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Sudha Sankar, PhD, LMFT

Assistant Professor

Relationship Education and Resilience Specialist

4101 Beryl Road, 240Q


Dr. Sudha Sankar is a licensed family therapist (LMFT) and human development and systems professional with expertise in leading the design, development, and evaluation of programs in health, mental health, and community agency settings. Dr. Sankar’s research focuses on applying family science, particularly the science behind relational interventions to address pressing health, mental health and relational health challenges in minority communities. She has a specific interest in understanding and leveraging culturally innate relational assets and mechanisms of resilience to develop more sustainable interventions and thereby bridge gender, racial, and age-related disparities in wellbeing.

Dr. Sankar received her PhD in Human Development and Family Studies from Michigan State University with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy. She has previously set up served as the Coordinator for the Interpersonal Conflict and Violence Initiative housed in the Couple and Family Therapy Clinic and as an evaluation specialist for the Research Consortium of Gender Based Violence at Michigan State University. She uses she/her and them/they pronouns.

Programs and Initiatives

  • Prevention of violence and healthy relationship and sexual development
  • Intergenerational programs to promote wellbeing across the lifespan
  • Assessment and diversion protocols for effective service provision

Primary Teaching Responsibilities

  • AEHS 585: Professional Ethics and Family Policy

Contributing Websites

Professional Honors/Offices/Recognitions

Selected Publication

  • Johnson, D. J., Thelamour, B., Sankar, S., & Dimitrova, R. (2021). Reframing the Narrative. Roma Minority Youth Across Cultural Contexts: Taking a Positive Approach to Research, Policy, and Practice, 109.
  • Sankar, S., McCauley, H. L., Johnson, D. J., & Thelamour, B.  (2019). Gender & Sexual Prejudice and Subsequent Development of Dating Violence: Intersectionality among Youth.  In H. E. Fitzgerald, D. J. Johnson, D. B. Qin, F. Villarruel, & J. Norton (Eds).  Handbook on Children and Prejudice: Integrating research, practice and policy. Springer Press.
  • Sankar, S., Monta, N., Nichols, E., Carolan, M. & Escobar-Chew A.R. (2019). Addressing Couple Violence in Therapy Training Clinics: A Human-Centered Approach to Systems Intervention Design. Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, 1-23.
  • Stauch, T. A., Plavnick, J. B., Sankar, S., & Gallagher, A. C. (2018). Teaching social perception skills to adolescents with autism and intellectual disabilities using video‐based group instruction. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. 
  • Gorman, L. A., Huebner, A. J., Hirschfeld, M. K., Sankar, S., Blow, A. J., Guty, D. Kees., M. & Ketner, J. S (2016). A Comparative Case Study of Risk, Resiliency, and Coping Among Injured National Guard. Military Medicine, 181, 5:70.


BS Psychology University of Madras

PGDip Psychology James Cook University

MS Psychology Pittsburg State University

PhD Human Development and Family Studies Michigan State University

Area(s) of Expertise

  • Relational Interventions - Development and evaluation
  • Evidence Based Practices & Interventions
  • Culturally Centered Research and Practice
  • Assessment and diversion protocols for effective service provision
  • Research methods
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Healthy Relationship and Sexual development
  • Family & Sexual Violence