.


  • Board Member, ZERO TO THREE
  • Board Member, Foundation for Early Learning
  • Commissioner, King County Commission on Children and Families
  • Member, National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds’ National Working Group
  • Governor’s Appointee to Washington Council for Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect
  • Board Member, Center for Infant Mental Health and Development, University of Washington.

Previous Research

Preparing health and human service providers to effectively screen, assess and refer women for perinatal depression.

Honors/Awards/Recognition/Books Published

Her pioneering work to improve the physical and mental health outcomes of infants and young children has earned her numerous honors, including the Gustav O. Leinhard Award from the Institute of Medicine, and, from the American Academy of Nursing, both the Episteme Award, the highest honor in nursing, and the Living Legend Award, in 2006. Between 1969 and 1993 she also received 15 other major awards, including the Lucille Petry Leone Award for Teaching; the M. Scott Award for Contributions to Nursing Science, Education and Service; the Martha May Eliot Award for Leadership in Maternal-Child Health; and the Nurse Scientist of the Year Award.