Harriet MacMillan

  • žProfessor, Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences and Pediatrics
  • Chedoke Health Chair in Child Psychiatry

Harriet MacMillan is a psychiatrist and pediatrician conducting family violence research. She is a Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, and Pediatrics at McMaster University with associate memberships in the Departments of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Psychology. Beginning in 1993 until 2004, Harriet was the founding Director of the Child Advocacy and Assessment Program (CAAP) at McMaster Children’s Hospital, a multidisciplinary program committed to reducing the burden of suffering associated with family violence.   She continues to see patients as an active staff member of CAAP and provides consultations to child protection agencies. Her research focuses on the epidemiology of violence against children and women; she has led randomized controlled trials evaluating the effectiveness of approaches to preventing child maltreatment and intimate partner violence. Funding for this work has been provided by organizations such as the WT Grant Foundation, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, NARSAD and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Harriet is the principal investigator of a CIHR-funded Centre for Research Development in Gender, Mental Health and Violence across the Lifespan (PreVAiL). Through PreVAiL, Harriet works closely with organizations such as the Public Health Agency of Canada and the World Health Organization.

Current Activities

  • Preventing Violence across the Lifespan (PreVAiL) - an international Network of 60 researchers working in the areas of mental health, gender and violence, and 19 partner organizations such as the World Health Organization
  • Nurse Family Partnership Curriculum - a multi-site randomized controlled trial evaluating the effectiveness of an IPV curriculum embedded in the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP)
  • British Columbia Healthy Connections Project (BCHCP) - a province-wide randomized controlled trial of the NFP in BC to determine the program’s effectiveness within the Canadian context (funded by the BC Ministry of Health and BC Ministry of Children and Family Development)
  • Healthy Foundations Study – an adjunct study of the BCHCP, examining the impact of a preventive home visitation intervention on biological outcomes in infants across the first two years of life (funded by CIHR)


  • MacMillan HL, Wathen CN, Jamieson E, Boyle MH, Shannon HS, Ford-Gilboe M, Worster A, Lent B, Coben JH, Campbell JC, McNutt LA; McMaster Violence Against Women Research Group. Screening for intimate partner violence in health care settings: a randomized trial. JAMA 2009; 302:493-501.
  • MacMillan HL, Georgiades K, Duku E, Shea A, Steiner M, Niec A, Tanaka M, Gensey S, Spree S, Vella E, Walsh CA, De Bellis MD, Van der Meulen J, Boyle M, Schmidt, LA. Cortisol response to stress in female youths exposed to childhood maltreatment: Results of the Youth Mood Project. Biological Psychiatry 2009; 66:62-68
  • MacMillan HL, Thomas BH, Jamieson E, Walsh CA, Boyle MH, Shannon H, Gafni A. Effectiveness of home visitation by public-health nurses in prevention of the recurrence of child physical abuse and neglect: a randomized controlled trial. Lancet 2005; 365:1786-1793.

For further publications click here.

Additional Information

Contact Harriet


Research Interests

  • Prevention of family violence
  • Epidemiology of child maltreatment and intimate partner violence

Education, Memberships & Certifications

  • M.Sc. in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University
  • M.D., Queen’s University
  • Residency training in Pediatrics at SickKids; Royal College Certification in Pediatrics
  • Residency training in Psychiatry at SickKids (Child), McMaster University (Adult); Royal College Certification in Psychiatry
  • Postgraduate fellowship training at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School