Research Areas

Behavioral Medicine Research

Community-Based Mental Health and Family Support

Lee Savio Beers, M.D., is the director of the DC Collaborative for Mental Health in Pediatric Primary Care and the DC Mental Health Access in Pediatrics (DC MAP) Program. Both initiatives are designed to improve the integration of mental health into primary care to improve access and quality. Research and evaluation focus on interventions designed to increase access to care. For example, recent evaluation of a longitudinal, quality improvement learning collaborative demonstrated significant increases in routine mental health screening at pediatric well-visits. Other initiatives include a pilot study evaluating the impact of integrating Certified Family and Peer Support specialists into the DC MAP program, in order to improve family engagement in mental health services, and analysis of patterns of mental health screening and referral in primary care.

In partnership with MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Dr. Beers co-directs the Early Childhood Innovation Network (ECIN), a transformative and innovative approach to reducing the impact of adversity and community deprivation on young children in the District of Columbia. ECIN provides a platform for intervention evaluation as well as systems-based research, with a focus on rapid cycle evaluation.

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Nursing Research

The Department of Nursing Science, Professional Practice and Quality supports a collection of more than 20 clinical studies and eight quality improvement science projects led by nurse investigators. Studies include:

  • Behavioral interventions
  • Instrumentation testing
  • Evaluation of nursing care procedures
  • Treatment communication and decision-making
  • Systematic assessments of child and family responses to illness threat from diagnosis to health recovery or to end of life

Example study outcomes in the past year include:

  • Validation of a theory related to child preference for involvement in treatment communication and decision making
  • Acceptability and feasibility of a primary palliative care program implemented in more than 18 clinical care areas
  • Expanding from four units to nine units, which was the implementation of a safety measure that allows registered nurses to nap on the night shift
  • Acceptability and feasibility of hospitalized children and their parents to give their satisfaction ratings with care prior to discharge from the hospital stay
  • Implementation of care guidelines for non-pharmacological treatment of pain during intrusive procedures

NIH grants support the exploration of the internal definition of “being a good parent to my seriously ill child” and the link to parent health and family well-being before and following a child’s death, the validation of a child-reported common treatment toxicity measure and sophisticated analyses of child-reported treatment toxicities.

Meet the Team