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School-based Mental Health

Our Work in Action

  • Dr. Elise Pas is co-leading a study with collaborator Dr. Tamara Marder (School of Education) examining the facilitators and barriers to paraprofessionals (e.g., special education aides) using evidence-based practices when working with students with autism in school settings. This study, funded by the JHU Alliance for a Healthier World seeks to inform later development of needs assessment and training tools to better support paraprofessionals development and practices.
  • Dr. Tamar Mendelson is co-leading, with Dr. Erica Sibinga (School of Medicine) Project THAW (Teenage Health and Wellness), which is a randomized controlled study assessing the impacts of a mindfulness program, as compared with a health education active control program, on stress physiology and emotional and behavioral functioning among 9th graders.
  • Dr. Tamar Mendelson is leading “DeStress Monday at School”, a randomized pilot study assessing impacts of an Internet-based mindfulness program for teachers’ self-care and teachers’ use in the classroom. Feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary benefits for teachers were explored and are currently being analyzed.
  • Ms. Amanda Ruzicka and Dr. Luciana Assini-Meytin are co-leading an adaptation of “Responsible Behavior with Younger Children” (RBYC) for adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). RBYC is a promising school-based universal child sexual abuse prevention program for neurotypical adolescents that aims to reduce the risk of 6th and 7th grade students engaging in inappropriate, illegal, or harmful sexual behaviors with younger children and peers. An initial randomized controlled trial provided preliminary empirical support of RBYC and indicated support for RBYC among educators, parents, and adolescents. The adaptation of RBYC will be informed by experts in child sexual abuse prevention and IDD, as well as feedback from three stakeholder groups: (1) adolescents with IDD, (2) parents of adolescents with IDD, and (3) educators of adolescents with IDD. Additional collaborators include departmental faculty, Drs. Elizabeth Letourneau and Luke Kalb and faculty at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. The study is funded by the World Childhood Foundation. Additional information on RBYC can be found here.
  • Drs. Holly Wilcox, Elise Pas, and Sarah Murray have been partnering with the National Council for Behavioral Health since 2018, on a project funded by the Born This Way Foundation, led by Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, adapting an Australian program called teen Mental Health First Aid for use in the United States. The program is a highly practical, 3-4 session interactive, school-based curriculum that teaches 10th-12th grade high school students how to identify a peer with mental health and substance abuse problems or crises, and what to do to help that peer connect with a responsible adult who can help them to get the care they need.
  • Dr. Holly Wilcox is leading the adaptation and pilot testing of the Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM) program for urban middle school students in the Baltimore City Public Schools, in a study funded by the NIMH. Other departmental collaborators include Drs. Judy Bass, Philip Leaf, and Elise Pas
  • Dr. Rashelle Musci is leading a data harmonization and integrative data analysis study examining the data from six prevention trials targeting aggressive and disruptive behaviors to study crossover effects on suicide, suicide attempts, depression, anxiety, and psychotic disorders in a study funded by NIMH. Other departmental collaborators include Drs. Nick Ialongo and Holly Wilcox
  • Dr. Nick Ialongo is leading 2 large scale, elementary school-based, randomized preventive intervention trials. One trial is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and its primary aim is to determine whether the combination of Tier 1 and Tier 2 preventive interventions is superior to the Tier 1 intervention alone in promoting K-2 students' socioemotional development and in preventing aggressive-disruptive behaviors building upon this prior research. The primary aim of the second K-2 randomized trial, which is funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, is to determine whether online teacher training and remote coaching in the use of an evidence-based, Tier 1 classroom behavior management program call the Good Behavior Game, is as effective as in person training and coaching in terms of teachers' implementation of the Good Behavior Game and student outcomes.