Kelly Elliott portrait

Kelly Lavin Elliott

Research Faculty, Perinatal to Five Specialty, PsyD Program

  • Faculty

What I do

Dr. Elliott's career objective is to create sustainable growth-inspiring environments for children to flourish and thrive within. Dr. Elliott's research has highlighted the importance of supporting the whole caregiving environment to carry out this objective. Therefore, she is passionate about supporting the mental health well-being of children, caregivers, teachers, and healthcare/service providers.

At DU, Dr. Elliott developed and leads the Baby S.T.E.P.S. Lab (Supporting Teachers, Educators, Parents, and Service providers). She designs, implements, and evaluates play-based programs to support child social-emotional development and strengthen caregiver-child relationships. Dr. Elliott also designs and leads the facilitation of training programs for healthcare providers and graduate students. In addition, Dr. Elliott is an Integration of Working Models of Attachment Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (IoWA PCIT) certified trainer and provider, which is an integrated attachment and behavioral approach to strengthen caregiver-child relationships and decrease challenging child behaviors. Dr. Elliott is also the co-Principal Investigator of the Colorado RULER study which focuses on implementing an evidence-based social-emotional learning curriculum in preschools across the state. RULER teaches the adults in the school system the same skills children learn to ensure the sustainability of programmatic effects. Furthermore, Dr. Elliott serves as a child development consultant to several child-focused community and national organizations/businesses. This year Dr. Elliott is a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Faculty Fellow at DU. Finally, Dr. Elliott is completing a graduate certificate in Organizational Development with a concentration in Organizational Leadership to strengthen my leadership abilities and support the well-being of staff, faculty, and graduate students that are providing services and support to the community.

WePlay and Nosotros Jugamos:

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COST program:

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Professional Biography

Dr. Elliott is an Assistant Research Professor in the Graduate School of Professional Psychology at the University of Denver. Dr. Elliott is a developmental psychologist and received her Ph.D. and a master's degree with a specialization in Children, Families, and Cultures from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Dr. Elliott holds a second master’s degree in Counseling Psychology Clinical Mental Health from the DU. Prior to Dr. Elliott's faculty appointment, Dr. Elliott completed a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship in infant/early childhood mental health program evaluation research at DU. Dr. Elliott joins DU following her Research Associate position at Georgetown University’s Center for Child Development in the Early Childhood Division. At Georgetown, Dr. Elliott was involved in numerous federally funded applied programmatic projects aimed to support maternal and infant/early childhood social-emotional development.

Licensure / Accreditations

  • Organizational Development
  • Integration of Working Models of Attachment Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (IoWA PCIT) co-Trainer
  • Endorsed Research Faculty and Mentor in Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health- Received Level 4 Endorsement


Dr. Elliott is a committed developmental psychopathologist conducting applied clinical science research to best support positive child development outcomes and the mental health well-being of expectant caregivers and caregivers with young children.