John N. Constantino, MD
John N. Constantino, MD ’88, is the Blanche F. Ittleson Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, and the director of the William Greenleaf Eliot Division of Child Psychiatry at Washington University. An outstanding contributor to the research advancements in the areas of genetic and environmental contributions to disorders of social development in children.
Early in his postdoctoral years, Constantino identified biological and behavioral markers of risk for adverse social behavioral outcomes that are measurable in infancy. He used his findings to develop interventions that promote the earliest attachments of very high-risk infants to their parents and that prevent the occurrence of child abuse and neglect. His work is the basis of current Center and Consortium projects funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Administration for Children and Families.
Constantino has helped define the influences of nature and nurture in various social developmental disorders, including autistic syndromes. His work with Dr. Richard D. Todd — the late husband of Dr. Karen O’Malley, recipient of a 2013 Distinguished Service Award — has critically influenced gene discovery in autism by revolutionizing understanding of ways in which autistic traits are distributed and transmitted in nature. He is currently the principal investigator of three National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded autism studies, and is an associate director of the University’s new Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center.
Locally, he founded and serves as director of the SYNCHRONY Project, a collaboration with the Missouri Department of Social Services and the Family Court of St. Louis County to deliver intergenerational mental health care to the families of infants temporarily placed in foster care.
He has published his findings in leading scientific journals including the American Journal of Psychiatry, Archives of General Psychiatry and the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
After receiving his undergraduate degree from Cornell University in 1984 and his medical degree from Washington University in 1988, he completed a combined residency in pediatrics, general psychiatry and child psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. He joined the Washington University Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics as an instructor in 1993 and served as an assistant professor and an associate professor from 1996-2009 before assuming his current role.
The Washington University Medical Center Alumni Association is pleased to present its Alumni Achievement Award to Dr. Constantino.