Room 829


Dr. M. Katherine Shear graduated with honors from the University of Chicago and attended Tufts University Medical School. After completing residencies in Internal Medicine and Psychiatry, and a research fellowship in psychosomatic medicine, she joined the faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at Cornell University Medical College. During her tenure at Payne Whitney Clinic, she established the Department’s first clinical research program in Anxiety Disorders. This mulitdisciplinary group served as an important training site for pre- and post-doctoral students, fellows, and faculty, and established strong collaborative links, both within Cornell and at other institutions. Dr. Shear’s well funded research group obtained grants from NIMH, private foundations, and pharmaceutical companies. Their work made a major contribution in the area of Panic Disorder, including theoretical and practice-based publications.

In 1992, Dr. Shear moved to the University of Pittsburgh where she served as Professor of Psychiatry until January 2006. She continued to conduct her own NIMH funded treatment studies and successfully mentored others in the development and implementation of funded research in anxiety disorders, depression, and grief. While in Pittsburgh, Dr. Shear obtained an NIMH infrastructure grant for clinical services research targeting women with mood and anxiety disorders. This grant supported a series of innovative pilot projects initiated by more than a dozen different investigators, including trainees and faculty from a range of disciplines. Projects were performed at sites that served low income minorities, in rural communities, in primary care medical facilities and in community agencies serving women victims of abuse.

Dr. Shear has also helped develop and test a variety of assessment instruments including the widely used Panic Disorder Severity Scale, the newer Generalized Anxiety Disorder Severity Scale, a structured version of the Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety for assessing adult separation anxiety disorder, and several new grief assessment measures. She has served on the scientific advisory board of the Italy-based Spectrum Project (

Most recently, Dr. Shear has worked in the area of bereavement and grief.  In the mid-1990s, Dr. Shear and her colleagues identified the syndrome of complicated grief, an intense long-lasting form of grief.   She developed and tested a novel treatment for the newly identified condition which culminated in the publication of the first randomized controlled treatment study for complicated grief in June 2005.  In September 2007, Dr. Shear received a five-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to conduct the first clinical study comparing the efficacy of two different types of psychotherapy for the treatment of complicated grief in older adults. In August 2009, Dr. Shear received another five-year grant from NIMH to conduct a multisite treatment study to test the effectiveness of antidepressant medication in treating complicated grief when taken with or without complicated grief treatment.

Dr. Shear is the Marion E. Kenworthy Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University School of Social Work and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.  She is Director of the Bereavement and Grief Program and Director of the Complicated Grief Research and Training Program at Columbia University School of Social Work.  She is also Director of the Complicated Grief Treatment Program at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

Dr. Shear currently serves on the Advisory Council for the National Institute of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).  She also serves as Advisor to DSM-5 workgroup on complicated grief and adult separation anxiety and has been appointed as Member of the WHO ICD11 Working Group on Mood and Anxiety Disorders.