Jennifer Shepard Payne, PhD, LCSW

Jennifer Shepard Payne, Ph.D., LCSW, is a Research Scientist with the Kennedy Krieger Institute, an Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University, and an affiliate with the newly formed Center for the Neuropsychology of Social Injustice. She received her doctorate from the UCLA Department of Social Welfare and has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) since 1998. 

Dr. Payne’s clinical experience serving urban Blacks and other disadvantaged populations spans decades. She has almost twenty-five years of experience as a licensed mental health practitioner serving resource-poor communities. She is an involved member of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS), the premier organization for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy research and training. Dr. Payne is the co-coordinator on the Executive Committee of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Special Interest Group (SIG) of ACBS. She is a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee that reports directly to the ACBS board of directors. She is also a member of the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science (JCBS) EDI Sub Committee.

For several years now, Dr. Payne has been working on culturally tailoring ACT for African Americans suffering from social injustice and race-related trauma. Her previous research informed her desire to develop an intervention that works for Black trauma. As it relates explicitly to ACT with the Black community, Dr. Payne has engaged in several conference presentations and invited colloquia regarding this topic ( 

Dr. Payne continues to promote social justice through her teaching, writing, and research around culturally tailored ACT to address race-based trauma for blacks. She has a book coming out in December 2022 entitled: Out of the fire: Healing Black trauma caused by systemic racism using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy by New Harbinger Publications. More information can be found at

Upcoming Workshops & Courses: