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Behavioral Health Webinar Series

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Behavioral health issues during childhood and adolescence play out every day in homes, schools and health care settings, and are increasingly being highlighted on the national stage: the rise of youth suicide, increases in adolescent depression, social pressures, and many other challenges confronting kids and teens. We know that physical and mental health are strongly linked, and that most adult mental health disorders have their origins in adolescence—yet behavioral health issues in children often go untreated. Here at PolicyLab, we have a multitude of researchers looking across the spectrum of behavioral health and delving into prevention and intervention—both of which can lead to better health outcomes for children and savings in health care costs for patients, health systems and hospitals alike.

As we observe Mental Health Month in May, we’ll be kicking off a webinar series to tackle a variety of behavioral health topics that we’re continuously exploring at PolicyLab. Each Thursday between May 2 and May 23, we’ll release a short, 15-minute, engaging webinar through which our experts will highlight how they are working to address some of the key issues facing children and adolescents today and discuss what we can do to ensure children are getting the care they need when they need it.

See below for descriptions of each webinar and a full list of speakers.

What Parents Don’t Know: Working Together to Address Youth Suicide

Description: In January, researchers released a study conducted with adolescents and their parents about suicidal thoughts. The media widely reported on the findings, which came as a surprise to many: 50% of parents were unaware of their child’s thoughts of suicide. Adolescents may deny these thoughts as well, making risk identification and intervention more difficult for both caregivers and providers. During this webinar, Dr. Rhonda Boyd, a member of the study research team, will discuss what led researchers to look into this topic, dig deeper into other findings that stood out, and explore what the study tells us against the backdrop of growing rates of suicide among teens and what parents and providers can do to help prevent youth suicide.


  • Dr. Rhonda Boyd, psychologist, PolicyLab faculty member, and Associate Director of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP) Child and Adolescent Mood Program in the outpatient clinic of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Integrating Behavioral Health in Hospitals & Primary Care

Description: Behavioral health issues like depression, anxiety, ADHD and others are on the rise among children—yet access to quality behavioral health services and treatment is a persistent challenge for many families. This can lead to poor health outcomes during childhood that can stretch into adulthood. By integrating behavioral health services into places where kids and teens are already regularly receiving health care, we can begin to address access issues and unmet needs, as well as reduce costs. Drs. Stephanie Doupnik and Ariel Williamson will walk us through how integrating these services into two health care settings—hospitals and primary care practice—can be beneficial from a patient, provider, and economic perspective, and will show us what an integrated system can look like for patients and families navigating the system.


  • Dr. Ariel Williamson, psychologist, faculty member at PolicyLab, the Sleep Center in the Division of Pulmonary Medicine, and in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at CHOP
  • Dr. Stephanie Doupnik, pediatric hospitalist, PolicyLab and Clinical Futures faculty member, co-director of the inpatient Medical Behavioral Unit at CHOP, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania

Striking a Delicate Balance: Rethinking How We Talk to Teens About Weight

Description: As health care providers, health educators and parents have tried to address the childhood obesity epidemic in America, the issue of healthy eating and physical activity has become more of a routine conversation in offices, classrooms and at kitchen tables across the country. But what happens when a well-intentioned discussion inadvertently triggers adolescents at risk for or already struggling with an eating disorder? Dr. Alix Timko will sit down for an interview with Laura Cavello to talk about common misconceptions around eating disorders, the challenges that can arise when we talk about weight and eating, and things to consider as we work toward a truly healthy environment for all kids.


  • Dr. Alix Timko, PolicyLab faculty member and a clinician-scientist in the Eating Disorder Assessment and Treatment Program at CHOP
  • Laura Cavello, PolicyLab Senior Communications Associate

Behavioral Health Prevention & Intervention in Schools: Exploring the Possibilities

Description: The link between health and education is clear: kids are more prepared to learn when they’re healthy. We know that this is true not just for physical health, but mental health as well. Providing behavioral health services in school is just one way to ensure crucial health care access for families so kids can get the care they need with little disruption to classroom time. Drs. Young and Mautone will walk listeners through several recent or ongoing research projects that demonstrate how behavioral health prevention and intervention efforts can be implemented in schools and the positive impact these measures can have on the school, classroom, and kids and teens.


  • Dr. Jami Young, clinical psychologist, PolicyLab faculty member, Director of Psychosocial Research in CHOP’s Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Dr. Jennifer Mautone, school psychologist, PolicyLab faculty member, Associate Director of Psychosocial Research in Primary Care in CHOP’s Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Clinical Director of CHOP’s Healthy Minds, Healthy Kids program, and Assistant Professor of School Psychology in Psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania



Boyd RC, Cavello L, Doupnik S, Mautone J, Timko CA, Williamson AA, Young JF