University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Promotes Stephanie Stepp, PhD, to Professor of Psychiatry

We are pleased to announce that Stephanie Stepp, PhD, has been promoted to Professor of Psychiatry by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. 

Dr. Stepp received her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Missouri. She joined the University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychiatry and UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital (WPH) as a clinical psychology intern, then undertook postgraduate research training in Pitt Psychiatry’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-supported Clinical Research Training for Psychologists T32 training program.

Dr. Stepp is an expert in the developmental psychopathology of borderline personality disorder, and has highlighted the importance of the parent-child context in the development of the disorder. Her work includes the study of predictive models, illness progression, and effectiveness of psychosocial treatment. Dr. Stepp was one of the first to use ecological momentary activity to document, in real time, emotion dysregulation, impulsivity, and chronic interpersonal challenges in those with borderline personality disorder. Dr. Stepp’s studies were among the first to demonstrate that the characteristics of borderline personality disorder are stable and detectable in children, which challenged the prevailing notion that borderline personality disorder could occur only in adults. In addition, she identified factors involved in the familial transmission of borderline personality disorder from mother to daughter, and developed an intervention designed to attenuate the transmission of borderline personality disorder by targeting relevant aspects of the mother’s emotion regulation. 

Dr. Stepp currently serves as principal investigator (PI), site PI, co/multiple PI, or co-investigator on seven federally funded grants. She leads or co-leads studies including an NIMH R01 focused on preschooler emotion regulation in the context of maternal borderline personality disorder, an NIMH R34 focused on optimizing suicide prevention strategies for pediatric primary care, and an NIMH R01 measuring experiences like loneliness, low self-worth, and hopelessness in young children to determine whether risk for suicide can be captured in early childhood, and whether certain protective factors protect Black youth from developing suicidal thoughts. Dr. Stepp has published her research in multiple publications in influential journals. She is a past president of the North American Society for the Study of Personality Disorders. Dr. Stepp currently serves as associate chair of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Environmental Influences on Child Outcomes publication committee, and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Boards of the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
In addition, Dr. Stepp is an award-winning teacher and mentor, having worked with postdoctoral scholars, clinical psychology interns, psychiatry residents, undergraduate and graduate students, and early-career faculty members.

“Dr. Stepp is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in borderline personality disorder in children, particularly within the context of the parent-child dyad, and she has made numerous critical contributions to developing and evaluating psychosocial treatments for this disorder,” said David Lewis, MD (Chair, Department of Psychiatry). “Dr. Stepp is additionally recognized as an outstanding member of the scientific community, as well as a highly accomplished teacher and mentor who has facilitated the professional growth of numerous trainees—many of whom are now conducting their own important research.”

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Stepp!