Larissa DuncanElizabeth C. Davies Chair in Child and Family Well-Being, Associate Professor

Larissa G. Duncan, Ph.D., is the Elizabeth C. Davies Chair in Child & Family Well-Being and Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies in the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.  She also holds appointments as the Healthy Minds, Children, and Families Specialist with UW Extension and as an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health in the School of Medicine and Public Health. Dr. Duncan a faculty affiliate of the Center for Healthy Minds at UW–Madison.

Dr. Duncan is internationally recognized for her development of a framework to promote and assess mindful parenting as well as her work to bring mindfulness and compassion training to pregnant women, children/adolescents, and families in school, community, and medical contexts. Dr. Duncan employs mixed methods to study the biological and psychological pathways through which contemplative practices may support healthy child and family development as enhancements to other evidence-based strategies for prevention and lifecourse health promotion. She is committed to working to improve the cultural relevance of these approaches to increase their impact in reducing racial/ethnic disparities in child and family well-being and advance health equity.  At UW–Madison, she directs the AWARE (Awareness, Well-Being, and Resilience for Equity) Research Lab. Dr. Duncan has received research funding from the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and National Institute on Drug Abuse), as well as private donors and foundations, to support these efforts.

Prior to her appointment in the School of Human Ecology, Dr. Duncan was Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine, and a core faculty member of the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. She currently serves as a faculty affiliate of the Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center’s Program on Empathy, Awareness, and Compassion in Education at Penn State University and the UC–San Diego Center for Mindfulness Professional Training Institute, and as an advisory board member for the University of Washington Center for Child and Family Well-Being.

Recent press

How to tell your loved ones you can’t celebrate in person this holiday seasonWisconsin Public Radio, November 21, 2020
Episode 77: How to ride with the painGreater Good Magazine, October 22, 2020
Episode 71: Do you want to be more patient?Greater Good Magazine, July 16, 2020

Professional portrait of Larissa Duncan in front of a decorative window with bright colored glass circles and curved lines.


  • Human Development & Family Studies

Degree Program

  • BS Human Development & Family Studies
  • PhD Human Ecology: Human Development and Family Studies


Office: 4140 Nancy Nicholas Hall

Phone: 608-263-4026