Pediatric Health Track

Overview

This clinical track is specifically geared toward students who have strong research interests in child health psychology, and is supported, in part, by a research training grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Development. Many of the same course and practicum requirements of the Child/Family Clinical Track apply to this track (see see Child/Family Clinical Track description); however, there is greater exposure to coursework, practicum, and research experiences with pediatric populations (e.g., coursework on interventions with pediatric populations is required). All students begin research activities with pediatric populations during their first year. The mentor-apprentice model (described above), and the emphasis on research training applies to the pediatric health clinical track. Applicants should specifically describe their research interests and goals, and indicate specific faculty members whose research interests match their own, at the time of application.

Themes of ongoing research include behavioral aspects of chronic illness (e.g., diabetes, sickle cell disease, pediatric HIV), adherence to medical regimens and problems with disease management (e.g., diabetes, cystic fibrosis and asthma), behavioral and emotional difficulties associated with recurrent somatic problems, the effects of childhood deafness on cognitive, behavioral and social outcomes, the promotion of child and family coping with pediatric conditions (e.g., stress management during medical procedures, supportive interventions for adolescents with chronic disease), the role of stress in the development of diabetes; and the study of normative adolescent concerns (e.g., dating, sexuality, friendships) among youth with chronic disease. In all research, emphasis is given to cultural and multiethnic issues.

The primary psychology faculty affiliated with this program (in the Departments of Psychology and/or Pediatrics) is Annette La Greca (Director). The affiliated faculty member associated with this program is Alan Delamater.

Coursework

The courses required of both Clinical Child/Family and Pediatric Health clinical students are similar.

Research

Annette M. La Greca, Ph.D.Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Pediatrics, conducts research on key risk and resilience factors that play a role in children’s and adolescents’ physical health and mental health, as well as interventions to reduce risk and improve adjustment.

  • Impact of disasters and associated risk factors on the development of youths’ posttraumatic stress and health problems (e.g., sleep difficulties, somatic complaints)
  • Genetic contributions to youths posttraumatic stress after trauma exposures
  • Contributions of peer victimization (especially cyber victimization) to adolescent physical health and internalizing problems, as well as interventions to reduce the health impacts of victimization
  • Impact of school transition stress on adolescents’ physical and mental health
  • Interventions to improve the physical and mental health of youth with chronic health conditions

Affiliated Faculty

Alan Delamater, Ph.D., ABPP. Professor of Pediatrics and Psychology (Mailman Center for Child Development, Department of Pediatrics), conducts research on obesity and diabetes in children and adolescents, including:

  • Psychosocial and behavioral factors related to risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes
  • Interventions to reduce risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes
  • Psychosocial and behavioral factors related to management of type 1 and type 2 diabetes
  • Interventions to improve health outcomes and quality of life

Training

The heart of our graduate training is its close research mentorships. One or more faculty members and their students concern themselves with a set of related research problems. Students and faculty in these groups work closely, meeting regularly to discuss research and professional issues, as well as student career development. There are also a variety of social events are hosted by both students and faculty members.

  • Students in our track typically have full tuition remission and remuneration.
  • About half of the students are funded with Research Assistantships in which funding is provided from a specific faculty mentor's research grant.
  • Teaching Assistantships provide students with undergraduate teaching opportunities. Students typically begin by assisting faculty members teaching courses. Students are also required to teach one course at some point during their graduate studies in order to prepare them for university employment.
  • About 20% of our students are funded on competitive fellowships, such as the University Fellowships provided by the University of Miami.
  • The Pediatric Health Clinical Track also supports graduate students through our five year Training Grant from the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development. The training grant is in the area of behavioral aspects of chronic disease among minority youth. It provides national recognition for our mentorship model of educating graduate students, and facilitating their entrance into research careers.