Research Institute History
The 2022 Research Institute, “Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the Era of Genomics,” co-chaired by Ellen J. Hoffman, MD, PhD, and Kevin M. Simon, MD, was held at the AACAP/CACAP 2022 Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada. This institute highlighted emerging research in the genetics and genomics of child psychiatric disorders, and advanced clinicians’ knowledge of ways in which genetic testing can begin to inform clinical diagnosis and management.
The 2021 Research Institute, “Heeding the Data: The Impact of Racism on the Lives and Mental Health of Children,” co-chaired by Cheryl S. Al-Mateen, MD, Lisa M. Cullins, MD, Anne L. Glowinski, MD, MPE, and Leslie Hulvershorn, MD, MSc, was held at the 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting. This institute highlighted important research that demonstrates the impact of racism as a specific determinant of mental health in children and families in the United States. The institute focused on the pervasive structural racism in education, practice, and access to care as reflected in the scientific obfuscation of research or data on racism and its impact on health and mental health.
The 2020 Research Institute, “Vistas of Neurotherapeutics in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,” co-chaired by Paul Croarkin, DO, MS, and Kate D. Fitzgerald, MD, was held at the 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting. This institute highlighted research related to rapidly evolving neurotherapeutics and brain stimulation modalities that hold the promise of augmenting or providing alternatives to current treatment approaches for neurodevelopmental disorders in children and adolescents.
The 2019 Research Institute, “Techno-Psychiatry: Child Psychiatry in the Digital Age,” co-chaired by Rasim S. Diler, MD, and Kevin Gray, MD, was held at the 66th Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. This institute presented current evidence and emerging tools, processes, and analyses related to the rapidly growing technological advancement in child and adolescent psychiatry. Clinicians learned about the latest research to guide the assessment and treatment of children using technological advancements; and researchers received updates on emerging tools, analytical techniques, consumer engagement, and innovative and translational approaches in the area.
The 2018 Research Institute, “Treatment Updates in Pediatric Depression and
Suicidality,” co-chaired by Anne L. Glowinski, MD, MPE, and Michael H. Bloch, MD,
MS, was held at the 65th Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington. This institute
provided updates from a multidisciplinary team regarding the latest clinical research
advancements in the assessment and treatment of child and adolescent depression
and suicidality. The institute was divided into halves. The first half of the institute
focused on evidence-based and emerging treatments for depression. The second
half of the institute focused on suicidality with presentations focused on emergency
department screening, sexual minority youths, and DBT as a treatment for
adolescents with suicidal behavior.
The 2017 Research Institute, “This Is Your Brain on Child Psychiatry. Any Questions?
A Practical Update on the Impact of Neuroimaging Findings in Child Psychiatry,” cochaired by Daniel P. Dickstein, MD, and David Cochran, MD, PhD, was held at the
64th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. This Research Institute provided updates
on the current state of neuroimaging research from a practical, clinician-focused
standpoint. It discussed how neuroimaging informs our current understanding of
mental health disorders, how it has led to developments in treatments across
disorders and modalities, and how the challenges associated with broader use of
neuroimaging data have been addressed.
The 2016 Research Institute, “Epigenetics in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,” cochaired by Jean A. Frazier, MD, and Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele, MD, was held at
the 63rd Annual Meeting in New York, New York. Epigenetic factors, defined as all
that resides “above genetics,” make a major contribution to child psychiatry
outcomes. Epigenetic techniques may allow us as a field to understand the
molecular mechanisms that lie between environmental factors and downstream
changes in brain and behavior. After attending this Research Institute, participants
understood basic epigenetic mechanisms in the context of child and adolescent
developmental outcomes and the integration of epigenetics into child psychiatry
The 2015 Research Institute, “What’s Up in Child Addiction Research: A Focus on
Methodology,” co-chaired by Timothy E. Wilens, MD, and Kevin M. Gray, MD, was
held at the 62nd Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. Despite the importance of
substance use disorder (SUD), many researchers feel unequipped to study substance
related issues either as a primary area of interest or in concert with mental health
studies. This Research Institute focused on methodological issues in the planning
and execution of SUD research in adolescents and young adults. An emphasis was
placed on describing measures of SUD, ethical considerations, managing attrition,
safety considerations, special analytic techniques, and applicability to practice.
The 2014 Research Forum, “The Use of Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) for the
Study of Psychopathy,” co-chaired by Bradley S. Peterson, MD, Stacy S. Drury, MD,
PhD, Melissa P. DelBello, MD, MS, and Adelaide S. Robb, MD, was held at the 61st
Annual Meeting in San Diego, California. The unveiling of the RDoC as part of the
National Institute of Mental Health’s (NIMH) strategic plan triggered lively debate
and controversy for both clinicians and researchers. They concluded that greater
integration of DSM-5 and RDoC in both settings is needed to advance the field. The
Research Forum included an interactive dialogue focused on an enhanced
understanding of the strengths and challenges of the RDoC approach as well as how
the current DSM-5 and studies of child psychopathology utilizing these diagnoses
can be integrated effectively into the RDoC mission and NIMH’s strategic plan.
The 2013 Research Forum, “Sensitive Periods in Brain Development: Implications for
Child Psychopathology and Therapeutics,” co-chaired by Joan Luby, MD, Judy
Cameron, PhD, and Melissa Del Bello, MD, MS, was held at the 60th Annual Meeting
in Orlando, Florida. There was a paucity of direct data that elucidated sensitive
periods in social and emotional development. Sensitive periods are likely to be
underestimated in developmental domains pertinent to social and emotional
functioning given that they are associated with highly complex, and relatively poorly
understood neural circuitry. This Research Forum introduced participants to the
most current empirical studies that inform whether there may be sensitive periods
in human emotional development. Considerations for next steps in research and
how such sensitive periods that may be applicable to treatment models in
developmental psychopathology were reviewed and considered.
The 2012 Research Forum, “Preventing Psychopathology in Childhood and
Adolescence,” led by Melissa DelBello, MD, MS, and co-chaired by Christoph Correll,
MD, and Manpreet Singh, MD, MS, was held at AACAP’s 59th Annual Meeting in San
Francisco, California. While prevention science has developed dramatically in the
past decades, child psychiatry has only recently branched out into this area.
Moreover, the vast development of neurobiological tools and insights into
mechanisms involved in gene-environment and environment-individual interactions
have not been sufficiently integrated into the early targeted prevention efforts in
children and adolescents at risk for mental illness and those with early
subsyndromal symptoms and signs. The 2012 Research Forum introduced
participants to principles of universal and targeted prevention in medicine,
mechanisms involved in mental illness risk and resilience, and novel clinical
applications of psychiatric prevention efforts in youth at familial and clinical high
risk for exemplary major psychiatric disorders with pediatric onset.
The 2011 Research Forum, “Advancing Biomarker Sciences in Pediatric Psychiatry,”
co-chaired by Graham Emslie, MD, John March, MD, and James McGough, MD, was
held at the Joint AACAP/CACAP Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada. With the
advent of new translational tools, biomarker identification, and validation,
psychiatry is poised to shift from a focus on establishing biological plausibility to
translating insights about fundamental biology into tests for clinical use on
regulatory pathways that guide their development and application. To speed up this
process, the 2011 Research Forum introduced participants to biomarker sciences as
applied to the development of diagnostic, prognostic, and treatment biomarkers in
The 2010 Research Forum, “Perspectives on Current Pediatric Psychopharmacology
Research Needs,” co-chaired by Graham Emslie, MD, and Christopher Kratochvil,
MD, was coordinated to identify research gaps with regard to currently available
psychopharmacological agents in children and adolescents. It identified future
research priorities from the perspective of clinical researchers, pharmacoepidemiologists, clinicians, consumers, international researchers, and federal and
industry funding agencies (FDA, NIH, and industry). Potential research methods to
address the issues raised in the presentations were discussed. The Research Forum
concluded with a discussion and audience participation to synthesize the overriding
research questions that remained and potential solutions to conducting studies to
answer these questions.
The 2009 Research Forum, “Investigating the Effects of Psychotherapy on Children
and Adolescents: Learning from the Past - Moving Forward,” co-chaired by David
Shaffer, FRCP, FRCPsych, David Brent, MD, and Neal Ryan, MD, was held at AACAP’s
56th Annual Meeting in Honolulu, Hawai’i. Studies such as TORDIA, MTA, TADS,
CAMS, POTS, and ADAPT brought together teams of child psychiatrists,
psychologists, methodologists, and biostatisticians who have both changed the
shape of child psychiatry practice and research and raised as many questions as they
have answered. The 2009 Research Forum was stimulated by questions arising from
the psychotherapy components of these studies.
The 2008 Research Forum, “What Is Longitudinal Research Informing Us About
Clinical Disorders and Psychopathology?” co-chaired by David Shaffer, FRCP,
FRCPsych., Helen Egger, MD, and James McGough, MD, was held in Chicago, Illinois
at AACAP’s 55th Annual Meeting. The Forum served as a longitudinal research
review course that summarized recent follow up studies of the common psychiatric
disorders of children and adolescents and the extent to which variation of outcome
within a single diagnosis reflects subtype, comorbidity or other identifiable
elements. The presentations considered whether variation in natural history is
adequately displayed in the current classification of the disorders and where it is
possible to determine the mechanisms that might underlie variable outcome.
Attendees gained information on the course of the common psychiatric disorders of
childhood that will be useful in future research studies and clinical settings.
The 2007 Research Forum, “The Future of Neuroimaging: Relevance for Child
Psychiatry,” co-chaired by Bradley S. Peterson, MD, Daniel Pine, MD, and John Gore,
PhD, was held at AACAP’s 54th Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts. The
Forum consisted of a series of presentations focusing on key insights emerging for
various conditions, based on diverse methods. The presentations reviewed results
from studies of both normal and abnormal development, relying on a range of brain
imaging methods. The 2007 Research Forum attendees developed an understanding
of the range of brain imaging modalities used in child and adolescent psychiatry
research and became aware of recent findings in various clinical disorders that rely
on these techniques and recognized key questions to be addressed in future studies.
The 2006 Research Forum, “Protective and Risk Factors in Pediatric Bipolar Disorder:
Predicting Outcomes,” was held at AACAP’s 53rd Annual Meeting in San Diego,
California. The Forum, chaired by Robert Findling, MD, Gabrielle Carlson, MD, and
Robert Post, MD, was sold out three weeks prior to the event with over 120
attendees. The Forum examined rates of recovery for children, adolescents, and
adults with bipolar disorder, and determined what developmental and other
differences and commonalities might emerge when various outcomes are
considered. This document should provide the field with a cogent summation of
what is known, what needs to be known, and means by which future research can
help researchers learn more about this condition so that lives of children and
adolescents suffering from bipolar illnesses can be improved.
o The 2005 Research Forum, “Research Literacy: Speeding the Adoption of EvidenceBased Medicine (EBM) in Pediatric Psychiatry,” was held at AACAP’s 52nd Annual
Meeting in Toronto, Canada. The Forum demonstrated the ready availability and
wide applicability of EBM as applied to research, post-graduate and medical
education, and clinical practice in an effort to speed its adoption as the standard
heuristic for gaining and maintaining research literacy in child, adolescent, and adult
The 2004 Research Forum, “Issues in the Conduct and Interpretation of Studies of
Adolescent Depression,” was held at AACAP’s 51st Annual Meeting in Washington,
DC. The Forum reviewed problems and controversies that were apparent in
conducting and interpreting treatment research in adolescent depression and
assisted the field by identifying a research agenda that would improve the quality of
The 2003 Research Forum, “Assessment of Safety in Child Mental Health Research:
Obstacles and Opportunities,” was held at AACAP’s 50th Annual Meeting in Miami
Beach, Florida. The meeting addressed the need to develop better methods for
assessing the safety of psychosocial and psychopharmacological treatments in
controlled clinical trials.
The 2002 Research Forum, “Placebo and Alternatives to Placebo in Randomized
Controlled Trials in Pediatric Psychopharmacology,” was held at AACAP’s 49th
Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California. This Forum convened a panel of experts
including researchers, ethicists and IRB experts, regulatory experts, parent advocacy
groups and industry representatives to determine when the use of a pill placebo is
clearly justifiable in randomized controlled trials and when it is not.
The 2001 Research Forum, "Recruitment in Child Mental Health Research: Obstacles
and Opportunities," was held at AACAP’s 48th Annual Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii,
and focused on recruiting and assessing child participants in clinical trials. A major
recommendation that emerged from the 2001 Forum encouraged the utilization of
media outlets to emphasize the many benefits of pediatric clinical trials in order to
eliminate the often biased and distorted portrayals of research in child and
The 2000 Research Forum, "Optimal Strategies for Developing and Implementing
Psychopharmacological Studies in Preschool Children," was held at AACAP’s 47th
Annual Meeting in New York, New York, and dealt with optimizing the
psychopharmacology clinical trial strategy for preschool children. Recommendations
from this forum agreed with other recent initiatives on children's mental health,
including conferences sponsored by the Surgeon General, the National Institute of
Mental Health (NIMH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Pediatric
Psychopharmacology Initiative (PPI), the precursor to the Psychopharmacology
Committee, was created as a result of this Forum.