Gary Christenson

Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry

Gary Christenson

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-624-4690

Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry

MD, MD, University of Minnesota Medical School (1986)

Residency, Adult Psychiatry, University of Minnesota Medical School (1987-1990)

Fellowship, Mood Disorders, University of Minnesota Mood Disorders Clinic (1989)

Internship, Hennepin County Medical Center (1987)


Dr. Christenson is Chief Medical Officer at Boynton Health, the student health service for the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus. His interests include college mental health, public health, and arts and medicine.

Awards & Recognition

  • Alpha Omega Alpha 
  • Distinguished Fellow, American Psychiatric Association
  • Access Achievement Award, U of MN Office for Equity and Diversity
  • Award for Excellence in International Leadership in Arts and Health, Arts and Health Australia
  • University of Minnesota President’s Award for Outstanding Service


Research Summary/Interests

Dr. Christenson's early research focused on trichotillomania and impulse control disorders. Since joining Boynton Health in 1995, his interests have focused on college mental health and the intersection and application of the arts to medicine.


Christenson GA, Mackenzie TB, Mitchell JE. Chronic hair pulling: a descriptive study of 60 adult subjects. American Journal of Psychiatry, 1991; 148:365-370. (Abstracted in Psychiatry Digest, 1991: 7:20-21.)

Christenson GA, Faber RJ, de Zwaan M, Raymond NC, Specker SM, Eckern MD, Mackenzie TB, Crosby RD, Crow SJ, Eckert ED, Mussell MB, Mitchell JE. Compulsive Buying: Descriptive characteristics and psychiatric comorbidity. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 1994; 55:5-11.

Stein D, Christenson GA, Hollander E, Editors. Trichotillomania. Stein D.J, Christenson GA, Hollander E. eds. Washington D.C., American Psychiatric Press, 1999

Christenson GA. Trichotillomania, in New Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry. Edited by Gelder MG, Lopez-Iber JJ, and Andreason NC. Oxford University Press. Oxford 2000: 986-990.

Christenson GA. Why we need the Arts in Medicine. Minnesota Medicine, 2011; 49-51

Christenson, GA. Assessment and treatment of trichotillomania. In Oxford Handbook of Impulse Control Disorders. Edited by Grant JE, Potenza MN. Oxford University Press, 2011: 313-333

Silverman MJ, Christenson GA, Golden D, Chaput-Mcgovrn J. Effects of Live Music on Satisfaction of Students Waiting for Treatment in a University Health Clinic. Music Therapy 2012, 30(1): 65-73

Christenson GA. Cirque De-Stress. Minnesota Medicine, 2013, 42-44

Christenson GA. Conceptualizing the arts as tools for medicine and public health. Journal of Applied Arts & Health 2013, 4(3): 247-264


Board Certifications