About Jennifer Rathbun, MD

           Dr. Rathbun grew up as the daughter of a career artillery officer and a nurse from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  She spent her teens in Appleton WI, and studied at Wellesley College,  UW-Madison, Johns Hopkins, USanFrancisco, Stanford Univ. and Medical School.  She spent 6 years as a NICHD graduate fellow in Developmental Psychology and as a medical student and psychiatry resident at Stanford.   She did her master's project with Robert Sears and Eleanor Maccoby on sex differences in cooperation and competition in preschoolers.  Her doctoral research was a collaboration with Stanford Med. School and Psychology Dept., correlating infant sleep patterns with intensity in mother-child interactions.  The microscopic analyses of mother-infant pairs was done under the mentorship of Eleanor Maccoby PhD and John Lewis, PhD. The sleep analysis was done with sleep researcher, Tom Anders MD.

          Dr. Rathbun returned to Boston Children's Hospital  as a child psychiatry fellow and worked with Dr. Don Berwick to develop a multidisciplinary Failure To Thrive Team for infants with growth failure due to complex medical, developmental and environmental factors.  The model  was used by the Comm. of MA to create FTT centers across the state.  The largest is The Grow Clinic at Boston Medical Center, directed by Dr. Deborah Frank,    developmental pediatrician who worked with Dr. Rathbun at  CHMC.  

           In 1980, Dr. Rathbun joined the new Division of Child Psychiatry at MGH led by Drs. Mike Jellinek and  Tom Hackett.    She continues to teach at MGH and practices in Newton with special interests in young families and the healthy development of girls and women.


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Clinical Interests:



Massachusetts General Hospital
55 Fruit St.
Boston, MA 02114
Please speak with Debra or Laura: 617-726-2000

Medical Education

  • MD, Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Residency, Boston Children's Hospital
  • Residency, Boston Children's Hospital
  • Residency, Stanford University Medical Center
  • Fellowship, Boston Children's Hospital

American Board Certifications

  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
  • Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology


Prior research includes mother-infant interactions, infant sleep patterns, gender differences in cooperation and competition in preschool chldren, and the diagnosis, multtidisciplinary treatment and course of  failure-to-thrive infants and families.

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