James Boehnlein, M.D., M.Sc.

  • Professor of Psychiatry, School of Medicine


After completing medical school at Case Western Reserve University, and psychiatry residency training at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), Dr. Boehnlein trained as a VA/Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a masters degree in medical anthropology. He then returned to OHSU, where he has been Associate Director for Education for the VA Northwest Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC) since its inception. He also has served as Director of Medical Student Education for OHSU’s Department of Psychiatry, and OHSU’s Assistant Dean for Curriculum. For over 30 years he has been a clinician at the Portland VAMC Mental Health Clinic and at OHSU’s Intercultural Psychiatric Program, where he has treated Southeast Asian, Central American, and Bosnian refugees. He is on the faculty of OHSU's forensic psychiatry fellowship training program. His research has focused on cross-cultural psychiatry (particularly cultural and anthropological perspectives on posttraumatic stress disorder among Veterans and refugees, and long-term adjustment of traumatized refugees), the interface of culture and medical ethics, spiritual issues in psychiatry and psychological trauma, and on medical education. In addition to consultation in a variety of community settings in the Pacific Northwest, he has been a consultant to the Documentation Center of Cambodia for trauma mental health services in Cambodia, and for staff education in preparation for the Khmer Rouge war crimes tribunal. He is board certified in both general and forensic psychiatry, and is past president of the Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture, an international association of psychiatric and social science researchers and educators.

Education and training

    • B.S., 1976, John Carroll University
    • M.D., 1980, Case Western Reserve University
    • M.Sc., 1987, University of Pennsylvania
  • Residency

    • Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, 1980-1984
  • Fellowship

    • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar, University of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center (1985-87)
  • Certifications

    • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Psychiatry, 1986-Present
    • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Forensic Psychiatry, 1999-Present

Memberships and associations:

  • American Psychiatric Association
  • Oregon Psychiatric Association
  • Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture
  • World Psychiatric Association, Transcultural Psychiatry Section
  • American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
  • World Association of Cultural Psychiatry
  • American College of Psychiatrists

Areas of interest

  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
  • Cultural Psychiatry
  • Forensic Psychiatry
  • Medical Education

Honors and awards

  • 1997 Nancy J. Roeske Certificate of Excellence in Medical Student Education, American Psychiatric Association
  • 2001 Faculty Excellence in Education, Educational Leadership Award, OHSU
  • 2013 Outstanding Teaching Award, Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Program, OHSU
  • 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award, Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture
  • 2015 Special Achievement Award, World Association of Cultural Psychiatry (for research and teaching)
  • 2017 Fellow, American College of Psychiatrists
  • 2018 Distinguished Fellow, American Psychiatric Association


Selected publications

  • Boehnlein JK, Kinzie JD, Ben R, Fleck J. One-year follow-up study of posttraumatic stress disorder among survivors of Cambodian concentration camps. Am J Psychiatry 142:956-959, 1985
  • Boehnlein JK. A review of mental health services for refugees between 1975 and 1985 and a proposal for future services. Hosp Community Psychiatry 38:764-768, 1987
  • Kinzie JD, Boehnlein JK, Leung P, Moore L, Riley C, Smith D. The prevalence rate of PTSD and its clinical significance among S.E. Asian refugees. Am J Psychiatry 147:913-917, 1990
  • Sparr LF, Boehnlein JK. Posttraumatic stress disorder in tort actions: Forensic minefield. Bull Am Acad Psychiatry Law 18:283-302, 1990
  • Kinzie JD, Leung PK, Boehnlein JK, Matsunaga D, Johnson R, Manson S, Shore JH, Heinz J, Williams M. Psychiatric epidemiology of an Indian village: A 19-year replication study. J Nerv Ment Dis 180:33-39, 1992
  • Boehnlein JK, Kinzie JD, Leung PK, Matsunaga D, Johnson R, Shore JH. The natural history of medical and psychiatric disorders in an American Indian community. Cult Med Psychiatry 16:543-554, 1993
  • Kinzie JD, Boehnlein JK, Riley C, Sparr LF. The effects of 9-11 on traumatized refugees: Reactivation of posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 190:437-441, 2002.
  • Boehnlein JK, Kinzie JD. Pharmacologic reduction of CNS noradrenergic activity in PTSD: The case for clonidine and prazosin. J Psychiatric Practice 13:72-78, 2007 
  • De Jesus-Rentas G, Boehnlein JK, Sparr L. Central American victims of gang violence as asylum seekers: The role of the forensic expert. J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 38: 490-498, 2010
  • Daniels LR, Boehnlein JK, McCallion P. Life-review and PTSD community counseling with two groups of Vietnam War veterans. Traumatology 21(3), 161-171, 2015


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