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Psychiatry Research | Overview


Boston Children's Hospital's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Division of Psychology are known for pioneering some of the most effective techniques in mental health diagnosis and treatment for children, and a significant part of our success comes from our commitment to research. Our research goal is to understand the genetic, biological, psychological, and social causes of newborn, child, and adolescent mental disorders, with the purpose of reducing the burden of emotional and physical illnesses on children and their families. All our efforts focus on identifying and understanding critical problems, working to uncover answers that offer long-term solutions, and translating those answers into evidence-based clinical practice.

Our research involves the broadest possible collaborations. Boston Children’s was one of the first pediatric psychiatry programs in the world to introduce the concept of integrated, collaborative health care — offering mental health services within several other Children's departments and services to help treat the whole child. And just as mental health care is integrated into programs throughout the hospital; our research also involves a collaborative, multifaceted approach. We partner with clinical and research groups within the Children’s community and with other local, national, and international institutions and communities to capitalize on expertise where it exists and maximize the dissemination of our findings.

Many research projects within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences address broad aspects of physical and emotional concerns:

  • impact of learning disabilities, pediatric diseases, physical injuries, and medical conditions on brain health and development
  • impact of social issues (e.g. malnutrition, parenting techniques) on behavioral development

They also include:

  • interventions and behavioral strategies around depression and emotional regulation
  • suicide screening and prevention
  • behavioral techniques to assist with chronic pain management
  • childhood trauma and resilience, including within refugee communities
  • psychopharmacological treatments for children with bipolar disorder
  • brain functioning in children with ADHD
  • genetic markers, screening. and identification, and treatment for schizophrenia
  • technologies and neurorehabilitation tools around sensorimotor disorders
  • neurological and behavioral implications for pre-term and high risk infants