Harvard Department Of PsychiatryHarvard Medical School





Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Massachusetts General Hospital

Michael Murphy, Ed. D., Michael Jellinek, MD, Ronald Kleinman, MD, Sandra Bishop, PhD.Sutton, Jeffrey,O'Sullivan, Richard,\;, Randy Gollub, MD, PhD,.i.Gollub, Randy,\; George Bush, MD,.i.Bush, George,\; Jeffrey Sutton, MD, PhD.i.Sutton, Jeffrey,\;

The MGH Pediatric Psychosocial Services Research Group pursues research across a broad range of areas that are united in their focus on using research to help to improve child and family functioning. A major research focus is the delivery of services to children in primary care, public health, educational, and protective service settings. Over the past decade our work has been primarily in three major areas: psychosocial screening and services, child nutrition, hunger, and breakfast, and child abuse and neglect.

Within pediatric primary care, 10 to 30 percent of children have psychosocial dysfunction but only a small percentage of these children are identified by their pediatricians and even fewer are referred to mental health services. A screening questionnaire, the Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC), has been developed to help pediatricians select which school-aged children may benefit from further evaluation. This screening instrument is brief, easy to complete, and is consistent with the culture of pediatric practice in that it parallels other screening and preventative efforts. Current studies are focusing on its use in large HMO's, several different states, and national programs of the Federal government Areas of special interest include practical barriers to more widespread use, role as a quality assurance measure, and potential cost offsets from earlier recognition of psychosocial disorders. A proposal for a large scale study is in process.

A related area of research has been collaborations with public health, mental health, and educational agencies to find ways to identify and serve toddlers and infants with psychosocial problems and to assess the impact of these interventions. Thus far we have worked with Maternal and Child Health, Head Start, Early Head Start, and therapeutic childcare settings.

A second series of studies have been evaluating the effects of improved school breakfast and lunch programs on student outcomes within public schools. Members of our team are currently helping the United States Department of Agriculture to evaluate a demonstration project for a national school breakfast program that would be free to all elementary school students. We are also helping the state of Maryland to evaluate a similar program.

A third series of studies have followed several samples of severely abused and neglected children through the Boston Juvenile Court System over the past fifteen years. The disposition, process of decision-making, and safety of these children have been reviewed on a regular basis. The results of these studies were used in support of changes in both Massachusetts and Federal adoption laws and procedures as well as in the recently enacted juvenile court reform legislation. Studies are currently being planned to help implement the court reform legislation, track children through the court system, standardize assessments, and build in an evaluation of outcomes. A special interest is the evaluation of physical and mental health of infants who are removed from parental custody. The long-term goal is to improve outcomes for severely mistreated children.

Grant Support. USDA: Contract #53-3198-0-002, Evaluation of the School Breakfast Program Pilot Project (MM & RK); Maryland State Department of Education, Maryland Meals for Achievement Research Component (MM, RK & SB); Child Development Resources of Ventura County Early Head Start, Evaluation of mental health screening and services in Early Head Start (MM, MJ, & SB); Napa County Health and Human Services, Evaluation of the impact of early intervention and therapeutic child care services for infants and toddlers (MM); Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Research Program on Abused Children (MM, MJ & SB); Center for Ecoliteracy, Evaluation of a Food Systems Approach to Ecology Education and Child Nutrition (MM & SB); Quaker Oats Company, Increasing school breakfast participation among low income students through universal feeding (MM, & RK).

Project Sites. Department of Psychiatry, MGH; Research office at Warren, 736 and field sites in several states

Project Director and Contact Person. J. Michael Murphy, EdD, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Wang ACC 725, Boston, MA 02114. Tel.: (617) 724-3163; FAX: (617) 726-9219; Voice mail: 617 510 3927; email: mmurphy6@partners.org .

Representative Publications.

Bernal P, Bendell-Estroff D, Aboudarhan, JF, Murphy JM, Keller A, Jellinek MS. Undetected Psychosocial Morbidity : The Economic Burden In A Pediatric HMO Population. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine 2000; 154: 261-266.

Bishop, S.J., Murphy, J.M., Hicks, R., Quinn, D.,Lewis, P.D., Grace, M.P., & Jellinek, M.S. The youngest victims of child maltreatment: What happens to Infants in a court sample. 2001. Child Maltreatment, 6, 243-249.

Navon, M, Nelson, D, & Pagano, M. & Murphy, J M. Use of the Pediatric Symptom Checklist to Improve Preventative Behavioral Health Care. 2001. Psychiatric Services, 52: 800-804.

Briefel R, Murphy M, Kung S, Devaney B. Universal-free school breakfast program evaluation design project; Review of the literature on breakfast and learning. Final report. Princeton (NJ); Mathematica Policy Research; USDA Contract No. 53-3198-7-006; December 1999.

Murphy JM & Pagano, M. Effects of a universally free, in-classroom school breakfast program, Final Report from the third year of the Maryland Meals for Achievement Evaluation. Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital, 2001.

Brandt, K. A., Murphy, J. M., & Rankin, E. (2001). Therapeutic Child Care Center Pre-Opening Baseline Study of the Target Population (Tech. Rep. No. 1); Napa, CA: Napa County, Department of Health & Human Services.

Department Of Psychiatry Harvard Medical School - 2 West - Room 305 - 401 Park Drive - Boston, MA 02215