Research Institute History

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 research.

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 pediatric psychiatry.

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 psychiatry.

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 further research.

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 adolescent psychiatry.

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.