Childhood Abuse Related Dissociative Disorders (CARDD)
Education Initiative

The CARDD Education Initiative aims to increase the public’s understanding and awareness of these disorders, educate about treatment options, and reduce stigma surrounding trauma and dissociative disorders, including Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

I. Overview

Childhood Abuse Related Dissociative Disorders (CARDD) and related conditions are debilitating and costly. People who suffer from CARDD are more likely to experience co-occurring psychiatric conditions and deleterious health outcomes. They are at increased risk for suicide and access treatment at disproportionately high rates.

Unfortunately, CARDD are often overlooked and undertreated in medical and psychiatric settings due to stigma, lack of screening, insufficient training and limited patient education. Inaccurate media portrayals further exacerbate stereotypes and stigma.

We are building a team of experts and key stakeholders including representatives from patient populations, researchers, providers, payers, policy makers and the media. Our goal is to reduce stigma surrounding CARDD by:

  • Conducting and publishing the results of cutting-edge research

  • Developing and disseminating accurate information about CARDD and DID

  • Addressing and influencing how the media portrays CARDD

  • Influencing legislation and policy.

Additionally, we plan to establish a platform on which we will disseminate our research findings, treatment guidelines, and online resources about CARDD for patients, caregivers and providers.

II. Current/Upcoming Project Highlights for 2019


Deconstructing Stigma

In collaboration with Adriana Bobinchock, Senior Director of Public Affairs, Scott O’Brien, Director of  Public Education, and their teams at McLean Hospital, Dr. Robert Oxnam has joined the Deconstructing Stigma campaign as the first featured individual with DID. The photoshoot occurred on November 15, 2018 and launched in early 2019.


Harvard T.H. Chan Doctor of Public Health Student Field Immersion Project

The Division of Women’s Mental Health at McLean Hospital was selected as one of three sites to host a Field Immersion course for doctoral students training at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In collaboration with Kimberlyn Leary, PhD, MPA, students will work exclusively on the CARDD Education Initiative - focusing on identifying key external stakeholders, conducting a landscape analysis of similar public health education initiatives, and identifying the most effective ways to disseminate information to the public.


PATIENT Participatory Action Teams

Patient advisory teams have been established to support ongoing CARDD research efforts. The patient teams, initiated in 2016, collaborate with clinicians, researchers, staff and other stakeholders in the design, implementation, and dissemination of research.


Perspectives Publication

Perspectives, an annual publication produced by the McLean Office of Public Affairs, is distributed in hard copy to approximately 60,000 members of the American Medical Association and digitally to all members of the American Psychiatric Association. The winter 2019 issue featured an overview of the CARDD initiative, including the importance of understanding and destigmatizing DID.



This monthly series is presented by the Neurobiology of Fear Laboratory and the Dissociative Disorders and Trauma Research Program. McLean community members, including, staff, patients, researchers, and clinicians are welcome to attend this lecture series, which focuses on the treatment and research of trauma and dissociative disorders.


Documentary Film, I am We

Milissa Kaufman MD, PhD, Jaime Pollack, Sherry Winternitz, MD, Jonathan Wolff, BS, and other members of CARDD, collaborated with film maker Ron Davis on I am We, a documentary about DID.  The documentary follows several individuals, and their families, attending the annual Healing Together conference.

This film, currently in post-production, takes viewers into the world of DID with a goal of better understanding how people living with the disorder navigate life.