Faculty and Staff


Cape Town, South Africa

Red Cross Children’s Hospital

Lauren Franz, M.B., CH.B.

Assistant Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


Lauren Franz, MBChB, MPH, joined the Duke faculty in 2014 as Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Global Health. Dr. Franz graduated from the Global Health Pathway in 2014, during which she was awarded the Fogarty Global Health Fellowship. She used her Fogarty support to work on the KwaZulu-Natal Autism Study to adapt and pilot a ‘gold standard’ autism screening and diagnostic tool for the Zulu community in South Africa.  She completed her seven year integrated training program at Duke, which included general psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, and global health. She received a Master’s in Public Health from Emory University in 2005 and her medical degree from Stellenbosch University in South Africa in 2002.

Shortly after joining Duke Faculty, Dr. Franz received an NIMH-funded Career Development Award (K01-MH104370). This Career Development Award supported training in early autism intervention and implementation science, and the adaptation of a caregiver-delivered early autism intervention for the South African context. In 2019, Dr. Franz was awarded a Fogarty/NIMH R21 (R21-MH120696), which supported piloting of the adapted intervention approach both in-person and through telehealth. Her work is conducted in collaboration with the Faculty and staff in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Cape Town. Dr. Franz is the UNICEF Technical Lead for a UNICEF/WHO project developing a comprehensive approach to provide care and support for young autistic children and their families.

Dr. Franz’s focuses her research on autism in South Africa, other LMICs, and in low resource US communities to improve access to services and supports for young autistic children and their families.

As part of the HYC, Dr. Franz serves as a faculty mentor for research trainees as well as providing partner capacity development with colleagues in South Africa. She has also served as a mentor for international trainees coming to Duke.