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The Pediatric Psychiatry Research Program, located at UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Children’s Health Dallas


Featured Lab

We asked the Pediatric Psychiatry Research Program’s ABCT student members:

  • What is your area of research interest?
  • How has ABCT been helpful to you?
  • If a student were thinking about joining ABCT, what activities would you recommend they get involved in?

Alexandra Moorehead, B.S.

  • The development and dissemination of interventions for suicidal adolescents.
  • The most helpful aspect of ABCT for me has been attending conferences. I found the ABCT conference to be a great place to network with other students, researchers, and clinicians.
  • I would recommend signing up for the ABCT List Serve. The List Serve is a great resource to stay up to date on current ideas and information in the field.

Katherine Rial, MRC

  • Improving access to care and treatment of trauma among underserved and at-risk populations.
  • ABCT has been helpful in providing an opportunity for students to network with other professionals working in the behavioral field, as well as providing a forum to learn about recent research and clinical advances.
  • I would recommend involvement in spotlight research presentations, as they are brief presentations that allow students to ask follow-up questions that deepen their understanding of the topic. I would also recommend working with a senior faculty member to organize and/or present at a symposium.

Kristin Wolfe, MRC, LPC

  • Using technology to increase utilization of safety plans and decrease acute risk in youth with suicidality
  • ABCT has a great number of resources for students to network and establish connections with professionals in our field. In particular, attending conferences allows students face-to-face interaction with researchers, clinicians, and potential internship or post-doc mentors who can be instrumental in that student’s career.
  • I would highly recommend getting involved in Special Interest Groups. It is always so beneficial to spend time with individuals who share your passion for your research.

Betsy D. Kennard, Psy.D.

Betsy Kennard has over 30 years of clinical experience with children and adolescents with a variety of psychiatric disorders. She is Professor in Psychiatry at UT Southwestern and Children’s Medical Center, the Program Director for the Suicide Prevention and Resilience Program at Children’s Health, and the Program Director of the Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology at UT Southwestern. She has expertise in pediatric depression, relapse prevention, and the treatment of suicidal youth.

Dr. Kennard’s research focus has been adolescent depression, and she has worked on several NIMH-funded trials evaluating integration of cognitive behavioral therapy and medication treatment. She has served as site co-investigator in three NIMH-funded multisite treatment studies of adolescent depression and suicide and co-authored CBT treatment manuals for these studies. She has developed a CBT sequential treatment strategy to prevent relapse in youth with depression, with positive results. She has adapted this treatment to youth with HIV and depression, with the initial pilot demonstrating good outcomes. Recently she collaborated with the University of Pittsburgh to develop and evaluate a brief inpatient intervention and suicide safety planning application (“app”) to decrease suicidal behavior after discharge. This intervention and app are being evaluated in a larger trial funded by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She has also received funding from the Texas Health and Human Services to disseminate suicide treatments to community mental health clinics.

How do you stay current with developments in the field, both research and practice?

I stay current by prioritizing conferences that include child and adolescent topics, keeping up with list serves, and subscribing to journals relevant to my areas of work.

What conferences do you regularly attend and why?

I regularly attend ABCT because of its focus on evidence-based interventions, utilization of technology in treatment, and its focus on the latest developments in clinical research and practice. I also regularly attend the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s and the American Psychological Association’s annual conferences because of their networking opportunities, multidisciplinary focus, and offerings related to training and education.

How long have you been a member of ABCT?

Ten years; and I was elected a fellow in 2015.

How has ABCT helped you professionally?

ABCT has been instrumental in allowing me to network with other professionals and to collaborate on numerous projects. In addition, the annual conference always provides important and relevant information that contributes to both my research efforts and clinical practice.

How do you see the future of ABCT for both you and your students?

ABCT continues to provide access to evidenced based treatments for clinicians and patients. In addition, ABCT serves as an informational think tank for issues surrounding CBT, as well as other treatments grounded in science. Through ABCT’s networking opportunities, we can collaborate on projects, share ideas and research, and obtain consultation that will inform our clinical practice and scientific work.

Are your students members of ABCT? If so, what has been most useful for them?

Participation in ABCT conferences, the list serve, and the Special Interest Groups is highly encouraged in our lab. Our students find ABCT’s resources and networking opportunities valuable to their professional and educational development. The annual meeting is the favorite conference in our research group.

For prospective students:

UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology application process is unique. Prospective students apply to UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Ph.D. program first, and then during first or second year apply to collaborate with a research mentor.

To learn more about our program,visit our website 

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