Ben Saunders, Ph.D.

Co-Founding Director


Dr. Ben Saunders is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina and a clinical social worker. Dr Saunders was a founding Co-Director of Project BEST until his retirement in 2019. Currently, he serves as a consultant to the Project BEST team.

Dr. Saunders received his PhD in clinical social work from Florida State University and holds a masters degree in marriage and family therapy from Virginia Tech. His research, training, and clinical interests include the initial and long term impact of violence and abuse on children and adolescents; the epidemiology of trauma, violence, and abuse; treatment approaches for abused children and their families; and effective methods for disseminating evidence-based practices. His work has been funded by several federal agencies, including the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Justice, the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the U.S. Department of the Navy.

In 2020 Dr. Saunders received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.