Neil Boothby

Neil Boothby

Neil Boothby

Population and Family Health at the Columbia University Medical Center


60 Haven Ave., B-4
New York NY 10032
Website address: Email:


Neil Boothby's research focuses on the long-term consequences of deprivation and danger on child development, and the comparative efficacy of interventions that aim to strengthen the capacities of families and communities to protect young children from harm. In 2012-2014 Boothby took a leave of absence from Columbia University to serve as the US Government Special Adviser and Senior Coordinator to the USAID Administrator for Children in Adversity. During this time, he led the development of the USG Action Plan for Children in Adversity, which was launched at the White House to guide the government's foreign assistance for vulnerable children in low- and middle-income countries. Boothby has held senior positions with UNHCR and Save the Children, working in low-income, disaster and conflict affected countries, and is also the founding director of the CPC Learning Network, which, through Columbia University, supports a range of research programs and training projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and the Columbia Group for Children in Adversity, a non-profit that provides technical support to local groups in Africa and Asia. He has published extensively on risk and resilience among war and disaster affected children, and is also the recipient of a number of awards for his field work, including the International Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year Award for his work on child soldiers; the Mickey Leland Award for his work with refugee children; the United Nation's Golden Achievement Award for Excellence in the Social Sector; and the United States Agency for International Development Award for Outstanding Group Achievement for his intergovernmental leadership on the USG Action Plan for Children in Adversity.



EdD, 1985, Harvard University
BA, 1972, University of California

Editorial Boards

Editor, International Journal of Children's Rights
Editor, Oxford University Press

Other Affiliations

Founding Director, Child Protection in Crisis Learning Network
Senior Advisor, UNICEF Child Protection
CEO and Founding Partner, Columbia Group for Children in Adversity, LLC
Member, APHA
Member, APA (American Psychological Association)
Team Leader, UNICEF Child Protection Assessment, Darfur

Honors & Awards

Humanitarian of the Year, International Committee of the Red Cross, 1989
Mickey Leland Award, 1989
Duke University Humanitarian Service Award, 1988
Lyndhurst Prize, 1992

Areas of Expertise

Longitudinal Studies, Adolescent Health, Child Health and Development, Social / Cultural Issues, Underserved Populations, Violence, Environmental Risk Factors, Conflict and War, Global Health, Poverty, Refugee Health, HIV/AIDS, Mental Health

Select Global Activities

Mozambican Child Soldier Life Outcome Study, Mozambique: Neil Boothby is principal investigator of the Mozambique Child Soldier Life Outcome Study. The study is examining the long-term psychological, social and economic effects of child soldiering. His work documents the life outcome of former child soldiers, and offers insights into what aspects of organized international assistance helped their recoveries and reintegration into society.
CPC Learning Network, Indonesia: Neil Boothby is the founding director of the Child Care and Protection Interagency Learning Network, a consortium of over 50 agencies and academic institutions that work together on program learning needs associated with children in disaster and war settings. The Program on Forced Migration and Health serves as the CPC Network's secretariat.
Impact Study of UNICEF's Response to the Tsunmai: 2005-2008, Indonesia: Neil Boothby is the senior researcher for a multi-country impact evaluation of UNICEF responses to child protection concerns in the aftermath of the tsunami.

Select Publications

Ager, A., Boothby, N., and Bremer, M. Using the Protective Environment Framework to Analyse Children's Protection Needs in Darfur Disasters 33, Issue 2 171-179 August 2008
Boothby, N. Political Violence and Child Development: An Ecological Approach to Children in War Zones Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 17, Issue 3 497-514 July 2008
Ager, A., Boothby, N. and Wessells, M. The Use of Consensus Methodology in Determining Key Research and Practice Development Questions in the Field of Intervention with Children Associated with Fighting Forces. Intervention: International Journal of Mental Health, Psychosocial Work and Counselling in Areas of Armed Conflict 5, Number 2 25-36 2008
Stark, L., Boothby, N. and Ager, A Children and Fighting Forces: Ten Years On From Capetown Disaster 10, Issue 3 361-369 2008
Apfel R, Simon B Children in War and Communal Violence: A Mental Health Handbook Yale University Press 149-164 1996
Boothby, N., Strang, A., and Wessells, M. A World Turned Upside Down: Social Ecological Approaches to Children in War Zones Kumarian Press CT 2006
Boothby, N, Crawford, J, and Halprin, J. The Life Outcomes of Former Mozambican Child Soldiers Global Public Health 1 87-107 February 2006
Friedman, M and Mikus-Kos, A. Promoting the Psychosocial Well Being of Children Following War and Terrorism NATO Security through the Social Sciences Series, IOS Press Amsterdam, Netherlands 114-132 2005
Apfel R. and Simon B. Children in War and Communal Violence: A Mental Health Handbook Yale University Press New Haven 149-164 1996
Boothby N, Knudsen C Children of the gun Scientific American January 40-45 2000
Boothby, N. Displaced Children: Psychological Theory and Practice From the Field Journal of Refugee Studies, Vol 5, No. 2 107-122 1992
Ressler E. M., Boothby, N. and Steinbock D. Unaccompanied Children in Emergencies: Care and Protection in Wars, Natural Disasters and Mass Population Movements Oxford University Press New York 1988
N Boothby What Happens to Child Soldiers When They Grow-up?: The Mozambique Case Study. International Journal of Mental Health, Psychosocial Work and Counselling in Areas of Armed Conflict 4, Number 2 244-259 2006

Back to Top