Heather Carmichael Olson, PhD

Personal Statement

I am a psychologist who carries out research, provides community education to a broad range of audiences, trains postgraduate students, works on public policy– and has served as a clinician with children and families for many years. My main interests are fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), early childhood mental health, and interventions for children born prenatally exposed to alcohol and other drugs and their families. My research is currently based at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, but I also works in collaboration with UW researchers. A main research focus has been the Families Moving Forward (FMF) Program, a family-focused FASD intervention, now being disseminated in the USA and Canada.  The FMF Program is also now being translated into a mobile health application for even broader use. Through Seattle Children’s, I direct a new pilot service focused on assessment and short-term consultation for children with prenatal alcohol exposure. I also offers mental health services to a broad range of young children and develops research focused on early childhood mental health.


Behavioral Teratology , University of Washington , 1989-1991
Psychology Internship Training , University of Washington, Center on Human Development and Disability , 1986-1987
Ph.D. , Developmental and Child-Clinical Psychology , University of Washington , 1978-1986
M.A. , Speech-Language Pathology , University of Iowa , 1974-1976
B.S. , Biological Sciences , University of Redlands , 1970-1974

Department Affiliations

Recent Publications

School-based intervention to address self-regulation and executive functioning in children attending primary schools in remote Australian Aboriginal communities.
PLoS One 15(6): e0234895
Wagner B, Latimer J, Adams E, Carmichael Olson H, Symons M, Mazzucchelli TG, Jirikowic T, Watkins R, Cross D, Carapetis J, Boulton J, Wright E, McRae T, Carter M, Fitzpatrick JP

A Mobile Health Intervention for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (Families Moving Forward Connect): Development and Qualitative Evaluation of Design and Functionalities.
(2020 Apr 6)
JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 8(4): e14721
Petrenko CL, Parr J, Kautz C, Tapparello C, Olson HC

The best possible start: A qualitative study on the experiences of parents of young children with or at risk for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
(2020 Feb)
Res Dev Disabil 97(): 103558
Pruner M, Jirikowic T, Yorkston KM, Olson HC

Study protocol for a self-controlled cluster randomised trial of the Alert Program to improve self-regulation and executive function in Australian Aboriginal children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
(2018 Mar 25)
BMJ Open 8(3): e021462
Wagner B, Fitzpatrick JP, Mazzucchelli TG, Symons M, Carmichael Olson H, Jirikowic T, Cross D, Wright E, Adams E, Carter M, Bruce K, Latimer J

Understanding and managing sleep disruption in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
(2018 Apr)
Biochem Cell Biol 96(2): 267-274
Hanlon-Dearman A, Chen ML, Olson HC

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