Building mental health resilience at Research, Education & Innovation Week 2023

REI Week 2023 schedule poster board.
REI Week 2023 schedule poster board.This year's event was themed "Mental Health: Building Resilience."

With a focus on highlighting child and adolescent mental health, Research, Education & Innovation (R.E.I.) Week 2023 took place at Children’s National in April. The event, in its 13th iteration this year, showcases the wide array of research and education programs occurring throughout the institution and at our academic partners.

Faculty, trainees and staff submitted and present 366 abstracts and posters, an 18 percent increase from last year’s event. Poster sessions were held over three days, providing an opportunity for everyone to talk with the researchers and innovators to learn more about the wide range of scholarly work being conducted at Children’s National.

The week also featured 9 keynote lectures, 2 panels and a company spotlight session, all centered around the “Mental Health: Building Resilience” theme. The keynote lecture speakers included: Tami Benton, M.D., John N. Constantino, M.D., Deborah Gross, D.N.Sc., R.N., F.A.A.N., David A. Jobes, Ph.D., A.B.P.P., Tom Osborn, Christopher J. Recklitis, Ph.D., M.P.H., Manpreet K. Singh, M.D., M.S, Stuart Slavin, M.D., M.Ed., Sharon Landesman Ramey, Ph.D., and Craig Ramey, Ph.D., who spoke on topics ranging from raising young children to brain development and children’s well-being.

The exciting panels of the week discussed artificial intelligence and the realities of adolescent mental health, and featured Adelaide S. Robb, M.D., Tshaka Cunningham, Ph.D., Anne Naclerio, M.D., M.P.H., Rick Herrera, Ph.D., Anisha Abraham, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P., Jean Fletcher, C.P.N.P., P.M.H.S., Sivabalaji Kaliamurthy, M.D., Phyllis L. Fagell, L.C.P.C.

The spotlight was on innovation when startup companies like Polaris Genomics and Rose Health were represented by Charles Cathlin, M.P.H., Tshaka Cunningham, Ph.D., and Kavi Misri, Ph.D. in the spotlight session organized by our partners JLABS @ Washington, DC.

As with every research endeavor at Children’s, collaboration was a key aspect of REI Week. In addition to educational workshops and mindfulness exercises, a special Read, Question and Think Story Hour with Nikki Posnack, M.D. was broadcast from Seacrest Studios. Dr. Posnack and her team engaged with kids sharing their passion for science and demonstrating hands on activities. All this was made possible thanks to teams across the entire institution and beyond, including the Nursing Program, the Human Resources Department, the Family Resource Center, the Global Health Initiative, and the Clinical and Translational Research Institute.

Throughout the week, the planning team for the event dedicated special attention to highlighting mental health resources available to our patients, families and staff, including the Mindful Mentors and Wellness programs.

At the closing remarks and award ceremony we celebrated the winning posters selected by our judges, who evaluated each project based on significance, innovation, approach and overall impact across the following categories: basic and translational science; clinical research; community-based research; education, training and program development and quality and performance improvement.

In addition, several awards were presented, including the new Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award, recognizing, honoring and celebrating a team and employee who demonstrated excellence through their DEI-focused efforts. The award criteria were: creativity & innovation, documented impact & outcomes and sustained effort & demonstrated commitment. The closing event also had awards in mentorship, teaching scholars, nursing research support and global health.

These are the winners:

R.E.I. Week was made possible thanks to the participation of members across our research community and from institutions like Georgetown University, George Washington University, Howard University, JLABS @ Washington, DC, Virginia Tech, the F.D.A. and the University of Maryland.

The team responsible for organizing the event comprises Natheer Samarraie, M.S.P.N., P.M.P., Nathan Schlabach, M.A., William-Jose Velez-Gonzalez, M.S., and Colby Rymes, M.A. They collaborated with partners including Pamela Hinds, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., Eileen Engh, M.S.N., R.N., N.E.-B.C., N.P.D.-B.C., C.P.N., Patrick O'Keefe, Chelsea Dobson, Meredith Sherman, Srinivas Varanasi, Mohammad Khan, Katie Shrader, Diana Troese and the conference services team.

Vittorio Gallo, Ph.D., Stephen J. Teach, M.D., M.P.H., Linda Talley, M.S., R.N., N.E.-B.C., and Kerstin Hildebrandt, M.S.H.S. were the executive sponsors for the event.

Next year’s R.E.I. Week will happen from April 22 to April 26, 2024.


Contact: William-Jose Velez Gonzalez | 202-545-2704