HB-RAG Feature: The Researcher Archive

Elizabeth Prout Parks, MD, MSCE, is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She graduated from the Tufts School of Medicine in Boston Massachusetts, completed her residency in Pediatrics at the Baystate Medical Center (the western campus of Tufts University). She completed a Nutrition Fellowship at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and earned a Master’s of Science in Clinical Epidemiology at Penn. Dr. Prout Parks is a health disparities researcher with primary interest in the psychosocial determinants of childhood obesity and the prevention of related co-morbidities.

Dr. Prout Parks is primary investigator of the Too Blessed to Be Stressed study. This is a community-based participatory research (CBPR) project for parents and young children in a large African-American church (>15,000 members). In this project she applies mixed-method approaches to determine the influence of stress and different coping styles on parenting behaviors related to child obesity, physical activity, inactivity, and diet. She has received funding for a pilot study from the CHOP-PENN Clinical and Translational Research Center.

Dr. Prout Parks is also co-investigator on the Mind Your Body Study, a longitudinal study that examines the effect of weight-loss on adolescents’ bone composition. Dr. Parks Prout leads an ancillary project that examines psychosocial and biological predictors of weight-loss, as well as racial differences in health related quality of life in obesity treatment-seeking adolescents.

Dr. Prout Parks is an attending physician in The Healthy Weight Program at CHOP which has a clinical, research, and educational component. She has interest in both effective obesity treatment strategies for parents of children younger than five years of age and adolescents undergoing bariatric surgery. As Medical Director of the combined CHOP-Penn Adolescent Bariatric Surgery Program, Dr. Prout Parks is collaborating with other institutions to establish a database of pre and postoperative data in this population.

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Prout Parks or connecting with her:

Kim Nixon-Cave, PhD, PT, PCS, is a physical therapist and the manager of the Physical Therapy Department in The Center of Rehabilitation Services. She is an Associate Professor at the University of the Sciences, and Associate Faculty at Arcadia University. She serves on national boards for the American Physical Therapy Association including the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties, and American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education with the responsibility of developing board certification and post-professional educational programs. Since joining The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Dr. Nixon- Cave has developed a PT Pediatric Residency and Neonatology Fellowship program. She serves as reviewer for various professional journals and books, and is currently collaborating on a book focused on Pediatric Stroke.

Dr. Nixon-Cave’s clinical focus is developing evidence-based clinical programs and protocols for various patient populations with a specific interest in infants and young children. She has led and conducted Quality Improvement Projects focused on clinical practice, reimbursement and best practice guidelines. Dr. Nixon-Cave has developed a research agenda for the Department of Physical Therapy with the goal of developing a Research Center of Excellence for the new Center of Rehabilitation Services.

Dr. Nixon-Cave is a qualitative researcher but participates in research studies that utilize various methodologies to explore and examine health disparities, clinical decision-making of healthcare professionals, the lived experience of community- living adults with developmental disabilities, and treatment strategies utilized by physical therapists. Her own research focuses on the impact of culture and environment on overall development, the lived experience of patients and families and their interaction with the healthcare system, and clinical decision making by therapists. A recent project described the specialty practice for PT pediatric-certified specialists and entry-level PT educational programs. Dr. Nixon-Cave is currently involved in projects focused on adults with developmental disabilities, adolescents with TBI, staff communication in the NICU and the evaluation skills of clinical supervisors.

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Nixon-Cave or connecting with her:

  • #0066cc">http://www.chop.edu/staff/nixon-cave-kim.html

Janet A. Deatrick, PhD, FAAN, is a Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Dr. Deatrick has employed conceptual, empirical, and methodological strategies in her research focusing on parenting children who are potentially vulnerable (children with cancer and chronic conditions). Her work in parenting is among the first in the nursing sciences to provide a perspective to family strengths, define family members as partners in care, and explicate the roles of families in their health care situation through qualitative and mixed methods. She serves on 8 editorial boards for nursing and interdisciplinary and reviews for 12 other journals. She has also served as a reviewer for the NIH National Institute for Nursing Research Study Section for Fellowship and Career Awards and is presently a nominee to become a permanent member of the NIH Nursing and Related Clinical Sciences Study Section.

Dr. Deatrick has developed an ongoing collaborative relationship for research and research training with the Survivorship, Neuro-Oncology and Psychosocial Oncology Teams at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She is the leader of an interdisciplinary team comprised of advanced practice nurses, a pediatric oncologist, a pediatric neuro-oncologist, and a psychologist at CHOP, investigating mothers as caregivers for adolescent and young adult survivors of childhood brain tumors living at home. The data collection for their NIH- funded study used an innovative conceptualization (care-giving, family, and neuro-sciences) and a mixed methods design to understand the complex factors creating outcomes for these survivors and caregivers. They were the first to examine a large cohort (n=186) of childhood brain tumor survivors and their caregivers/mothers, and are currently conducting a study funded by Alex’s Lemonade Stand that adds father’s perceptions and includes internet based data collection through the NIH funded Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) portal.

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Deatrick or connecting with her:

  • #0066cc">http://caregiverproject.securespsites.com/default.aspx
  • #0066cc">http://www.nursing.upenn.edu/faculty/profile.asp

Anne M. Teitelman, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, and holds the Patricia Bleznak Silverstein and Howard A. Silverstein Endowed Term Chair in Global Women’s Health. She is also, a nurse practitioner at The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania where she sees adolescents and adults for family planning. Dr. Teitelman is a board member of the International Council for Women Health Issues and a member of the editorial board for Health Care for Women International.

Dr. Teitelman conducts research on understanding the interplay of social and cognitive influences on sexual health for adolescent girls. Through a series of mixed-method studies funded by NIMH, she identified specific mechanisms linking partner abuse and sexual risk and used these findings to develop a theory-based contextually-tailored 10-hour intervention for urban adolescent girls to reduce the risk of HIV and partner abuse; she has just completed a randomized controlled trial to evaluate this intervention. More recently, Dr. Teitelman has begun to explore intrinsic vulnerabilities in decision-making that affect sexual risk taking situations for adolescent females. She seeks to understand how brain vulnerabilities, assessed though behavioral tasks performed on a computer while undergoing fMRI, may interfere with optimal safer sex decision-making and hopes to use this information to create novel bio-behavioral interventions.

Also interested in health promotion interventions to reduce health disparities, Dr. Teitelman has studied why the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine has had poor uptake among the most at-risk vaccine eligible females. She also explores the social context of violence for youth living in low-income urban communities as a member of the Philadelphia Collaborative Violence Prevention Center.

Dr. Teitelman had been a consultant to the Pennsylvania Department of Health on teen dating violence. Her international work includes consultations regarding advancing women and girls health with the Department of Nursing, University of Pretoria, South Africa; the University of Botswana and to Rubia, a non-profit NGO in Afghanistan.

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Teitelman or connecting with her:

  • #0066cc">http://www.nursing.upenn.edu/faculty/profile.asp
  • #0066cc">http://www.publichealth.med.upenn.edu/AnneTeitelman.shtml
  • #0066cc">http://www.sp2.upenn.edu/ortner/about/teitleman.html

Victoria A. Miller, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and a pediatric psychologist at CHOP. Dr. Miller currently serves as an Associate Editor for the American Journal of Bioethics: Primary Research and on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Pediatric Psychology. Clinically, she sees children and families from the Cystic Fibrosis Center for outpatient assessment and therapy.

Dr. Miller conducts developmentally focused research that investigates child and family decision making about health-related issues. One focus area is independent self-management of chronic illness, with a particular focus on the development of decision making autonomy and competence. This line of research has underscored that the parent-child relationship is an important context in which decision making autonomy and competence develop. Dr. Miller completed a K23 from NICHD to develop a measure of involvement in decision making in children and adolescents with cystic fibrosis, type 1 diabetes, or asthma. Her current research, funded by an R01 grant from NICHD, is a 5-year, longitudinal study which will determine the developmental mechanisms, predictors, and outcomes (e.g., treatment adherence and responsibility) of the decision making of youth with cystic fibrosis or type 1 diabetes.

Her second area of research is pediatric bioethics. Past projects have included a study examining clinician-parent communication during informed consent for the treatment of pediatric leukemia, a qualitative analysis of child and parent perceptions of their roles in research decisions, and an instrument development study to measure the perception of voluntariness in parents making research or treatment decisions for their seriously ill children. Dr. Miller is a co- investigator on a prospective cohort study involving children with life-threatening complex chronic conditions and their parents, examining the process of decision making and the impact of hopefulness, positive and negative affect, and the child’s illness trajectory. Dr. Miller’s next study in the area of pediatric ethics will examine the potential benefits of children’s involvement in decisions about clinical trial enrollment.

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Miller or connecting with her:

Katherine Bevans, PhD is a Research Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine. She earned a PhD in school psychology at Tulane University and completed post-doctoral training at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Bevans’ background is in school psychology and public health and her research is focused on the measurement of children’s perceived health outcomes and promoting child health through school- and community-based initiatives.

Dr. Bevans is a co-investigator for the CHOP site of the Patient Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMIS) network. She applies mixed-method approaches to developing and validating child- and parent-report tools that assess a variety of child health, illness, and wellbeing outcomes. Using methods grounded in item-response theory, she has developed tools to assess quality of life, health behaviors, environmental risk, behavioral health symptoms, stress responses, student engagement, and learning.

Since 2005, she has co-led (with Chris Forrest, MD, PhD) Project Healthy Pathways, a longitudinal school-based study of associations between health and academic performance during the childhood-to-adolescence transition. As a recipient of a CDC-funded Mentored Public Health Research Scientist Development Award, she worked with 34 elementary and middle schools to identify school health program resources, policies, and instructional practices that enhance child health. Through her work with the Philadelphia Collaborative Violence Prevention Center, Dr. Bevans has contributed to the development and evaluation of a program aimed at promoting leadership and non-violent conflict resolution among youth who attend after-school programs in Philadelphia. With Steve Leff PhD, Dr. Bevans is co-director of research training for the CHOP-based Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental & Related Disabilities training program. In this capacity, she provides research training and mentorship to professionals from a variety of disciplines focused on improving outcomes for children with developmental and other disabilities, their families, and communities.

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Bevans or connecting with her:

Lisa A. Schwartz, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Department of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Schwartz is also an attending psychologist in the Division of Oncology and the Psychologist for the Cancer Survivorship Program. She is a Member of the Abramson Cancer Center and on the internal advisory board of the LiveSTRONG Survivorship Center of Excellence at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Schwartz’s research examines the health and well-being of adolescents and young adults (AYA) with chronic health conditions, with an emphasis on facilitating optimal transition to adulthood and adult-based health care for this vulnerable population. This work has mostly targeted AYA affected by cancer (e.g., on treatment, long-term survivors, or those at-risk for cancer based on family history). Specifically, she examines developmental, health, and psychological outcomes, as well as health behaviors and engagement in health care.

Dr. Schwartz developed (along with Lisa Tuchman, MD) the Social-Ecological Model of AYA Readiness to Transition (SMART) to inform her research program on transition readiness for survivors of childhood cancer who need life-long follow-up care in the adult medical system. Following a tradition of family-centered care and social-ecological research at CHOP, the model emphasizes the importance of considering multiple systems (e.g., culture, medical and family systems), multiple perspectives (i.e., patient, parent, provider) and individual characteristics (e.g., goals, beliefs, knowledge, skills, developmental maturity). She is currently using the model to inform the development of a new measure of transition readiness that will have patient, parent, and provider versions.

Dr. Schwartz is also an investigator on 2 related studies examining health behaviors, psychological adjustment, and biological risk factors of girls at risk for cancer based on family history of breast cancer. She is also a mentee on Dr. Anne Kazak’s K05 mentorship grant from the NCI and was an investigator on other NCI-funded studies that have examined the impact of health on personal goal pursuit (i.e., health-related hindrance-- a construct she developed), psychological and health-related outcomes of long-term cancer survivors, and the efficacy of a computerized supportive intervention for families of children undergoing a bone marrow transplant. In addition, Dr. Schwartz studied predictors of engagement in care for long-term survivors through funding from the Aflac Young Investigator Award in AYA Oncology.

Dr. Schwartz plans to continue to identify risk and protective factors of AYA affected by cancer, with the goal of developing interventions to facilitate optimal transition to adulthood and engagement in adult-based medical care.

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Schwartz or connecting with her:

  • #0066cc">http://www.research.chop.edu/programs/cccr/index.php/lisa-schwartz-phd.html

Dr. Alex Fiks is a primary care pediatrician at CHOP and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on improving the health of ambulatory patients through collaborative practice-based research. Recently, Dr. Fiks has lead a series of studies enlisting quantitative, qualitative, and informatics methods to demonstrate the strengths and limitations of health information technology (HIT) in improving medical decision making and child health outcomes.

Dr. Fiks focused on immunization delivery as a model for how to use HIT to understand and improve health. His initial study was the first to detail how ambulatory EHR-data could be used to predict future vaccination status. Building upon this foundation, Dr. Fiks has lead or participated in multiple studies evaluating EHR-based clinical decision support systems (CDSS) or alerts. He co-developed a CDSS for routine childhood vaccines. Implementation of the system was associated with an 8% increase in immunization rates in the urban setting over 1 year and marked growth in the recommended practice of vaccinating at sick visits. This work was one of the first studies to document the potential benefit of CDSS in pediatric primary care. Dr. Fiks has also collaborated on studies of the impact of CDSS on the care of asthma and otitis media and has explored in detail how EHRs are used in pediatric primary care.

Dr. Fiks’s research now focuses on how to engage both families and clinicians as partners in decision making and treatment implementation. To study how to better integrate families, he has launched research in two areas: (1) examining the relative benefit of providing decision support to families and/or clinicians to improve vaccination rates for the cancer-preventing human papillomavirus vaccine and (2) developing strategies to enhance shared decision making (SDM) in pediatric chronic illness by using HIT to concurrently provide decision support to families at home and clinicians.

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Fiks or connecting with him:


Sarah Paterson, PhD, is Research Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine and the Director of the Infant Neuroimaging Lab at the Center for Autism Research at CHOP. Dr. Paterson is a developmental cognitive neuroscientist and her research focuses on cognitive and brain development in infants and toddlers with developmental disorders. Her research, thus far, has highlighted the importance of detailed investigations of cognitive processes across development, and has demonstrated that developmental disorders are not the same as acquired disorders, where localized brain damage gives rise to a juxtaposed pattern of impaired and intact abilities. For many years, Dr. Paterson has studied language and number development in infants and young children with Williams Syndrome and Down-Syndrome; currently her primary focus is on infants who are at risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

At CHOP, Dr. Paterson leads a study through the NIH-funded Autism Centers of Excellence investigating brain and cognitive development in the infant siblings of children with ASD. In this Infant Brain Imaging Study (IBIS), infants are studied from 6 months old through toddlerhood to measure brain growth and to investigate how changes in the brain over development might be linked to ASD.

Dr. Paterson has an infant and toddler lab which is equipped for cognitive and behavioral testing of infants and toddlers. She uses gaze tracking technology to investigate what infants pay attention to; and can assess a variety of cognitive skills including, memory, face perception and word learning using data collected by means of this methodology. In addition, she is beginning to investigate early brain function using EEG and functional MRI.

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Paterson or connecting with her:

  • #0066cc">http://www.med.upenn.edu/apps/faculty/index.php/g275/p8216858
  • #0066cc">http://www.research.chop.edu/programs/car/our_team/details/?cat=1&id=4
  • #0066cc">http://www.research.chop.edu/programs/car/dnl/


David S. Mandell, ScD, is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Associate Director of the Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research, and Associate Director of the CHOP Center for Autism Research. Dr. Mandell's research focuses on the organization, financing and delivery of services to children with autism, and provides the basis for the development of interventions at the individual, provider and system levels to decrease the age at which children with autism are recognized and enter treatment, and to improve the services and supports available to them and their families.

This research is of two types. The first uses large administrative datasets to examine how state policies and regulations and local resources affect healthcare delivery and associated outcomes for children with autism. The second line of research examines the best ways to implement evidence-based practice for children with autism in community settings. For example, his team is in the third year of a randomized field trial comparing the outcomes of training classroom staff in the School District of Philadelphia in one of two promising autism interventions. The trial represents a partnership with the District to study, not just which intervention works best, but what are the most effective ways to support classroom staff and sustain the program after the research study concludes.

Dr. Mandell also helps lead the Autism Services, Education, Research and Training Center, a state-funded center whose mission is to improve quality of life for Pennsylvania citizens with autism and their families. He co-chaired the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Autism Task Force from 2003 to 2006 and consults with the Department of Public Welfare to help them develop appropriate policies to meet the needs of families of children with autism. He also served as a member of the planning team for the Philadelphia Mayor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Children's Behavioral Health in 2007.

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Mandell or connecting with him:

  • #0066cc">http://stokes.chop.edu/programs/car/our_team/details/?cat=1&id=42
  • #0066cc">http://www.med.upenn.edu/apps/faculty/index.php/g20001020/p5287
  • #0066cc">http://www.med.upenn.edu/publichealth/DavidMandell.shtml


Lamia P. Barakat, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Director of Psychosocial Services in the Division of Oncology at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Dr. Barakat currently serves as Associate Editor of the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, co-chair of the American Cancer Society Social and Behavioral Research Scientific Review Committee, and is a member of the Behavioral Science Committee of Children's Oncology Group.

Dr. Barakat has expertise in applying risk-resistance models to understand the influence of sociodemographic risks and family resources in the health and well-being of children and adolescents with chronic medical conditions and their families. As a senior investigator on projects funded through NHLBI, NCMHD, NINR, St. Baldrick's Foundation, and Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, her research focuses on evidence-based assessment of psychosocial risk in families of children newly diagnosed with cancer, development and testing of culturally sensitive family interventions to reduce pain and improve disease management and school functioning among children with sickle cell disease and their caregivers. Along similar lines, she has also evaluated caregiver competence in promoting functional independence among young adults survivors of childhood brain tumors. Based on prior clinical and research experiences, she is now turning her attention to health disparities through two projects: identifying strategies to increase recruitment and retention in medical and psychosocial clinical trials in pediatric sickle cell disease, and health care disparities in pediatric oncology follow-up care.

In her role as Director of Psychosocial Services in Oncology, she coordinates services and programming offered by a multidisciplinary team of social workers, child life specialists, creative arts therapists, hospital school teachers, and psychologists with the aim of implementing evidence-based practice to effectively help children and their families navigate the diagnosis and treatment process.

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Barakat or connecting with her:


#0066cc">Dr. Hallam Hurt is an attending neonatalogist at The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Professor of Pediatrics at The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She also serves as Director of the Special Babies Clinic at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where 1 in 10 mothers has had poor prenatal care and 1 in 10 is a teenager. In her role as Director, Dr. Hurt is invested in providing comprehensive care to these high-risk babies and their families, to include providing an early literacy program as well as enriching experiences such as visiting the Philadelphia Zoo or Please Touch Museum. Further, Dr. Hurt is interested in the effects of maternal substance use on the immediate and long-term outcome of children, understanding poverty and other complex factors that affect the lives of inner-city children, and neonatal outcomes.

Dr. Hurt's work in research is characterized by her rich experience in longitudinal investigations, lifelong involvement with children and families from impoverished environments, and ongoing collaborations with cognitive neuroscience, neuroimaging, and child development colleagues. In 1989 Dr. Hurt embarked on longitudinal research in infants of low socio-economic status, one group with gestational cocaine exposure and one without. This study, currently in its 21st year and funded through 2012, has 55% retention with 120 active participants (NIDA). Moreover, in this cohort effects of poverty on child outcome have proven more influential than gestational exposure to cocaine, in part generating Dr. Hurt's intent to further investigate effects of poverty in very young children. Hurt's experience with longitudinal studies as PI extends to a more recent investigation of precursors of substance use in youth. This study, begun in 2004, has 95% retention with 369 active participants at this time (NIDA). Thus, she has effectively demonstrated the administrative skills to recruit and maintain participants over time.

In her most recent work, she has proposed an investigation of the effects of poverty on infant and toddler neural structure and function and cognitive development. Her team plans to measure general cognition, executive function, and language, from birth to 30 months of age across incomes ranging from very low to high. The team also will perform MRIs on several occasions: 1, 6, 12, and 24 months. Dr. Hurt is eager to embark on this endeavor involving expertise in maternal and child health, child development, neuroimaging, and longitudinal investigations.

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Hurt or connecting with her: