Reneau Charlene Ufford Kennedy, EdD, is a consulting forensic psychologist in private practice with more than 25 years of service within the justice system. Dr. Kennedy describes herself as a “natural public servant,” and she began her career as a teacher and counselor in Australia and Papua New Guinea after earning a Bachelor of Science in psychology, speech, and education from Willamette University in 1975. She began to recognize her calling toward counseling when she found that she often enjoyed helping the students who would linger after class with questions more than she enjoyed teaching the class.
Dr. Kennedy continued her education at the University of Oregon, where she was awarded a Master of Science in psychology in 1981 and completed her professional internship at the counseling center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She found support from the school’s vice president of women’s affairs, who helped her obtain a position at Massachusetts’ state-run hospital for mentally ill criminal offenders. Dr. Kennedy’s time at the state hospital shifted her perspective on the field and helped spark her interest in forensic psychology. She was named a clinical fellow and director of training at Harvard Medical School in 1985 and was awarded two further fellowships in neuropsychology and clinical and forensic psychology at the McLean Hospital at Harvard Medical School between 1986 and 1989.
Dr. Kennedy was awarded her Doctor of Education in psychology at Boston University in 1994 after completing a dissertation on settings and murder influenced by her time at the state-run hospital. She returned to Harvard University as a clinical fellow in forensic psychology to pursue four additional years of postdoctoral research on youth-involved homicides and domestic murder. In 1996, Dr. Kennedy established her private practice in Weston, Massachusetts, followed by a second location in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1997. Her primary focus is on providing professional psychological evaluations and opinions when requested by the court, including risk evaluations, and she has consulted for entities including the Kentucky Justice Cabinet Juvenile Task Force, the Massachusetts Court Subcommittee on Risk Assessment, and the Massachusetts Child Death Review Team.
In addition to her work in the court system, Dr. Kennedy is a frequent presenter on topics in the field, the former director of training for the Honolulu Forensic and Behavioral Science Institute, and an affiliate course instructor and clinical training supervisor for both the American Psychological Association and the American School of Professional Psychology. In recognition of her dedication to her work and her contributions to the development of psychology within the justice system, she has been presented with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. In her leisure time, Dr. Kennedy enjoys scuba diving and adventure travel, and is a former Ironman triathlon competitor.