Meet Our Researchers

 

Our team of researchers investigate the causes of children’s mental health conditions, and seek the best treatments to improve the wellbeing of children and their families. Researchers collaborate on projects that aim to improve diagnostics, testing and evaluation, patient care, therapies and interventions. They are committed to applying their findings to evidence-based clinical practice.

Staff Psychologist, Rhode Island Hospital

Background Information

Sara Becker, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of adolescents with emotional, behavioral, and substance use problems. She has been an assistant professor (research) at The Warren Alpert Medical School, a staff psychologist at Rhode Island Hospital, and the Co-Director of the Adolescent Mood and Stress Clinic since 2011.

Becker is a graduate of Dartmouth College. She earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from Duke University and completed her residency at Harvard Medical School’s McLean Hospital. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Alcohol and Addictions Studies at Brown University.

Research Interests

Becker’s research focuses on the evaluation and dissemination of effective treatment for adolescents with substance use and co-occurring mental health problems. With funding from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), Becker is currently evaluating new ways to market adolescent substance abuse therapy to families. Becker has also served as a Co-Investigator on several studies focused on improving the delivery of treatment to adolescents with mood disorders.

Selected Publications

Becker, S. J., & Curry, J. F. (2007). Interactive effect of substance abuse and depression on adolescent social competence. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 36, 469-475.

Becker, S. J., & Curry, J. F. (2008). Outpatient interventions for adolescent substance abuse: A quality of evidence review. [Featured article] Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76, 531-544.

Becker, S. J., Curry, J. F., Yang, C. (2009). Longitudinal association between frequency of use and quality of life among adolescent substance abusers. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 23, 482-490.

Becker, S. J., Curry, J. F., & Yang, C. (2011). Factors that influence trajectories of change in frequency of use and quality of life among adolescents receiving a brief intervention. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 41, 294 – 304.

Becker, S. J., Stein, G. L., Curry, J. F., & Hersh, J. (2012). Ethnic differences among substance abusing adolescents in a treatment dissemination project. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 42, 328 – 336.

Becker, S. J., Nargiso, J., Wolff, J., Uhl, K, Simon, V., Spirito, A., & Prinstein, M. (2012). Temporal relationship between substance use and delinquent behavior among psychiatrically hospitalized early adolescents. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 43, 251 – 259.

Becker, S. J., Hernandez, L, Smith, C., & Spirito, A. (2012). Adolescent substance use trajectories following a brief motivational intervention in an emergency department. Drug Abuse and Dependence, 125, 103 – 109. For

More Information

Clinical Director, Pediatric Partial Program

John Boekamp, PhD, is clinical director of the Pediatric Partial Hospital Program at Bradley Hospital, a family-centered, intensive day treatment program for very young children (newborn to age 6) who have serious emotional, behavioral or relationship disturbances. He is also clinical assistant professor of the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.  

Boekamp earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and his doctorate in clinical psychology from Case Western Reserve University. He completed his predoctoral clinical psychology internship at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Boekamp completed a fellowship in child and adolescent psychopathology at the Cambridge Hospital, Harvard Medical School and a postdoctoral fellowship in child and adolescent clinical psychology at Bradley Hospital and the Brown University clinical psychology training consortium.  He joined the staff of Bradley Hospital in 1999 and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in 2000. Boekamp has been awarded the Brown Medical School Dean ‘s Excellence in Teaching Award  and Teaching Recognition Award for his work with residents and postdoctoral fellows in clinical psychology and psychiatry. He has also served as Co-director of the Bradley Hospital Fire Safe Families Program and was Vice Chair of the Rhode Island Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Coalition.

Research Interests

Boekamp’s current clinical and research interests focus on serious emotional, behavioral and relationship disturbances in early childhood, treatment outcome and program evaluation, and firesetting behavior in childhood. Boekamp’s interests also include the linkages between emotional development and relationship functioning and the development of psychopathology in early childhood, as well as how emotion and relationship factors relate to treatment process and outcome in an intensive day treatment program.

He has presented extensively to professional organizations within Rhode Island in the areas of juvenile firesetting, early childhood feeding disorders, attachment disorders and day treatment for young children.

Selected Publications

Barreto, S. J., Boekamp, J.R., Armstrong, L. M., & Gillen, P.  (2004).  Community-based interventions for juvenile firestarters: A brief family-centered model. Psychological Services, 1, 158-168.

Martin, S.D., Boekamp, J.R., McConville, D.W., & Wheeler, E.E. (2010).  Anger and sadness perception in clinically referred preschoolers: Emotion processes and externalizing behavior symptoms. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 41, 30-46.

Barreto, S. J., Zeff, K., Boekamp, J.R., & Paccione-Dyszlewski, M.  (2007). Fire behavior in children and adolescents, Lewis’ Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, (4th ed), 483-493.

Boekamp, J.R., & Martin, S.E. (2010). Maintaining Young Children with Severe Behavioral Problems at Home: A Case for Psychiatric Partial Hospital Treatment. The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter, 26 (9), 1-6.  

Boekamp, J. (2008). Reactive Attachment Disorder: Current perspectives on diagnosis and treatment considerations.  The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter,  24 (8), 1-7. 

Co-Director, Pediatric Sleep Disorders Clinic

Julie Boergers, PhD, specializes in integrated behavioral health approaches for pediatric medical problems. She is the co-director of the Pediatric Sleep Disorders Clinic, the co-director of the Psychology Liaison Program for Pediatric Oncology, and a member of the feeding team in the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology. Dr. Boergers has been awarded The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University Teaching Recognition Award for her outstanding clinical and research training of residents and fellows in psychology, psychiatry and pediatrics.

Dr. Boergers graduated magna cum laude from the University of Rochester with a bachelor's degree in psychology. She earned her master's and doctorate in child clinical psychology from the University of Denver. She completed an internship in child clinical/pediatric psychology at Children's National Medical Center, and a fellowship in pediatric psychology at Brown Medical School before joining the faculty in 1998.

Research Interests

Dr. Boergers' research program focuses on sleep patterns of children with chronic illnesses (including cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and asthma), as well as the effect of childhood sleep disruption on family and academic functioning. She also has longstanding research interests in the area of adolescent health risk behavior, including smoking and suicidal behavior.

Selected Publications

  • Boergers, J., & Koinis-Mitchell, D. (2010).  Sleep and culture in children with medical conditions.  Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 35, 915-926. 

  • Gilman, S.E., Rende, R., Boergers, J., Abrams, D.B., Buka, S.L., Clark, M.A., Colby, S.M., Hitsman, B., Kazura, A.N., Lipsitt, L.P., Lloyd-Richardson, E.E., Rogers, M.L., Stanton, C.A., Stroud, L.R., & Niaura, R.S. (2009).  Parental smoking and adolescent smoking initiation: an intergenerational perspective on tobacco control. Pediatrics, 123(2), e274-81. 

Director of Research, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Larry Brown, MD, is an expert on adolescents with HIV or AIDS, especially those with associated psychological issues or substance abuse problems. He is an authority on risk behaviors among teenagers, and prevention programs for them.

Brown, a child psychiatrist, began his research into children's knowledge and attitudes about AIDS shortly after he came to Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University in 1987. Since then, he has published more than 50 articles and book chapters, the majority on issues having to do with AIDS/HIV education and prevention.

Brown has given more than 70 presentations, nationally and internationally, on the subject of adolescents and unsafe sex, dating violence, sexual abuse and other risk behaviors. He sits on the editorial board of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Prior to Brown's appointment as director of research, he served as director of child and adolescent psychiatry outpatient services for Rhode Island and Bradley hospitals.

Brown graduated from the University of Maryland and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He received his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and did his residency as well as a fellowship in child psychiatry at Stanford University Medical Center.

Research Interests

Brown has participated as principal investigator or co-investigator in 12 grant-funded research projects. The three most recent, all funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, are all explorations of a variety of AIDS prevention and safer sex programs for adolescents with psychiatric disorders. The total funding for the three projects, for which Brown is principal investigator, amounts to $10.6 million.

Selected Publications

  • Self-cutting and sexual risk among adolescents in intesive psychiatric treatment
     
  • Promoting safer sex among HIV-positive youth with haemophilia: theory, intervention, and outcome
     
  • Predictors of retention among HIV/hemophilia health care professionals
     
  • Impact of sexual abuse on the HIV-risk-related behavior of adolescents in intensive psychiatric treatment
     
  • Heroin use in adolescents and young adults admitted for drug detoxification
     
  • Children and adolescents living with HIV and AIDS: A review
     

 

Director, Chronobiology and Sleep Research Laboratory

Mary A. Carskadon, PhD, is director of chronobiology and sleep research at Bradley Hospital and a diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine. She is an expert in sleep patterns, particularly in children and adolescents.  Carskadon is a past president of the Sleep Research Society and organized the Women in Sleep Research interest group of the Sleep Research Society. She is a co-founder of the Northeastern Sleep Society and has served on the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research advisory board and as a member of the Development and Behavior Working Group of the National Children's Study. She is a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors, National Space Biomedical Research Institute. Carskadon is an associate editor of Behavioral Sleep Medicine.

Carskadon received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Gettysburg College and her doctoral degree with distinction in neuro- and biobehavioral sciences from Stanford University, with a specialty in sleep research.

Research Interests

Mary A. Carskadon's research focus includes circadian rhythms and puberty; changes in how sleep pressure functions in adolescents; the role of morning-type or evening-type preference on sleep behaviors; sleep loss and genetic predictors of depressed mood in college students; and sleep patterns and food intake. Her research includes examining associations of sleep regulatory mechanisms to sleep/wake behavior of children, adolescents, and young adults and her findings have raised public health issues regarding consequences of insufficient sleep in adolescents and concerns about early school start times. Her research has also examined the genetic contributions to these processes and the association of chronic sleep restriction with development of depressed mood.

Recent research has also focused on circadian rhythms in adolescents as a function of puberty; the role of circadian phase preference on daytime sleepiness patterns; and the influence of alcohol use and the history of parental alcohol use on sleep patterns and circadian rhythms of young people.

Carskadon has been featured in numerous news stories and programs, including Discovery Health, PBS "Frontline," and programs of the BBC and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She has written many scientific papers and is an elected fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Honors

  • Sigma Xi, Scientific Research Society, elected to Brown University Chapter 1994.
  • Nathaniel Kleitman Distinguished Service Award "…to honor service in the field of sleep research and sleep disorders medicine, especially generous and altruistic efforts in the areas of administration, public relations, and legislation," American Sleep Disorders Association, 1991.
  • Distinguished Alumni Award, Gettysburg College, 1995.a
  • Doctor of Sciences, Honorary Degree, Gettysburg College, 1999.
  • President, Sleep Research Society, 1999-2000.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, National Sleep Foundation, 2003.
  • Mark O. Hatfield Public Policy Award, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 2003.
  • Benchmarks of Excellence Award for Academic Excellence (to the Sleep Laboratory), Bradley Hospital, 2003.
  • Outstanding Educator Award of the Sleep Research Society, 2005 [Award named the Mary A. Carskadon Outstanding Educator Award.]
  • Distinguished Scientist Award of the Sleep Research Society, 2007.
  • Fellow, Association for Psychological Science (APS), 2007.

Selected Publications

  • Tarokh, L. and Carskadon, M.A. Sleep in adolescents. In Squire, L.R. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, volume 8. Academic Press, Oxford, pp 1015-1022, 2009. Article re-printed in R.

  • Stickgold and M. Walker (Eds.), The Neuroscience of Sleep. Oxford: Elsevier, 2009. Carskadon, M.A. and Tarokh, L. Sleep in child and adolescent development. In Klockars, M. and Porkka-Heiskanen, T. (Eds.) The Many Aspects of Sleep. Acta Gyllenbergiana VIII. Helsinki: The Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation, pp 89-100, 2009.

  • Carskadon, M.A. Maturation of processes regulating sleep in adolescents. In Marcus, C.L., Carroll, J.L., Donnelly, D.F., and Loughlin, G.M. (Eds.), Sleep in Children, Second Edition. Informa Healthcare USA, New York, pp 95-114, 2008.

  • Sørensen, E., Carskadon, M.A., and Ursin, R. Sleep across the life cycle. In Butkov N and Lee-Chiong TL (eds.). Fundamentals of Sleep Technology. Lipincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, pp 33-39, 2007.

  • Jenni, O.G. and Carskadon, M.A. Sleep behavior and sleep regulation from infancy through adolescence: Normative aspects. In Jenni, O.G. and Carskadon, M.A. (Guest Eds.) Sleep Medicine Clinics: Sleep in Children and Adolescents. Philadelphia. W.B. Saunders (Elsevier), Philadephia, pp. 321-329, 2007.

  • Rupp, T.L. and Carskadon, M.A. Sleep. In Feinstein S (ed) The Praeger Handbook of Learning and the Brain. Praeger Publishers, Westport, CT, pp 447-452, 2006.

  • Afifi L, Kushida C.A., Carskadon M.A. Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT). In: Kushida CA (ed.), Sleep Deprivation, Vol. 2: Clinical Issues, Pharmacology, and Sleep Loss Effects, Marcel Dekker, pp. 11-24, 2005.

  • Carskadon, M.A. Sleep and circadian rhythms in children and adolescents: Implications for athletic performance of young people. Clin Sports Med 24:319-328, 2005. PMID: 15892926

  • Jenni, O.J. and Carskadon, M.A. Infants to adolescents. In Opp MR (ed), SRS Basics of Sleep Guide. Sleep Research Society, Westchester, IL, pp 11-20, 2005.

  • Wolfson, A.R. and Carskadon, M.A. A survey of factors influencing high school start times. NASSP Bulletin 89 (642):47-66, 2005.

  • Jenni, O.G., Van Reen, E., and Carskadon, M.A. Regional differences of the sleep electroencephalogram in adolescents. J. Sleep Res.14 (2): 141-147, 2005.

  • Taylor, D.J., Jenni, O.G., Acebo, C., and Carskadon, M.A. Sleep tendency during extended wakefulness: Insights into adolescent sleep regulation. J. Sleep Res.14 (3): 239-244, 2005.

  • Arnedt, J.T., Owens, J., Crouch, M., Stahl, J., and Carskadon, M.A. Neurobehavioral performance of residents after heavy night call vs after alcohol ingestion.JAMA 294 (9): 1025-1033, 2005.

  • Fallone, G., Acebo, C., Seifer, R., Carskadon, M.A. Experimental restriction of sleep opportunity in children: Effects on teacher ratings. Sleep 28 (12): 1561-1567, 2005.

  • Jenni, O.J., Achermann, P., and Carskadon, M.A. Homeostatic sleep regulation in adolescents. Sleep 28 (11): 446-1454, 2005.

  • Acebo, C., Sadeh, A., Seifer, R., Tzischinsky, O., Hafer, A., and Carskadon, M.A. Sleep/wake patterns derived from activity monitoring and maternal report for healthy 1- to 5-year-old children. Sleep 28 (12):1568-1577, 2005.

Director, OCD Program, Bradley Hospital

Brady Case is a child and adolescent psychiatrist whose focus is identifying and remediating gaps in the care of young people struggling with impairing mental health and substance abuse disorders. A graduate of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Program of Bradley Hospital and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Case most recently served on the faculty of New York University and conducted research for the State of New York. His many honors and awards include the Health Services Research Early Career Award from the American Psychiatric Association, the Laughlin Fellowship from the American College of Psychiatrists, and the Outstanding Resident Award from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Case received his undergraduate degree from Harvard College and his medical degree from Harvard Medical School.

Case recently became one of five child psychiatrists across the U.S. awarded a four-year grant by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry to study adolescent substance use disorders. He is currently collaborating with investigators at Brown University, the National Institutes of Health, Columbia University, New York University and the University of Pennsylvania to advance the care of young people in several core areas:

  • More accurately and rapidly identify youth most likely to never receive needed care.
  • More effectively extend treatment through new clinical programs and novel policies.
  • More rigorously evaluate the effectiveness of treatments currently provided in the community and uncover opportunities for improvement.

Selected Publications

  • Winickoff JP, Hibberd PL, Case B, Sinha P, Rigotti NA. Child hospitalization: an opportunity for parental smoking intervention. Am J Prev Med 2001;21:218-20.
  • Case BG, Himmelstein DU, Woolhandler S. No care for the caregivers: declining health insurance coverage for health personnel and their children, 1988-1998.  Am J Pub Health 2002;92:404-8.
  • Case BG, Olfson M, Marcus SC, Siegel C. Trends in the inpatient mental health treatment of children and adolescents in U.S. community hospitals, 1990 and 2000. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2007;64:89-96.
  • Case BG, Biel MG, Peselow ED, Guardino M. Reliability of personality disorder diagnosis during depression: the contribution of collateral informant reports. Acta Psychiatr Scand 2007;115:487-491.
  • Biel MB, Peselow ED, Mulcare L, Case BG, Fieve R. Continuation versus discontinuation of lithium in recurrent bipolar illness: a naturalistic study. Bipolar Disord 2007;9:435-42.
  • Choy Y, Peselow ED, Case BG, Pressman MA, Luff JA, Laje G, Paizis M, Ying P, and Guardino M. Three-year medication prophylaxis in panic disorder: to continue or discontinue? A naturalistic study. Compr Psychiatry 2007;48:419-25.
  • Pundiak TM, Case BG, Peselow ED, Mulcare L. Discontinuation of maintenance selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor monotherapy after five years of stable response: A naturalistic study. J Clin Psychiatry 2008;69:1811-1817.
  • Brodie JD, Case BG, Figueroa E, Dewey SL, Robinson JA, Wanderling JA, Laska EM. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of vigabatrin for treatment of cocaine dependence in Mexican parolees.  Am J Psychiatry 2009 2009;166(11):1269-77. Epub 2009 Aug 3.
  • Merikangas KR, He JP, Burstein M, Swendsen J, Avenevoli S, Case B, Georgiades K, Heaton L, Swanson S, Olfson M. Service utilization for lifetime mental disorders in U.S. adolescents: results of the National Comorbidity Survey-Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A). J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2011;50:32-45. Epub 2010 Dec 3.
  • Siegel CE, Haugland G, Reid-Rose LM, Laska EM, Tang D, Wanderling JA, Chambers ED, Case BG. The Nathan Kline Institute Cultural Competency Assessment Scale: Psychometrics and implications for disparity reduction.  Adm Policy Ment Health 201;38:120-30.
  • Case BG. Non-adherence: The silent majority. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2011;50:435-37.[editorial]
Director Pediatric Mood, Imaging and Neurodevelopment Research

Daniel Dickstein, MD, is the director of Bradley Hospital's Pediatric Mood, Imaging and Neurodevelopment Program (Pedi-MIND). Board certified in pediatrics, psychiatry, and child/adolescent psychiatry, he is also an associate professor of both psychiatry and human behavior as well as pediatrics at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

He was previously an assistant clinical investigator with the pediatric and developmental neuropsychiatry branch at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Dickstein earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from Brown University, and is a graduate of the school's triple board program, a combined residency in pediatrics, general psychiatry, and child and adolescent psychiatry, that leads to board eligibility in all three specialties after five years of training.

Dickstein leads Bradley's Pedi-MIND research program, which uses brain imaging techniques, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and behavioral measures to identify biological markers of psychiatric illness, including bipolar disorder in children and adolescents. Such markers could help physicians make more accurate diagnoses. Dickstein also treats outpatients at Bradley on a limited basis.

Honors

In 2009, Dickstein received a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Bio-behavioral Research Award For Innovative New Scientists (BRAINS Award), one of only seven awarded in the program's inaugural year. Dickstein is the recipient of numerous additional awards, including the NIMH's Richard J. Wyatt, MD, Memorial Fellowship Training Award for outstanding scientific accomplishment, NIMH's Mentor of the Year Award, National Institutes of Health Fellows' Award for Research Excellence, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Outstanding Resident Award. 

Selected Publications

A member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Psychiatric Association, and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dickstein has authored more than 30 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters.

Dickstein DP, Treland JE, Snow J, McClure EB, Mehta MS, Towbin KE, Pine DS, Leibenluft E. Neuropsychological Performance In Pediatric Bipolar Disorder. Biological Psychiatry 2004; 55(1): 32-39.

Milham MP, Nugent AC, Drevets WC, Dickstein DP, Leibenluft E, Ernst M, Charney DS, Pine, DS. Selective Reduction in Amygdala Volume in Pediatric Anxiety Disorders: A Voxel-Based Morphometry Investigation. Biological Psychiatry. 2005; 57(9): 961-966.

Dickstein DP, Milham MP, Nugent AC, Drevets WC, Charney DS, Pine DS, Leibenluft E. Fronto-Temporal Alterations in Pediatric Bipolar Disorder: Results of a Voxel-Based Morphometry Study. Archives of General Psychiatry. 2005; 62(7):734-741.

Dickstein DP, Rich BA, Binnstock AB, Pradella AG, Towbin KE, Pine DS, Leibenluft E. Comorbid Anxiety in Phenotypes of Pediatric Bipolar Disorder. J. of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology. 2005; 15(4): 534-48.

Dickstein DP, Garvey M, Pradella AG, Greenstein D, Sharp W, Castellanos, FX, Pine DS, Leibenluft E. Neurological Examination Abnormalities in Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Bipolar Disorder. Biological Psychiatry. 2005; 58(7): 517-24.

Dickstein DP, Leibenluft E. Emotion Regulation in Children and Adolescents: Boundaries Between Normalcy and Bipolar Disorder. Development and Psychopathology. 2006;18: 1105-1131.

Leibenluft E, Rich BA, Vinton DT, Nelson EE, Fromm SJ, Berghorst LH, Joshi P, Robb A, Schachar RJ, Dickstein DP, McClure EB, Pine DS (2005). Neural circuitry engaged during unsuccessful motor inhibition in pediatric bipolar disorder. Am J. of Psychiatry. 2007 Jan; 164(1): 52-60.

Dickstein DP, Nelson EE, McClure EB, Grimley ME, Knopf LV, Brotman MA, Rich BA, Pine DS, Leibenluft E. Cognitive Flexibility in Phenotypes of Pediatric Bipolar Disorder. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry. 2007 Mar; 46(3): 341-355. PMID:

Dickstein DP, Rich BA, Roberson-Nay R, Berghorst L, Vinton D, Pine DS, Leibenluft E. Neural Activation During Encoding of Emotional Faces in Pediatric Bipolar Disorder.Bipolar Disorders. 2007 Nov; 9(7): 679-92.

Dickstein DP, der Veen JW, Knopf L, Towbin KE, Pine DS, Leibenluft E. Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy in youth with severe mood dysregulation.Psychiatric Research: Neuroimaging. 2008 May 30; 163(1): 30-9.

Dickstein DP, Towbin KE, der Veen JW, Rich BA, Brotman MA, Knopf L, Onelio L, Pine DS, Leibenluft E. Randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial of lithium in youth with severe mood dysregulation. J Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology. J Child Adoles Psychopharmacology. 2009 Feb;19(1): 61-73.

Dickstein DP, Finger EC, Brotman MA, Rich BA, Pine DS, Blair JR, Leibenluft E. Impaired probabilistic reversal learning in youths with mood and anxiety disorders.Psychological Medicine. 2009 Oct 12: 1-12.

Dickstein DP, Gorrostieta C, Ombao H, Goldberg LD, Brazel AC, Gable CJ, Kelly C, Gee DG, Zuo XN, Castellanos FX, Milham MP. Fronto-temporal spontaneous resting state functional connectivity in pediatric bipolar disorder. Biol Psychiatry. 2010 Nov 1;68(9):839-46.

Dickstein DP, Finger EC, Skup M, Pine DS, Blair JR, Leibenluft E. Altered neural function in pediatric bipolar disorder during reversal learning. Bipolar Disord. 2010 Nov;12(7):707-19.

Director of the Bradley Hospital Early Childhood Clinical Research Center

Susan Dickstein, PhD is an associate professor at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University department of psychiatry and director of the Bradley Hospital Early Childhood Clinical Research Center (part of the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center). The center is devoted to the integration of clinical service delivery and research practice to promote optimal mental health care for young children (birth to five years old) and their families. Dickstein has pursued a thematic line of research focused on the importance of multiple levels of the family context for understanding early childhood development. Her work applies a family-focused perspective to examine processes that explain optimal and non-optimal development in infants, toddlers, and preschoolers who develop in risk contexts. 

Dickstein supervises early childhood training for clinical psychology interns and postdoctoral fellows in the Brown University Clinical Psychology Training Consortium, including community-based mental health consultation in settings that serve high-risk children and their families. She is a founding member and current president of the Rhode Island Association for Infant Mental Health.

An honors graduate of the University of Michigan, Dickstein earned her master's degree and doctorate, both in clinical psychology, from the University of Illinois.

Research Interests

Dickstein has collaborated on several NIH grants within the realm of developmental psychopathology, attachment theory, family risk, maternal depression, and early childhood mental health issues, and assessment of child outcomes in Head Start. Most recently, Dickstein is co-PI on a SAMHSA systems initiative, Project RI LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children's Health), aimed at building social-behavioral capacities into community-based early childhood systems of care in order to promote and integrate physical and behavioral health wellness. In addition, Dickstein conducts program evaluation for a variety of state-funded contracts and private foundation grants that provide community-based early childhood mental health consultation, and evidence-based parent and teacher training workshops, within child care settings serving high risk infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and their families. 

Selected Publications

Dickstein, S., Seifer, R., Albus, K.E. (2004). Attachment patterns across multiple family relationships in adulthood: Associations with maternal depression. Development and Psychopathology, 16 (3), 735-752.

McHale, J., Fivaz-Depeursinge, E., Dickstein, S., Robertson, J., & Daley, M (2008) New Evidence for the Social Embededness of Infants Early Triangular Capacities.Family Process, 47, 445-463.

Dickstein, S., Seifer, R., & Albus, K.E. (2009).  Maternal Adult Attachment Representations across Relationship Domains and Infant Outcomes: The Importance of Family and Couple Functioning. Attachment and Human Behavior, 11 (1), 5-27.

Shepard, S.A., & Dickstein, S. (2009). Preventive Intervention for Early Childhood Behavioral Problems: An Ecological Perspective. In Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America (H. Triveti, Ed.), Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (M. Gleason & D. Schecter, Guest Eds.), 18 (3), 687-706.

Gleason, M.M., Zeanah, C.H., & Dickstein, S. (2010). Recognizing young children in need of mental health assessment: Development and preliminary validity of the Early Childhood Screening Assessment. Infant Mental Health Journal, 31 (3), 1-22.

Salisbury, A.L., High, P., Chapman, H., Dickstein, S., Twomey, J., Liu, J., & Lester, B. (in press). A randomized control trial of integrated care for families managing infant colic. Infant Mental Health Journal.

 

Co-Director, Pediatric Anxiety Research Clinic

Jennifer Freeman, PhD, is the co-director of the Pediatric Anxiety Research Clinic at the Bradley/Hasbro Children's Research Center, and a staff psychologist at Rhode Island Hospital. Freeman received her bachelor's degree from Wesleyan University and her doctorate from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She completed her predoctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship in child mental health at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Research Interests

Freeman's research interests include the assessment and treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in children and adolescents, family based interventions for early childhood onset OCD, and family processes, particularly parent-child interactions, in young children with OCD.

Selected publications

·         Lehmkuhl, H. D., Storch, E. A., Rahman, O., Freeman, J., Geffken, G., & Murphy, T. (2009). Just say no: Sequential parent management and cognitive behavioral-therapy for a child with comorbid disruptive behaviors and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Clinical Case Studies, 8, 48-58.

·         Freeman, J., Choate-Summers, M., Garcia, A., Moore, P., Sapyta, J., Khanna, M., March, J., Foa, E., and Franklin, M. (2009). The Pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Treatment Study II: Rationale, Design and Methods. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 3 ArtID 4.

·         Flessner, C., Berman, N., Garcia, A., Freeman, J., & Leonard, H.  (2009).  Symptom Profiles in Pediatric Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): The Effects of Comorbid Grooming Conditions. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 23, 753-759.

·         Flessner, C.A., Allgair, A., Garcia, A., Freeman, J., & Sapyta, J. (2010).  Neuropsychological functioning in pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Depression and Anxiety, 27(4), 365-371.

·         Garcia, A.M., Sapyta, J., Moore, P.S., Freeman, J., Franklin, M., March, J.S., Foa, E.B. (2010).  Predictors of treatment outcome in the Pediatric OCD Treatment Study,Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 49(10), 1024-1033.

·         Franklin, M.E., Edson, A.L., & Freeman, J.B. (2010).  Behavior Therapy for Trichotillomania: Exploring the Effects of Age on Treatment Outcome. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 4:18.

·         Flessner, C.A., Sapyta, J., Garcia, A., Freeman, J.B., Franklin, M.E., Foa, E., and March, J.  (2011).  Examining the Psychometric Properties of the Family Accommodation Scale-Parent Report (FAS-PR). Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 33, 38-46.

·         Freeman, J.B., Flessner, C.A., Garcia, A.M. (in press) The Children's Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale: Reliability and Validity for Use Among 5 to 8 Year Olds with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.

·         Flessner, C. A., Freeman, J. B., Sapyta, J., Garcia, A., Franklin, M. E., March, J et al. (in press). Predictors of Accommodation in Pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Findings from the POTS trial. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

·         Freeman, J.B., Sapyta, J., Garcia, A., Fitzgerald, D., Khanna, M., Choate-Summers, M., Moore, P., Chrisman, A., Haff, N., Naeem, A., March, J., and Franklin, M.  (in press).  Still Struggling: Characteristics of Youth with OCD who are Partial Responders to Medication Treatment. Child Psychiatry and Human Development. 

Associate Chief, Director, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Gregory Fritz, MD graduated with honors from Brown University in 1967 and earned his medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine in 1971. From 1977 to 1985, Fritz was a faculty member in the department of psychiatry and behavioral science at Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto. During that period, he was director of consultation-liaison psychiatry at the Children’s Hospital at Stanford.

In 1985, Fritz moved to Rhode Island to build a comprehensive pediatric psychiatry service at what is now the Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Under his leadership, the program has grown to be one of the premiere academic sites for pediatric psychosomatic medicine.  His leadership roles at Brown are delineated in his CV.

Fritz has research interests that deal with mind/body interactions in chronic medical illness. He has studied the psychophysiology of asthma, asthma disparities, the psychology of physical symptoms, socio-cultural factors affecting disease management, and physician-patient interactions.

Fritz is a national leader in child and adolescent psychiatry. As president-elect (2013 – 2015) and president (2015 – 2017) of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, his focus is on the integration of medical and mental health care.  He is an advocate for mental health parity, expanding the child mental health research base, increasing access to child mental health services and expanding the workforce, and developing a more rational and effective mental health delivery system.

Clinical Director, PARC

Abbe Garcia, PhD, is the co-director of the Pediatric Anxiety Research Clinic at the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center. Garcia is a licensed clinical psychologist, with a particular interest in the treatment of pediatric anxiety disorders. She specializes in cognitive behavioral treatment for children and adolescents with anxiety disorders.

Garcia received a BA in psychology from Williams College. She did her graduate training at Temple University, completed a predoctoral internship at the Brown University clinical psychology training program, and was a postdoctoral fellow in child and pediatric psychology at The Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University.

Research Interests

Garcia’s current research interests are focused on parent-child interaction patterns and temperamental factors that may be associated with anxiety disorders in children. She is the recipient of a junior faculty training and research award from the National Institutes of Mental Health. The objective of this project is to identify and describe the inter-relationship between behavioral patterns and child psychophysiology that are associated with anxiety disorders.

Other interests include research on the assessment and treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder in children and adolescents, with particular emphasis on family-based cognitive behavioral interventions.

Selected Publications

  • Garcia, A.M., Freeman, J.B., Himle,. M., Berman, N.C., Ogata, A.K., Ng, J.S., Choate-Summers, M., Leonard, H.L. (2009).  Phenomenology of early onset obsessive compulsive disorder, Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 31 (2), 104-111.
  • Flessner, C.A., Berman, N.C., Garcia, A.M, Freeman, J.B., Leonard, H.L. (2009).  Symptom profiles on pediatric obsessive compulsive disorder: The effects of comorbid grooming conditions. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 23(6), 753-759.
  • Freeman, J. Choate-Summers, M., Garcia, A., Moore, P., Sapayta, J., Khanna, M., March, J., Foa, E., Franklin, M.  (2009).  The Pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Treatment Study II: Rationale, Design and Methods. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 3(1):4.
  • Garcia, A.M. (2010).  What does “work” mean? Reopening the debate about clinical significance. Clinical Psychology: Science & Practice, 17(1), 48-51.
  • Flessner, C.A., Allgair, A., Garcia, A., Freeman, J, Sapayta, J., Franklin, M.E., Foa, E., March, J.  (2010).  The impact of neuropsychological functioning on treatment outcome in pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Depression and Anxiety, 27(4), 365-371.
  • Chorney, J.M., Garcia, A.M., Berlin, K.S., Bakeman, R., Kain, Z.N. (2010).  Time-window sequential analysis: An introduction for pediatric psychologists, Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 35(10), 1061-70. 
  • Garcia, A.M., Sapyta, J., Moore, P.S., Freeman, J., Franklin, M., March, J.S., Foa, E.B. (2010).  Predictors of treatment outcome in the Pediatric OCD Treatment Study, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 49(10), 1024-1033.
  • Flessner, C.A., Sapyta, J., Garcia, A., Freeman, J.B., Franklin, M.E., Foa, E., & March, J. (2011). Examining the Psychometric Properties of the Family Accommodation Scale-Parent-Report (FAS-PR). Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 33, 38-46.
  • Freeman, J.B., Flessner, C.A., Garcia, A.M. (in press) The Children's Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale: Reliability and Validity for Use Among 5 to 8 Year Olds with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.
  • Freeman, J.B., Franklin, M., Garcia, A.M., Sapayta, J., March, J.M. (in press).  Still Struggling: Characteristics of Youth with OCD who are Partial Responders to Medication Treatment. Child Psychiatry and Human Development. 

 

Psychologist

Wendy Hadley, PhD, received her degree in pediatric psychology from the University of Memphis in 2003. She completed her internship and postdoctoral fellowship within the Brown University Clinical Consortium.

She joined the pediatric cardiology division at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in 2016 and is an assistant professor (research) in the Division of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. During the past 12 years Dr. Hadley has worked with a variety of pediatric patients and their families, including those affected by cancer, HIV, feeding disorders, and obesity. 

Her clinical interests include adjustment to pediatric medical conditions and disease prevention. Research interests include the prevention of health risk behavior and the use of technology in the delivery of behavioral health interventions.

Staff Psychologist

Karyn Hartz-Mandell, PhD is a clinical psychologist at Bradley Hospital and the Bradley/Hasbro Children’s Research Center. Dr. Hartz-Mandell specializes in child and family psychology. She has expertise in early childhood development and psychology. She is part of the Early Childhood Outpatient Program and leads the Incredible Years Parent Group.

Dr. Hartz-Mandell is a graduate of Cornell University. She earned her doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of Virginia and completed her predoctoral clinical internship in child and adolescent clinical psychology at the Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital. Hartz-Mandell completed an American Psychological Association clinical fellowship in early childhood mental health at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Dr. Hartz-Mandell's research interests include early childhood mental health; developmental psychopathology; teacher-child relationships; classroom interactions; early childhood mental health consultation; prevention and early intervention; implementation and evaluation of evidence-based practice in the community.

Selected Publications

Hartz, K., & Williford, A. (2015). Child Negative Emotionality and Caregiver Sensitivity Across Context: Links with Children's Kindergarten Behaviour Problems. Infant and Child Development, 24(2), 107-129.

Hartz, K., Williford, A. & Koomen, H. (2016). Changes in teachers’ perceptions of teacher-child relationships: Links with children’s observed classroom interactions. Early Education and Development.

Hartz-Mandell, K., & Shepard Umaschi, S. (2016). Classroom coaching for professional development in early care and education. The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter, 32(4).

Christopher D. Houck, PhD, has been a staff psychologist at Rhode Island Hospital and assistant professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University since 2005. He is also a former research associate at Rhode Island Hospital.

Houck received a BA in psychology with highest honors from the University of Michigan. He completed graduate studies in Clinical Psychology at the University of Florida with a concentration in Clinical Child/Pediatric Psychology.

Additional training included an APA accredited internship in Clinical Psychology at Children’s Hospital of Orange County in California and a postdoctoral Fellowship in Pediatric Psychology at Brown University’s Clinical Psychology Training Consortium.

Research Interests

Houck has been principal or co-investigator of many research studies, including several focusing on affect management for early adolescents and the development and evaluation of risk prevention interventions for at-risk early adolescents.

Selected Publications

  • Swenson, R.R., Houck, C.D., Barker, D., & Brown, L.K. (in press).Prospective analysis of the transition to sexual experience and changes in sexual self-esteem among male and female adolescents attending therapeutic schools. Journal of Adolescence.
  • Tolou-Shams, M., Houck, C.D., Conrad, S., Tarantino, N., Stein, L., & Brown, L.K. (in press). HIV prevention for juvenile drug court offenders: A randomized controlled trial focusing on affect management. Journal of Correctional Health Care.
  • Houck, C.D., Nugent, N., Lescano, C.M., Peters, A., Brown, L.K. (2010). Sexual abuse and sexual risk behavior: Beyond the impact of psychiatric problems. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 35, 473-483. PMID 19966316, PMCID: PMC2910940.
  • Lescano, C.M., Houck, C.D., Brown, L.K., Doherty, G., DiClemente, R.J., Fernandez, M.I., Pugatch, D., & Schlenger, W.E., Silver, B.J., and Project SHIELD Study Group. (2009). Correlates of heterosexual anal sex among at-risk adolescents and young adults. American Journal of Public Health, 99, 1131-1136. PMID 19008522.
  • Houck, C.D., Lescano, C., Brown, L.K., Tolou-Shams, M., Thompson, J. and Project SHIELD. (2006). “Islands of risk”: Identifying subtypes of adolescents at risk for HIV. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 31, 619-629.

 

Director of Inpatient and Intensive Services, Bradley Hospital

Jeffrey Hunt, MD, is director of inpatient and intensive services at Bradley Hospital, and professor and program director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship and Triple Board Residency Program in the department of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Dr. Hunt received his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin and trained in general and child psychiatry at the Medical College of Pennsylvania at the Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute (now Drexel University College of Medicine). Over the past 15 years, Dr. Hunt has been co-investigator on several NIMH-funded studies relating to mood and substance use disorders.

Hunt has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Harvard Macy Program for Physician Educators Teacher Scholar Award from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (2005). Hunt has also been honored with several awards from Alpert Medical School, including the Outstanding Teaching Award in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (2005-2006); the Special Recognition in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Award (2003); and the Excellence in Teaching Award for Clinical Faculty (2003).

Staff Psychologist at Rhode Island Hospital

Background Information

Barbara Jandasek, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in pediatric psychology. She has been a staff psychologist at Rhode Island Hospital since 2010 and an assistant professor at The Warren Alpert Medical School since 2011. She is a clinical supervisor for interns, residents and postdoctoral fellows in clinical psychology. She is currently the supervisor of training for the Community Asthma Program at Hasbro Children's Hospital.

Jandasek is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her doctorate in clinical psychology (with a specialty in child and family psychology) from Loyola University Chicago. She completed her residency and postdoctoral training through the Brown University Psychology Training Consortium in pediatric psychology.

Research Interests

Jandasek's research interests include health disparities, pediatric asthma and obesity, adolescent and young adult development and the transition of responsibility for illness management, qualitative methods, and intervention development.

Selected Publications

  • Jandasek, B., Holmbeck, G.N., DeLucia, C., Zebracki, K., & Friedman, D. (2009). Trajectories of family processes across the adolescent transition in youth with spina bifida. Journal of Family Psychology23, 726-738. PMID: 19803608.
  • Jandasek, B., Ortega, A.N., McQuaid, E.L., Canino, G., Koinis Mitchell, D., Colon, A., Seifer, R., Klein, R., Kopel, S., & Fritz, G.K.(In press). Health care access and use of health services for Latino children with asthma.Medical Care Research and Review.

For More Information

Program Director

Elissa Jelalian, PhD, has been a staff psychologist in the Department of Child and Family Psychiatry at Rhode Island Hospital since 1992. She is also an associate professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and Pediatrics at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Jelalian is a graduate of Brandeis University. She earned her doctorate at Miami University, and did her post-doctoral training in the Department of Child and Family Psychiatry, Rhode Island Hospital, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Research Interests

Jelalian’s research program focuses on development and implementation of innovative weight control interventions for children and adolescents, as well as evaluation of state-wide policy to promote healthier school nutrition and physical activity environments.  Her research has been supported by NIH since 1999 and has had a significant impact on the study of behavioral weight control interventions for adolescents.

Her current research investigates innovative strategies for involving parents in adolescent weight control. She is also co-PI on a NIMH treatment development grant evaluating the efficacy of cognitive behavioral intervention combined with exercise in the treatment of overweight and depressed adolescents.

Research Coordinator for the Rhode Island Consortium for Autism Research and Treatment (RI-CART)

Beth Jerskey, PhD joined the faculty at the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center in 2013. Jerskey is the research coordinator for RI-CART, whose goal is to create a statewide registry for all individuals with a diagnosis of autism or autism spectrum disorders. Licensed in clinical psychology, she is also an assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Jerskey earned her undergraduate degree at Boston College and her master’s and doctoral degrees at Boston University. She completed her clinical internship at Massachusetts General Hospital and completed a T32 postdoctoral fellowship through The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University department of psychiatry and human behavior clinical psychology training consortium.

Research Interests

Jerskey's most recent research involved the utility of neuroimaging techniques in identifying early biomarkers of disease, in addition to research exploring the subtle neuronal changes either to differentiate patient populations or to track changes over time. A separate line of research involves ethical issues related to research, specifically, the use of surrogate decision makers during the informed consent process.

Staff Psychologist, Rhode Island Hospital Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center

Kathleen Kemp, PhD, earned her doctorate in clinical psychology with a specialization in forensic psychology at Drexel University; completed her predoctoral internship at University of Massachusetts Medical School/Worcester State Hospital; and completed her forensic psychology fellowship at the University of Virginia's Institute of Law, Psychiatry, and Public Policy and Western State Hospital.

She is the director of the Rhode Island Family Court Mental Health Clinic, where she specializes in forensic mental health evaluations with adolescents in the juvenile justice system. She is active in the American Psychology-Law Society, serving on several committees; she co-chaired its international conference in Seattle in 2017.

Director of the Division of Behavioral Genetics, Department of Psychiatry

Valerie Knopik, PhD, is director of the Division of Behavioral Genetics in the department of psychiatry at Rhode Island Hospital. Her primary area of interest is the joint effects and interaction of genetic and environmental (specifically prenatal and early postnatal) risk factors on childhood externalizing behavior (for example, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD], conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder), and associated learning and cognitive deficits. She received her doctoral degree in psychology and behavioral genetics from the Institute for Behavioral Genetics and the University of Colorado, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in psychiatric genetics and genetic epidemiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.

Research Interests

Knopik's primary research is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and focuses on the effects of prenatal tobacco exposure and genetics on neuropsychological outcomes and ADHD. She is also involved as a co-investigator in a number of research grants from NIDA, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the National Institute of Mental Health to support research on genetic effects on a range of outcomes such as cannabis dependence, sleep, and alcohol use disorder. She has received numerous honors and awards for her research, including a NIDA Genetics Workgroup Sponsorship Award and the Behavior Genetics Association Fuller and Scott Early Career Award.

Awards

  • 2002 - Research Society for Alcoholism Junior Investigator Award
  • 2002 - Research Society for Alcoholism Enoch Gordis Research Recognition Award finalist
  • 2002 - present - National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Program Awardee
  • 2003 - Research Society for Alcoholism Junior Investigator Award
  • 2003 - Research Society for Alcoholism Enoch Gordis Research Recognition Award finalist
  • 2003 - ADHD Molecular Genetics Network Travel Award
  • 2006 - Research Excellence Award, Brown University
  • 2007 - NIDA Genetics Workgroup Sponsorship Award, "Prenatal drug exposure: Effects on neuropsychological outcomes"
  • 2007 - Fuller and Scott Early Career Award, Behavior Genetics Association
  • 2009 - Young Alumna Award for Outstanding Achievement Early in Career, Wesleyan College

Selected Publications

  • Knopik, V.S., DeFries, J.C., and Alarcón, M. (1996). Gender differences in cognitive abilities of opposite-sex and same-sex twin pairs with reading disability. Annals of Dyslexia 46, 241-257.
  • Knopik, V.S., Alarcón, M., and DeFries, J.C. (1997). Comorbidity of mathematics and reading deficits: Evidence for a genetic etiology. Behavior Genetics 27(5), 447-453.
  • Knopik, V.S., Alarcón, M., and DeFries, J.C., (1998). Common and specific gender influences on individual differences in reading performance: A twin study.Personality and Individual Differences 25 269-277.
  • Knopik, V.S. and DeFries, J.C. (1998). A twin study of gender-influenced individual differences in general cognitive ability. Intelligence 26(2), 81-89.
  • Knopik, V.S. and DeFries, J.C. (1999). Etiology of covariation between reading and mathematics performance: A twin study. Twin Research 2, 226-234.
  • Alarcón, M., Knopik, V.S., and DeFries, J.C. (2000). Covariation of mathematics achievement and general cognitive ability. Journal of School Psychology 38(1), 63-77.
  • Davis, C.J., Knopik, V.S., Wadsworth, S.J., and DeFries, J.C. (2000). Self-reported reading problems in parents of twins with and without reading difficulties. Twin Research 3(2), 88-91.
  • Wadsworth, S.J., Knopik, V.S., and DeFries, J.C. (2000). Reading disability in boys and girls: No evidence for a differential genetic etiology. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 13 133-145.
  • Davis, C.J., Knopik, V.S., Olson, R.K., Wadsworth, S.J., and DeFries, J.C. (2001). Genetic and environmental influences on rapid naming and reading ability: A twin study. Annals of Dyslexia 51, 231-247.
  • Davis, C.J., Gayán, J., Knopik, V.S., Smith, S.D., Cardon, L.R., Pennington, B.F., Olson, R.K., and DeFries, J.C. (2001). Etiology of reading difficulties and rapid naming: The Colorado Twin Study. Behavior Genetics 31(6), 625-635.
  • Willcutt, E.G., Pennington, B.F., Smith, S.D., Cardon, L.R., Gayán, J., Knopik, V.S., Olson, R.K., and DeFries, J.C. (2002). Quantitative trait locus for reading disability on chromosome 6p is pleiotropic for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Neuropsychiatric Genetics 114, 260-268.
  • Knopik, V.S., Smith, S.D., Cardon, L.R., Pennington, B.F., Gayán, J., Olson, R.K., and DeFries, J.C. (2002). Differential genetic etiology of reading component processes as a function of IQ. Behavioral Genetics 32(3), 181-198.
  • Heath, A.C., Knopik, V.S., Madden, P.A.F., Neuman, R.J., Lynskey, M.J., Slutske, W.S., Jacob, T., and Martin, N.G. (2003). Accuracy of mothers' retrospective reports of smoking during pregnancy: Comparison with twin sister informant ratings. Twin Research 6(4), 297-301.
  • Nelson, E.C., Heath A.C., Bucholz, K.K., Madden, P.A.F., Fu, Q., Knopik, V.S., Lynskey, M.T., Whitfield, J.B., Statham, D.J., and Martin, N.G. (2004). The genetic epidemiology of alcoholic blackouts. Archives of General Psychiatry 61(3), 257-263.
  • Knopik, V.S., Heath, A.C., Madden, P.A.F., Bucholz, K.K., Slutske, W.S., Nelson, E.C., Statham, D., Whitfield, J.B., and Martin, N.G. (2004). Genetic effects on alcohol dependence risk: Re-evaluating the importance of psychiatric and other heritable risk factors. Psychological Medicine 34, 1519-1530.
  • Romeis, J.C., Grant, J.D., Knopik, V.S., Pederson, N.L., and Heath, A.C. (2004). The genetics of middle-age spread in middle-class males. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 7(6), 596-602.
  • Knopik, V.S., Sparrow, E.P., Madden, P.A.F., Bucholz, K.K., Hudziak, J.J., Reich W., Slutske, W.S., Grant, J.D., McLaughlin, T.L., Todorov, A., Todd, R.D., and Heath, A.C. (2005). Contributions of parental alcoholism, prenatal substance exposure, and genetic transmission to child ADHD risk: A female twin study. Psychological Medicine 35(5), 625-635.
  • Lynskey, M.T., Nelson, E.C., Neuman, R., Bucholz, K.K., Madden, P.A.F., Knopik, V.S., Slutske, W., Whitfield, J., Martin, N.G., Heath, A.C. (2005). Limitations of DSM-IV operationalizations of alcohol abuse and dependence in a sample of Australian twins. Twin Research and Human Genetics 8(6), 574-584.
  • Knopik, V.S., Heath, A.C., Jacob, T., Slutske, W.S., Bucholz, K.K., Madden, P.A.F., Waldron, M., Martin, N.G. (2006). Maternal alcohol use disorder and offspring ADHD: Disentangling genetic and environmental effects using a children-of-twins design. Psychological Medicine 36(10), 1461-1472.
  • Ray, L. Rhee, S.H., Stallings, M.C., Knopik, V.S., Hutchison, K.E. (2007). Examining the heritability of tension reduction after cigarette smoking: Results from an experimental twin study. Twin Research and Human Genetics 10, 546-553.
  • Agrawal, A., Knopik, V.S., Pergadia, M.L., Waldron, M., Bucholz, K.K., Martin, N.G., Madden, P.A.F., Heath, A.C. (2008). Evaluating measured correlates of cigarette smoking during pregnancy and its genetic and environmental overlap with smoking progression. Nicotine and Tobacco Research 10(4), 567-78.
  • Knopik, V.S. (2009). Maternal smoking during pregnancy and child outcomes: Real or spurious effect? Developmental Neuropsychology 34, 1-36.
  • Knopik, V.S., Jacob, T., Haber, R., Swenson, L.P., Howell, D. (2009a). Paternal alcoholism and offspring ADHD problems: A children-of-twins design. Twin Research and Human Genetics 12(1), 53-62.
  • Knopik, V.S., Heath, A.C., Bucholz, K.K., Madden, P.A.F., Waldron, M. (2009b; E-Pub ahead of print). Genetic and environmental influences on externalizing behavior and alcohol problems in adolescence: A female twin study. Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior. DOI information: 10.1016/j.pbb.2009.03.011
  • Esposito-Smythers, C., Spirito, A., Rizzo, C., McGeary, J.E., Knopik, V.S. (2009; E-Pub ahead of print). Associations of the DRD2 TaqIA polymorphism with impulsivity and substance use: Preliminary results from a clinical sample of adolescents. Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior. DOI information: 10.1016/j.pbb.2009.03.012
  • Miranda Jr., R., Ray, L., Justus, A., Meyerson, L.A., Knopik, V.S., McGeary, J., Monti, P.M. (in press). Initial evidence of an association between OPRM1 and adolescent alcohol misuse. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
  • DeFries, J.C., Knopik, V.S., and Wadsworth, S.J. (1999). Colorado Twin Study of Reading Disability. In D.D. Duane (Ed.), Reading and attention disorder: Neurobiological correlates (pp. 17-41). Baltimore, Maryland: York Press.
  • Wadsworth, S.J., Davis, C.J., Knopik, V.S., Willcutt, E.G., and DeFries, J.C. (2002). Genetics of reading disabilities. In I. Arcolini and G. Zardini (Eds.) I disturbi di apprendimento della lettura e della scittura (p.23-35). Milan, Italy: FrancoAngeli.

 

Clinical Psychologist

Background Information

Daphne Koinis-Mitchell, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist with an interest in pediatric psychology. She has a particular interest in working with urban children with chronic illnesses and psychological concerns. She is currently the director of education for the Community Asthma Program at Hasbro Children's Hospital and she is the Principal Investigator of several NIH-funded studies focusing on cultural and contextual factors affecting disease management behaviors and morbidity in urban children.

Koinis-Mitchell received her BA from Boston College. She completed her graduate work at Columbia University and the University of Massachusetts.

Research Interests

Koinis-Mitchell's primary research interests involve the examination of how urban living and cultural factors impact children and families' chronic disease management. She has focused much of her research on pediatric asthma health disparities, given the prevalence of asthma in urban settings and ethnic minority groups. She applies a resilience-based theoretical framework to her research. Koinis-Mitchell is the principal investigator of a study funded by the National Institutes of Health that examines the co-occurrence of sleep quality and academic performance in urban children who have asthma and allergic rhinitis, as well as healthy children.

Director of Child Psychology, Rhode Island Hospital/Hasbro Children's Hospital

Debra Lobato Barrera, PhD, joined the staff of Rhode Island Hospital in 1984. She is the director of child psychology at Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital and professor of psychiatry and human behavior (clinical) at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She also serves as the associate director of the division of clinical psychology in the medical school. She is the founder and director of SibLink, an internationally recognized program for siblings of children with chronic illness and developmental disability.

Lobato is active in the development of integrated medical and behavioral health services to address pediatric problems. She co-directs the bio-behavioral research and clinical services in the division of pediatric gastroenterology in the department of pediatrics at Hasbro Children's Hospital, and maintains active clinical leadership and service within the departments of psychiatry and pediatrics.

Lobato participates on numerous committees and was one of the founding members of the Clinical Psychology Diversity Committee. She has been particularly committed to advancing research and training on issues of culture, diversity, and health disparities. Lobato has been awarded the Brown Medical School Distinguished Teacher Award and Excellence in Teaching Award for her outstanding teaching and supervision of medical school interns, residents, and postdoctoral fellows in clinical psychology, psychiatry, and pediatrics.

Research Interests

Lobato's research focuses on the needs of children and families affected by chronic illness and disability. She has received support from the National Institute of Health, the Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Foundation, the Hassenfeld Foundation, and the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown. Recent studies have examined how cultural factors affect family and sibling relationships and adjustment to disability, and how siblings participate in the care of children with a variety of chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, and GI disorders. Lobato is currently leading a multi-site study examining how psychological and behavioral factors, such as depression and adherence, impact care and outcomes in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease. 

Lobato graduated magna cum laude from Queens College of the City University of New York in 1976 with a bachelor's degree in psychology. She earned her master's and doctorate degrees in psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Staff Psychologist
Christine M. Low, PhD is a staff psychologist with Bradley Hospital, providing clinical service, research collaboration, and supervision of predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees and medical residents at the Bradley/Hasbro Children's Research Center and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Low earned her doctoral degree in child clinical psychology from The Pennsylvania State University. She completed her predoctoral clinical internship at the University of  Washington School of Medicine and her postdoctoral fellowship in Early Childhood at Bradley Hospital and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She joined the faculty at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in 2005.

Research Interests

Low’s research interests are in the area of developmental psychopathology; early childhood mental health; development of children and families in high-risk contexts; parent-child relationships and family functioning; early childhood community-based mental health consultation; child care health consultation, and program evaluation.

Selected Publications

Baker, B.L., McIntyre, L.L., Blacher, J., Crnic, K., Edelbrock, C., & Low, C. (2003). Preschool children with and without developmental delay: Behavior problems and parenting stress over time.  Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 47, 217 – 230.

Brown, E. and Low, C. M. (2008). Chaotic living conditions and sleep problems associated with children’s responses to academic challenge. Journal of Family Psychology, 22 (6), 920-923.

Coyne, L.W., Low, C.M., Miller, A.L., Seifer, R., & Dickstein, S. (2007). Mothers' empathic understanding of their toddlers: Associations with maternal depression and sensitivity. The Journal of Child and Family Studies, 16 (4) 483-497.

Parker, J.G., Low, C.M., Walker, A.R., Gamm, B.K. (2005). Friendship jealousy in young adolescents: Individual differences and links to sex, self-esteem, aggression, and social adjustment. Developmental Psychology, 41, 235-250.

 

Director, Developmental Disorders Genetics Research Program

Eric Morrow received his PhD in genetics and neurodevelopment at Harvard University and his medical degree from the Health Science Training Program at MIT and Harvard Medical School.

During this medical training, Dr. Morrow developed a strong interest in the scientific challenges posed by childhood neuropsychiatric disorders. He conducted further clinical and scientific training in neurology and psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Morrow was MGH Rappaport Neuroscience Scholar and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School prior to coming to Brown University as assistant professor, department of molecular biology, cell biology and biochemistry.

Most recently, Dr. Morrow was one of 102 recipients of the 2017 Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering—the government’s highest honor for a young scientist. The award was bestowed in recognition of his work on understanding and improving treatments for psychiatric conditions including autism and severe intellectual disability.  President Barack Obama said in the announcement, “These innovators are working to help keep the United States on the cutting edge, showing that federal investments in science lead to advancements that expand our knowledge of the world around us and contribute to our economy.”

 

Director of Forensic Psychiatry, Rhode Island Hospital

As director of forensic psychiatry at Rhode Island Hospital and its Hasbro Children's Hospital, Wade Myers, MD, focuses on child, adolescent and family psychiatry issues that involve the legal system. Dr. Myers is also a clinical professor in the department of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

Dr. Myers is board-certified in psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, and forensic psychiatry. He is the author of more than 100 scientific publications and the book Juvenile Sexual Homicide. His primary research interests are in juvenile and adult homicide. Dr. Myers serves on the editorial boards of several journals and is active in organizational psychiatry. He is a member of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law’s (AAPL) Ethics Committee and International Relations Committee. He has served as a forensic psychiatry consultant to attorneys and courts on a broad range of criminal and civil matters, in 25 states and internationally, and he has been an expert witness in hundreds of cases.           

Myers earned his undergraduate degree in biology at Stetson University and his medical degree at Temple University School of Medicine. He completed his internship in general surgery at the University of South FloridaCollege of Medicine, his residency in psychiatry at the University of Florida College of Medicine and fellowships in child and adolescent psychiatry and in forensic psychiatry at the University of Florida College of Medicine.

Staff Psychologist

Jack Nassau, PhD, earned his undergraduate degree at Brown University and doctoral degree in psychology at Case Western Reserve University. He completed a pre-doctoral internship in clinical child psychology at Children's Hospital Boston and a post-doctoral fellowship at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. His clinical interests focus on pediatric pain management, specifically headache pain and abdominal pain.

Research Interests

Jack Nassau's research focuses on the psychological influences on pediatric chronic medical illness. He is particularly interested in the effect of stress on immune function in children and adolescents with chronic medical conditions such as asthma and inflammatory bowel disease, and in the effectiveness of multidisciplinary family therapy on the psychological and health outcomes of children and adolescents with functional pain complaints.

Currently, he has National Institutes of Health funding to study the effect of stress on immune system mediators of airway inflammation in adolescents with asthma. The study investigates whether among some adolescents with asthma, psychosocial stress induces a shift in immunity that supports inflammatory processes in the lungs, and whether the degree of immune change is associated with the degree of stress experienced by the subject. Another study examines the effect of stress on immune mediators of intestinal inflammation in adolescents with Crohn's disease to explore whether the immune response to stress is similar in people who have different immune-mediated diseases or whether the immunological characteristics of the disease play a role in how stress influences the immune system.

Other active areas of interest include evaluating the quality of life, family functioning, and psychosocial functioning of children and adolescents with a variety of illnesses (such as diabetes and functional pain syndromes) who have been referred for treatment in the Hasbro Children's Partial Hospital Program. The goal is to show that children and adolescents with a variety of illnesses can benefit from a common family-based treatment.

Nicole Nugent, PhD joined the faculty at the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center in 2009. Licensed in clinical psychology, she is also an assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and presently has a visiting scientist academic appointment at the department of society, human development, and health at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Nugent earned her undergraduate degree at Wittenberg University, her master’s degree at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and her doctoral degree at Kent State University. She completed her clinical internship at the Medical University of South Carolina Charleston Consortium and completed a T32 postdoctoral fellowship through The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University department of psychiatry and human behavior clinical psychology training consortium.

Research Interests

Nicole Nugent’s research interests focus on the interplay of neurobiological and environmental influences on child and adolescent responses to traumatic and chronic stress. More specifically, her research has spanned child and adolescent responses to traumatic and chronic stressors including pediatric injury, family violence, sexual abuse, disaster, and HIV diagnosis.

Director of the Neuroplasticity and Autism Spectrum Disorder Program

Lindsay Oberman received her PhD in experimental psychology at University of California, San Diego in 2007. While in graduate school she used electroencephalography (EEG) and electromyography (EMG) to study the brain basis of social impairments in children with autism spectrum disorders.

Oberman then obtained a mentored postdoctoral fellowship at the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation at Harvard Medical School where she developed paradigms using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to study brain plasticity and excitability in individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

Oberman was an Instructor in the department of neurology at Harvard Medical School with appointments both at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Children’s Hospital, Boston prior to coming to Bradley Hospital.

Research Interests

Oberman's research focuses on autism spectrum disorders. Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder characterized by a number of impairments including a lack of social empathy, a lack of understanding of others' thoughts and facial expressions, a delayed or complete absence of communication skills, difficulty with imagination, and difficulty with social interaction.

Though many theories exist on the neurological basis of this enigmatic disorder, the exact cause is largely unknown. Oberman's research interest lies in using electrophysiological techniques (such as EEG and TMS and TCS) to investigate neural circuits whose dysfunction may account for the behavioral pathology seen in autism spectrum disorders with the long term goal of developing novel therapeutic interventions.

 

Staff Psychologist

Stephanie Parade, PhD, is a staff psychologist at Bradley Hospital and Assistant Professor (Research) at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Parade collaborates on research and program evaluation activities within the Bradley/Hasbro Children’s Research Center.

Parade received her BS from the University of Connecticut and her MS and PhD in Human Development and Family Studies from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in developmental psychopathology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Research Interests

Early childhood development in family contexts of risk; effects of early life stress on adult psychopathology and close relationships; family relationships across the transition to parenthood; biological mechanisms underlying links between family risk and psychopathology in childhood and adulthood; and evaluation of evidence based practices embedded in community settings

Selected Publications

  • Parade, S. H. & Leerkes, E. M. (2011). Marital aggression predicts infant orienting toward mother at six months. Infant Behavior and Development, 34, 235-238.
  • Parade, S. H., McGeary, J., Seifer, R., & Knopik, V. (2012). Infant development in family context: Call for a genetically informed approach. Frontiers in Behavioral and Psychiatric Genetics, 3, 167.
  • Parade, S. H., Leerkes, E. M., & Helms, H. M. (2013). Remembered parental rejection and postpartum declines in marital satisfaction: Moderated dyadic links.Family Relations, 62, 298-311.

 

Wendy Plante, PhD, is a staff psychologist at the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center/Rhode Island Hospital and clinical assistant professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She is associate clinical director of SibLink, a clinical research program dedicated to the adjustment of healthy siblings to medical, developmental, and psychiatric disorders in their brothers and sisters. She also provides clinical services to children at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, including the pediatric gastroenterology, nutrition and liver diseases clinic.

Her clinical interests include individual and family adjustment to pediatric chronic illness, pain management, and pediatric clinical hypnosis. Plante participates in the teaching of residents and fellows in clinical psychology, child psychiatry, and gastroenterology. She has an interest in bioethics and psychology practice issues, serving on several hospital, state psychological association, and national psychological association committees devoted to ethics, disaster mental health, and colleague assistance.

Plante earned her bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Clark University, and her master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She completed a predoctoral clinical internship at duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware and a postdoctoral fellowship at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She joined the staff of Rhode Island Hospital and Alpert Medical School in 2001.

Research Interests

Wendy Plante’s research interests focus on family adjustment to pediatric chronic illness and disability, with particular attention to the experiences of brothers and sisters. She collaborates with Debra Lobato, PhD, and Barbara Kao, PhD, on projects examining factors (including family and cultural variables) affecting sibling functioning, as well as how siblings influence and support family management of childhood disease.  

Selected Publications

  • Lobato, D., Kao, B., Plante, W., Seifer, R., Grullon, E., Cheas, L., Canino, G. (2011). Psychological and school functioning of Latino siblings of children with intellectual disability. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 52, 696-703. NIHMSID#249304
  • Sieberg, C., Flannery-Schroeder, E., & Plante, W.A. (In Press). Children with co-morbid recurrent abdominal pain and anxiety disorders:  Results from a multiple-baseline intervention study. Journal of Child Health Care.
  • Kao, B., Lobato, D., Grullon, E., Cheas, L., Plante, W., Seifer, R., & Canino, G. (In Press). Recruiting Latino and nonLatino families in pediatric research: Considerations from a study on childhood disability. Journal of Pediatric Psychology.
  • Kao, B., Romero-Bosch, L., Plante, W., & Lobato, D. (In Press). The experiences of Latino siblings of children with developmental disabilities. Child: Care, Health & Development.  

Staff Psychologist at Rhode Island Hospital and the Rhode Island Family Court Mental Health Clinic

Background Information

Christie J Rizzo, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in adolescent mood disorders, high risk behavior, and dating violence. She has been a staff psychologist at Rhode Island Hospital since 2007 and an assistant professor at the Alpert Medical School since 2008. She is a clinical supervisor for interns, residents and postdoctoral fellows in clinical psychology and child psychiatry. Rizzo is also a staff psychologist at the Rhode Island Family Court's Juvenile Mental Health Clinic.

Rizzo is a graduate of Barnard College. She earned her master's degree and doctorate, both in clinical psychology, from the University of Southern California.

Research Interests

Rizzo’s interests include adolescent dating violence, romantic relationship stress, sexual risk behavior, HIV prevention, mood disorders, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and intervention development.

Her current research examines adolescent romantic relationships, with a particular focus on dating violence and sexual risk prevention. She is currently funded by the National Institute of Mental Health to develop an intervention to reduce dating violence and sexual risk behaviors among adolescent girls with prior dating violence exposure. Rizzo is also interested in the influence of mood and behavioral disorders on the development of unhealthy dating relationships during the adolescent years.

Selected Publications

  • Rizzo, C.J., Esposito-Smythers, C., Spirito, A., & Thompson, A. (2010). Psychiatric and Cognitive Functioning in Adolescent Inpatients with Histories of Dating Violence Victimization. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, and Trauma, 19(5), 1-19.

  • Rizzo, C.J., Esposito-Smythers, C. & Swenson, L. et al. (2007). Factors Associated with Mental Health Service Utilization among Bipolar Youth. Bipolar Disorders, 9(8), 839-850.

  • Rizzo, C.J., Daley, S.E. & Gunderson, B.H. (2006). Interpersonal Sensitivity, Romantic Stress, and the Prediction of Depression: A Study of Inner-City, Minority Adolescent Girls. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35 (3), 444-453. 

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Psychologist, Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities

Stephen Jon Sheinkopf, PhD, has been a psychologist and assistant professor at the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities at Bradley Hospital since 2001 and psychologist at the Brown Center for the Study of Children at Risk at Women & Infants Hospital since 2005.

Sheinkopf has also held several university and hospital teaching roles. He has been an assistant professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior since 2001, and has had a secondary appointment in the Department of Pediatrics at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University since 2008. Sheinkopf has also been a member of faculty at Brown University’s Brown Institute for Brain Science since 2003.

Sheinkopf is a graduate of Tufts University. He earned master’s degrees in psychology and doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of Miami. He completed his internship at the Brown University Clinical Psychology Training Consortium, and fellowship training at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University under a National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Health.

Research Interests

Sheinkopf’s research interests include the early identification of autism and developmental disabilities in infancy, development of children at risk, and social and communication development and psychophysiology. He has been principal investigator and co-investigator of several research studies focused on autism and child development.

Selected Publications

  • Sheinkopf, S. J., Lester, B. M., Sanes, J. N., Eliassen, J. C., Hutchison, E., Seifer, R., LaGasse, L., Durston, S., & Casey, B. J. (2009). Functional MRI and Response Inhibition in Children Exposed to Cocaine In Utero: Preliminary Findings.Developmental Neuroscience, 31, 159-166.
  • Sheinkopf, S. J., LaGasse, L. L., Lester, B. L., Liu, J., Seifer, R., Bauer, C. R., Shankaran, S., Bada, H., & Das, A. (2007). Vagal tone as a resilience factor in children with prenatal cocaine exposure. Development and Psychopathology, 19, 649-673.
  • Sheinkopf, S. J., Mundy, P., Claussen, A. H., & Willoughby, J. (2004). Infant Joint Attention Skill and Preschool Behavioral Outcomes in At-Risk Children.Development and Psychopathology, 16 (2), 273-291.
  • Sheinkopf, S. J., Mundy. P., Oller, D. K., & Steffens, M. (2000). Vocal atypicalities in preverbal autistic children. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30, 345-354.
  • Sheinkopf, S. J. & Siegel, B. (1998). Home based behavioral treatment of young autistic children. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 28, 15-23.

Ronald Seifer, PhD, has research interests in the area of developmental psychopathology. He has conducted research on children at risk for psychopathology (owing to parental mental illness) and children exposed to substances of abuse during the prenatal period. Processes studied include children's emotions, relationship formation, temperament and family interaction. The focus of this work is on the early years of life. More recently, work in program evaluation and public health in these populations have been a focus of research.

Rebecca Silver, PhD, is a staff psychologist at Bradley Hospital, providing clinical and consultation services, participating in program evaluation and research activities, and supervising psychology trainees within the Bradley/Hasbro Children's Research Center and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Silver is a graduate of Brown University, and earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Oregon. She did a clinical internship in child clinical psychology at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, and a postdoctoral fellowship in early childhood mental health at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Research Interests

Early childhood mental health; developmental psychopathology; development, dissemination and implementation of evidence based practices in community settings; program evaluation.

Selected publications

Silver, R. B., Beers, M. M., Godoy, L., & Dickstein, S. (in press). Addressing barriers and limitations of developmental screening in community contexts: Moving beyond the red flag. In R. DelCarmen-Wiggins & A.S. Carter (Ed.), Handbook of Infant, Toddler, and Preschool Mental Health Assessment: Second Edition. New York: Oxford University Press.

Silver, R. B., Measelle, J. R., Armstrong, J. M., & Essex, M. J. (2010).  The impact of parents, child care providers, teachers, and peers on early externalizing trajectories. Journal of School Psychology, 48, 555-583.

Silver, R. B., & Eddy, J. M.  (2006). Research based prevention programs and practices for delivery in schools.  In K. Dodge, T. Dishion, & J. Lansford (Eds.) Deviant Peer Influence in Programs for Youth (pp. 253-277). Guilford Press.

Silver, R. B., Measelle, J., Essex, M., & Armstrong, J.M. (2005).  Trajectories of externalizing behavior problems in the classroom: Contributions of child characteristics, family characteristics, and the teacher-child relationship during the school transition. Journal of School Psychology, 43, 39-60.

Director, Division of Clinical Psychology

Anthony Spirito, PhD is director of the division of clinical psychology and professor of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Spirito earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Cornell University and a PhD in clinical Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. Spirito completed a predoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Psychology and a postdoctoral Fellowship in Behavioral Psychology at Children's Hospital Medical Center/Harvard Medical School.

Research Interests

Dr. Spirito has been conducting research in adolescent suicidality and depression for 25 years. Most recently, he has focused his efforts on treatment. Working with a postdoctoral fellow, he published the first randomized trial of individual therapy with adolescents who attempt suicide. He also conducted an intervention trial designed to improve treatment attendance in this population. He was also site CBT supervisor for a large multisite study “The Treatment of Resistant Depression in Adolescence.” He currently is conducting treatment development studies to determine if new approaches will increase the efficacy of depression treatments for adolescents. The first trial is examining whether concurrently treating the depressed parent of a depressed teen will improve outcomes for the adolescent. The second study is examining whether the addition of an exercise component to a CBT protocol will improve depression outcomes in overweight adolescents treated with CBT. The third trial is testing an integrated approach for treating conduct problems in depressed adolescents.

With respect to alcohol and substance use treatment research, he has used individual motivational interventions with adolescents who presented to the Emergency Department (ED) with an alcohol-related admission.  In an extension of the original work, he broadened the scope of the brief intervention to include a parent motivational intervention. He currently is using this parent motivational approach, the Family Check-Up, with families who have teenage siblings in which one has been identified after an alcohol-related incident. He has also modified the Family Check-Up for a protocol designed to prevent the onset of substance use in middle schoolers receiving mental health treatment.  He is currently using both an individual adolescent motivational interview and the Family Check-up to address marijuana, sexual risk behavior, and school attendance in high school students who are truant from school.  He is also developing and testing an alcohol prevention program with middle schoolers being treated in the ED for an injury.

Honors

Spirito has received numerous distinctions and awards, including the Martin P. Levin Mentorship Award from the Society of Pediatric Psychology (2005); and the Research Mentor Award (2001), Outstanding Teaching Award in Clinical Psychology (1997-1998),  and the Faculty Mentoring Award from the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown Medical School.

Selected Publications

  • Prinstein, M. J., Nock, M. K., Simon, V., Aikens, J. W., Cheah, C. S. L., & Spirito, A. (2008). Longitudinal trajectories and predictors of adolescent suicidal ideation and attempts following inpatient hospitalization. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology76, 92-103. PMID: 18229987  
  • Spirito, A., Abebe, K., Iyengar, S., Brent, D., Vitiello, B., Clarke, G., Wagner, K. Asarnow, J., Emslie, G., & Keller, M. (2009)Sources of site differences in the efficacy of a multi-site clinical trial: The Treatment of SSRI-Resistant Depression in AdolescentsJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 77, 439-450. PMCID: PMC2692068  
  • Esposito, C., Spirito, A., Rizzo, C., McGeary, J., & Knopik, V (2009)Associations of the DRD2 Taq A polymorphism with impulsivity and substance use.Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior, 93, 306-312 (NIHMS 106960). PMCID: PMC2706288  
  • Goldstein, B.I., Shamseddeen, W., Spirito, A., Emslie, G. Clarke, G., Wagner, K.D., Arsarnow, J.R., Vitiello, B., Ryan, N., Birmaher, B., Mayes T., Onorato, M., Zelazny, J., Brent, D.A. (2009). Substance use and the treatment of resistant depression in adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 48, 1182-1192. PMID: 19858762  
  • Spirito, A., Sindelar-Manning, H., Colby, S., Barnett, W., Lewander, W., Rohsenow,D., & Monti, P. (2011). Individual and family motivational interventions for alcohol-positive adolescents treated in an Emergency Department: Results of a Randomized Clinical Trial. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 165, 269-274.  PMID: 21383276  

 

Staff Psychologist, Rhode Island Hospital

Background Information

Swenson's specialties include prevention research, intervention development, health disparities, and sexual health. She did her undergraduate work at Kalamazoo College in Michigan, and her doctorate in clinical psychology at the University at Albany, New York. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in pediatric psychology in the Brown University Department of Psychiatry and Human Clinical Psychology Training Consortium.

Research Interests

Swenson's current research interests focus on adolescent risk behavior. She is involved in several major projects funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. These projects study interventions aimed at reducing risk behaviors among adolescents with psychiatric disorders and sexual risk behavior.

Swenson has a particular interest in health disparities and the impact of culture and context on adolescent engagement in risk behaviors and healthcare-seeking among underrepresented populations of youths.

Selected Publications

  • Swenson, R. R., Rizzo, C. J., Brown, L. K., Payne, N. DiClemente, R., Salazar, L., Vanable, P., Carey, M., Valois, R., Romer, D. & Hennessey, M. (2009). Prevalence and correlates of HIV testing among sexually active African American adolescents in 4 U.S. cities. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 36, 584-591.

  • Prelow, H. M., Weaver, S. R., Bowman, M. A., & Swenson, R. R. (2010). Predictors of parenting among economically disadvantaged Latina American mothers: Mediating and moderating factors. Journal of Community Psychology, 38, 858-873.

  • Swenson, R. R., Rizzo, C. J., Brown, L. K., Vanable, P., Carey, M., Valois, R., DiClemente, R., & Romer, D. (2010). HIV Knowledge and its contribution to sexual health behaviors of low-income African American adolescents. Journal of the National Medical Association, 102, 1173-1182.

  • Swenson, R. R., Hadley, W. S., Houck, C. D., Dance, S. K., & Brown, L. K. (2011). Who accepts a rapid HIV antibody test? The role of race/ethnicity and HIV risk behavior among community adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 48, 527-529.

  • Whiteley, L. B., Brown, L. K., Swenson, R. R., et al. (in press). African American adolescent and new media: Associations with HIV/STI risk behavior and psychosocial variables. Ethnicity and Disease.

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Director, Rhode Island Family Court's Juvenile Mental Health Clinic

Marina Tolou-Shams, Ph.D., has training in pediatric and forensic psychology and has many years of clinical experience with assessing and treating high-risk adolescents and their families. She serves as the director of the Rhode Island Family Court's Juvenile Mental Health Clinic and acts in both clinical and research capacities within that setting. Her clinical research focuses on developing evidence-based mental health, substance abuse and HIV risk reduction interventions for juvenile offenders.

Tolou-Shams is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego. She earned her master's degree and doctorate, both in Clinical Psychology, from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and completed her postdoctoral clinical and research training through the Brown University Psychology Training Consortium.  She has also completed a yearlong fellowship Certificate Program in Forensic Mental Health through the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Law and Psychiatry Program.

Research interests

Tolou-Shams specializes in adolescent HIV prevention and is an active researcher on the subject for the BHCRC.  With funding from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), she is currently developing a family-based HIV prevention program for substance abusing offenders. This program emphasizes teaching young offenders and their parents how to regulate their emotions and improve parenting skills to reduce adolescent substance abuse and the co-occurrence of other high-risk behaviors, such as unprotected sexual activity.

Honors

·         NIH Loan Repayment Program Award (2006)

·         NIH Loan Repayment Program Award (2004)

·         NIMH Prevention Research Predoctoral Fellowship (2002)

·         Honorable Mention, APA Minority Fellowship Program (2002)

·         American Psychological Association Graduate Student (APAGS) Outstanding Professional Development Program Award (2002)

·         Doctoral Candidacy, departmental commendation, University of Illinois at Chicago (2002)

·         National HIV Prevention Conference Scholarship (2001)

·         Citation Award Recipient, Society of Behavioral Medicine (2001)

Selected publications

·         Tolou-Shams, M., Stewart, A.,  Fasciano, J. & Brown, L.K. (2010).  A review of HIV prevention interventions among juvenile offenders. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 35(3), 250-262 . PMID 19741021.

·         Tolou-Shams, M., Guy, L., & Grisso, T. (2010).  Extended commitment for juvenile offenders: A case review. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law 38 (3):415-417.

·         Tolou-Shams, M., Houck, C., Conrad, S.,  Tarantino, N., Stein, L.A.R.,  & Brown, L.K. (2011).  HIV Prevention Intervention for Juvenile Drug Court Offenders:  A Randomized Controlled Trial Focusing on Affect Management. Journal of Correctional Health Care. epub ahead of print doi: 10.1177/1078345811401357. PMID 21474529

·         Hadley, W., Hunter H.L., Tolou-Shams, M., Lescano, C.,  Brown, L.K. Thompson, A., Donenberg, G., DiClemente, R., & Project STYLE Study Group (2011). Monitoring challenges: A closer look at parental monitoring, maternal psychopathology, and adolescent sexual risk. Journal of Family Psychology 25 (2), 319-323.  PMID 21417519

·         Tolou-Shams, M., Hadley, W., Conrad, S. & Brown, L.K., (2011).  The role of family affect in juvenile offenders’ substance use and HIV risk. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25 (2), 319-323. PMID 21417519. 

Staff Psychologist

Stephanie Shepard Umaschi, PhD, is a staff psychologist at Bradley Hospital, providing clinical services and conducting program evaluation and research within the Bradley/Hasbro Children’s Research Center. She also provides organizational assessment, training, coaching, and consultation to community programs to facilitate the adoption, delivery, and sustainability of evidence-based programs for children and families. This includes the Incredible Years Series, Family Check Up, and applications of Motivational Interviewing. She is a certified group leader and mentor in the Incredible Years BASIC Parent Training Series and a certified group leader in the Child “Dina School” social skill curriculum for young children and the Teacher Classroom Management training series.

Shepard Umaschi received her MA in developmental psychology from Arizona State University and her PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Oregon. She completed her child clinical internship at the Boston Consortium in Clinical Psychology and a T32 postdoctoral research fellowship in developmental psychopathology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University where she joined the faculty in 2007 in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior.

Research Interests

Shepard Umaschi's research interests include the prevention and early intervention of externalizing behavior problems in young children, as well as the development and community dissemination of evidence-based practices. She also has an ongoing program of research to study predictors of parent engagement in preventive parenting interventions and to identify strategies to build parent engagement.

Selected Publications

  • Herman, K., Reinke, W., Frey, A., & Shepard, S (2014). Motivational Interviewing in Schools: Strategies for engaging parents, teachers and students. NY: Springer Publishing.
  • Shepard, S, Armstrong, L., Silver, R., Berger, R., & Seifer, R. (2012). Embedding the Family Check Up and evidence-based parenting programs into Head Start to increase parent engagement and reduce conduct problems in young children. Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, 5, 194-207.
  • Shepard, S.A. & Dickstein, S. (2009). Preventive interventions for early childhood behavioral problems: An ecological perspective. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics, 18(3), 687-706.
Staff Psychiatrist

Laura Whiteley, MD, is a child and adolescent psychiatrist who specializes in adolescent mood disorders, high risk behavior, and the utilization of newer technology for health and behavior change. She completed her adult psychiatry residency at Butler Hospital and completed her child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship and a T32 NIMH research fellowship at Bradley Hospital and Rhode Island Hospital . She is a clinical supervisor for residents and fellows in psychiatry.

Whiteley is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her medical degree from Temple University.

Research Interests

Whiteley's interests include adolescent sexual risk behavior, HIV prevention, and the utilization of the Internet for behavior change. In particular, she has an interest in the effectiveness of  online games and communities in enhancing healthy decision making for adolescents.

Her current research goal is to examine an Internet-based intervention for teens at risk for HIV and sexually transmitted infections. She is applying for funding by the National Institute of Mental Health to develop an Internet intervention among African-American adolescents.

Staff Psychologist

Jennifer Wolff, PhD is an assistant professor (research) at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, a staff psychologist at Rhode Island Hospital and the director of the Adolescent Mood Clinic. She did her undergraduate work at Gordon College in Massachusetts; received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 2008 from Virginia Tech; and completed her residency and postdoctoral training through the Brown University Psychology Training Consortium.

Wolff's research focuses on developing evidence-based mental health interventions for children and adolescents with deficits in emotion regulation. She is currently developing a family-based program for children and adolescents with mood and behavior problems.