Robert N. Emde

Robert N. Emde, MD, was Professor of Psychiatry, Emeritus, at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and a Consultant for the Centers for American Indian Alaska Native Health at the Colorado School of Public Health. Dr. Emde was a former Board Member of ZERO TO THREE.

Robert N. Emde

Professor of Psychiatry, Emeritus, University of Colorado School of Medicine

Contributions to the Field

Dr. Emde’s expertise included early socio-emotional development, infant mental health, developmental psychiatry, early preventive interventions and mentoring of clinical researchers. In addition to ZERO TO THREE, he held leadership positions in multiple scientific and clinical organizations, including the Society for Research in Child Development, the Association for the Psychophysiological Study of Sleep, and the World Association of Infant Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines. Students from his lab have achieved major research and clinical professorships and over the years he led continuing international mentoring groups for young investigators. His mentoring and training activities were aspects of his career of which he was most proud.


  • American Psychiatric Association
  • World Association for Infant Mental Health
  • Society for Research in Child Development
  • American Psychoanalytic Association
  • International Psychoanalytic Association
  • American College of Psychoanalysts, Associate Editor, Psychiatry


Dr. Emde’s research included studies in the above areas, involving observations, clinical work, experiments, intervention trials and critical analyses of theory. Dr. Emde’s research consultations involved the development and evaluation of healthy relationships including emotional availability and early morality, as well as providing critical thinking and advice for early intervention projects geared to benefit children and families in other cultures and countries. Past research involving Early Head Start sites has been supplemented in the U.S. with consultations focused on building capacity for research in Native American communities.

Honors/Awards/Recognition/Books Published

Dr. Emde published more than 300 scientific and educational peer-reviewed publications and had invited lectureships in 25 countries. Past awards included: Distinguished Life Fellow, American Psychiatric Association; Distinguished Service Award, American Psychoanalytic Association, Honorary President of the World Association of Infant Mental Health; awards from the American College of Psychoanalysts and the World Association for Infant Mental Health for research; Lifetime Achievement Award, Colorado Psychiatric Association; Honorary Member of the Sigmund-Freud-Institute of Frankfurt; Doctor of Human Letters, Honoris Causa, Erikson Institute Graduate School of Child Development; and Stern Award and Inaugural Daniel Stern Memorial Lecturer, Weill Cornell College of Medicine.