Through research, faculty members in Psychology and Behavioral Health are able to learn more about factors involved in children’s medical and psychological well-being, and work towards identifying new treatment approaches for children and their families.
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Our Faculty's Research
Dr. Shayna Coburn is interested in coping and interpersonal relationships in chronic illness treatment, particularly for conditions involving specialized diets. Her work has focused on promoting effective doctor-patient communication, reducing healthcare disparities and supporting successful adherence across the developmental span of childhood and adolescence. She is currently examining mental health symptoms and stressors in celiac disease to identify barriers and facilitators to success on the gluten-free diet.
Dr. Megan Connolly’s research is broadly focused on improving quality of life for patients with sickle cell disease and enhancing a patient and family's confidence in managing a medical condition. Specific areas of interest include the assessment of pain and integrated approaches to pain management, such as developing effective non-pharmacological pain interventions for pediatric sickle cell disease.
Dr. Melissa Dvorsky’s research focuses on evidence-based program implementation strategies in schools, with a special interest in helping children, adolescents and emerging adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and their families be resilient and successful. Her current research projects leverage technology to optimize, personalize and disseminate treatment programs for youth and families with ADHD, learning and behavior challenges. Her research programs aim to improve access to, and effectiveness of mental health treatments for youth with attention, behavior, organizational, executive functioning and/or academic difficulties in schools and communities.
Dr. Leandra Godoy’s research aims to improve the early identification, prevention, and treatment of mental health concerns through the integration of mental health into pediatric primary care settings. She is currently evaluating universal mental health screening efforts within primary care, a child mental health access program (which provides phone-based psychiatric and care coordination support to pediatricians) and a peer-to-peer model of support for families trying to connect from primary care to outpatient mental health services. Dr. Godoy has a particular focus on early childhood mental health and health disparities research.
Dr. Steven Hardy’s current research involves studying neurocognitive functioning and academic outcomes in youth with sickle cell disease and exploring interventions to address disease-related neurocognitive deficits and improve quality of life. Dr. Hardy also conducts research to monitor the effects of childhood cancer treatments on neurocognitive outcomes. Other areas of interest include self-management of pediatric sickle cell disease and non-pharmacological treatments for chronic pain.
Dr. Linda Herbert’s research interests focus on child and family adjustment to pediatric food allergy. Dr. Herbert’s two ongoing studies include an evaluation of the concerns of parents of very young children with food allergy and an assessment of food allergy-related anxiety and adherence among adolescents. Dr. Herbert’s long-term research aims are to develop clinical programs that can help families at the point of food allergy diagnosis and as food allergy management transitions from parent to adolescent.
Dr. Eleanor Mackey’s research focuses on improving health and well-being in children and adolescents with obesity and diabetes. Dr. Mackey’s current research focuses on helping families make difficult lifestyle changes to manage their illness as well as enhancing weight loss following bariatric surgery in adolescents. Dr. Mackey is currently researching the effects of weight loss on cognitive function in adolescents as well as evaluating predictors of outcomes following bariatric surgery. She is also working with colleagues to improve eating and exercise behaviors in young children with type 1 diabetes.
Dr. Randi Streisand’s research focuses on adjustment and adherence to children’s medical illness. Her research strives to help families fit the child’s illness into the family’s life, while keeping kids healthy. Dr. Streisand is currently evaluating 2 different programs for parents of young children with type 1 diabetes. Her past research has included projects on pre-teens and teens with diabetes, as well as in diabetes prevention in young adults. Dr. Streisand also collaborates with other Psychology faculty members include Drs. Clary, Mackey, and Monaghan.
Dr. Carrie Tully's research aims to improve coping and adjustment for families of children with chronic illness diagnosis or pediatric injury. Her current research includes determining the factors related to family resilience after a young child’s burn injury. She also collaborates with colleagues on research efforts to improve adjustment and health behaviors in families of young children with type 1 diabetes.
Dr. Deborah Zlotnik’s research aims to improve the quality of therapeutic care on inpatient psychiatric units for children and adolescents primarily hospitalized for suicidality. Her current research includes examining the effectiveness of a Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) training program for unit providers, examining the impact of a Clinical Screening project on patient care, and exploring the impact of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in patients on an inpatient psychiatric unit.