CHDI NEWSLETTER
September 2019
Issue Brief Shows Evidence-Based Children's Mental Health Treatments are Improving Outcomes; Reducing Disparities in CT
CHDI's latest Issue Brief, " Better than Usual (Care): EBTs Improve Outcomes and Reduce Disparities for Children of Color ," explores data from more than 46,000 children who received mental health treatment in Connecticut and outlines findings related to child outcomes (behavior problem severity) by race and ethnicity. The data suggest that EBTs result in greater improvement than usual care ("standard") treatment while also reducing or eliminating disparities in outcomes for children of color. 
2019-20 School-Based Diversion Initiative Schools Announced
The School-Based Diversion Initiative (SBDI) will be implemented in 10 schools across four districts during the 2019-20 school year, bringing the total number of schools served by SBDI to 56. SBDI is a school level intervention designed to prevent youth from entering the juvenile justice system by connecting students to community-based mental health services as an alternative to arrest.
Participating schools include:
  • Bristol Public Schools: Bristol Eastern High School, Bristol Prep Academy, Northeast Middle School & West Bristol Middle School
  • Hamden: Hamden Collaborative Learning Center, Hamden High School & Hamden Middle School
  • Thomaston: Thomaston High School
  • Thompson: Thompson Middle School & Tourtellotte Memorial High School
Five Agencies Selected to Deliver Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) to Young Children
Next month, five children's mental health organizations in Connecticut will begin training to deliver the evidence-based Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) treatment model. CPP is an intervention for children aged 0-5 who have experienced traumatic events and/or are experiencing mental health, attachment, and/or behavioral problems.

The agencies participating are:  
  • The Child and Family Guidance Center, Inc.
  • Community Mental Health Affiliates, Inc. (CMHA)
  • Connecticut Junior Republic, Inc. (CJR)
  • Cornell Scott Hill Health Center, Child & Family Guidance
  • Yale Child Study Center

The organizations were selected by CHDI to participate in a year-long Learning Collaborative funded by the  Early Child Trauma Collaborative , a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded to CHDI to extend trauma-focused services to young children in Connecticut. 
CHDI Staff Co-authors Journal Articles on Trauma-Informed Care
A special issue of the  American Journal of Community Psychology featured two journal articles by CHDI staff on trauma-informed care. 


Hartford Magazine Article Explores Challenges in Children's Mental Health, Despite Growing Resources
" Growing numbers of kids face mental health crises ," an article in the October issue of Hartford Magazine, highlights data showing an uptick in hospital emergency department use for behavioral health crises. It is a challenge all states are facing as rates of mental health issues among youth rise. Connecticut is not immune to this trend despite having developed one of the best mobile crisis systems in the nation and a strong array of community, home, and school-based evidence-based children's mental health treatments. A recent study found that use of mobile crisis services was associated with a 25 percent reduction in subsequent emergency department use in Connecticut.
CHDI is working to help find solutions to this statewide challenge and convened a year-long workgroup of providers, hospitals, policymakers and families to study the issue. Findings and recommendations from this workgroup resulted in a 2018 report that was co-authored by CHDI and Beacon Health Options. The report identified strategies and promising practices for reducing reliance on emergency departments to address the behavioral health needs of youth. CHDI's parent organization, the Children's Fund of Connecticut, is funding grants to advance recommendations from the report. Awarded projects will be announced next month.

Staff News
Jeana Bracey Promoted to Associate Vice President of School and Community Initiatives
Congratulations to Jeana Bracey, PhD, who was promoted to Associate Vice President of School and Community Initiatives at CHDI. Jeana joined CHDI more than eight years ago and leads CHDI's school and community mental health initiatives and the development of grant applications to support CHDI’s work in these areas. She was trained as a clinical/community psychologist with expertise in developing effective systems, policies, and practices to improve outcomes for children, youth, and families through school-family-community partnerships. As a member of CHDI's senior management team, she helps guide organizational and strategic planning decisions and heads CHDI's Committee on Health Equity and Wellness.
Alice Kraiza Joins CHDI as a Project Coordinator
Alice Kraiza  joined CHDI this month as a project coordinator for the Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) and Bounce Back initiatives. Prior to joining CHDI, Alice was a Pre-Doctoral Fellow in the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program at the University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration. She received her BS in biology with a minor in neuroscience from Gettysburg College and completed an MPH with a concentration in public health administration and policy at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health. 
Farewell to Regina Martin
Regina (Gina) Martin left CHDI this month and accepted a position at Wellmore Behavioral Health as their Controller. Gina was with CHDI for over seven years and supported the organization through significant growth, starting as a part-time Accounting Assistant and ultimately becoming a full-time Accounting Manager. She will be greatly missed. We wish Gina all the best in her future endeavors.
Farewell to Annabelle Bass
Annabelle Bass left CHDI this month to pursue an MS degree in psychology at William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. She joined CHDI in 2018 as an intern and was subsequently hired as a data analyst for Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and Modular Approach to Therapy for Children and Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, or Conduct Problems (MATCH-ADTC). We wish Annabelle much success in her future endeavors.

Board News
CHDI Welcomes Newly Elected Board Members Dr. Alyssa Bennet and Aimee Monroy Smith 
Dr. Alyssa Bennett is the Division Head of Adolescent Medicine at Connecticut Children’s and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at UConn School of Medicine. She is also the medical director at the Trinity College Student Health Center. Dr. Bennett created the first adolescent medicine specialty clinic at Connecticut Children’s in March of 2017. In addition to providing specialty care within the Adolescent Medicine Clinic, Dr. Bennett also provides primary care at Connecticut Children’s.
Aimee Monroy Smith is the Senior Vice President of Government Relations and External Affairs at Connecticut Children's Medical Center. In her role, Aimee builds and maintains relationships with government officials and civic leaders on the federal, state, and local levels. Aimee was the Director of Government Relations at The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) for Genomic Medicine from 2016 to 2019. Previously, Aimee was Manager of Government and Regulatory Affairs at Pitney Bowes, Inc., in Stamford, CT, where she focused on state legislative and global public policy issues.
Thank You and Farewell to Outgoing CHDI Board Members Juan Salazar and Eddie Keith 
Dr. Juan Salaza r served on the board of directors for CHDI and our parent organization the Children's Fund of Connecticut (CFC) for nine years, including several years as board chair for each organization. Juan's expertise, vision, and leadership has played an instrumental role in guiding CHDI. We are grateful for his support and inspired by his commitment to improving the health and well-being of Connecticut's children. We wish him the best in all his future endeavors.
Edward (Eddie) Keith served on the board of directors for CHDI and the Children's Fund for nearly six years. He was active in the Finance and Audit Committees, and chaired the Audit Committee for the last few years. Even after a move to Dallas, Eddie continued to participate in board and committee meetings. His significant expertise helped to guide investment strategies and financial operations. We are very grateful to Eddie for his years of dedicated service and support to CFC and CHDI and wish him all the best.
Join the Team: CHDI is Hiring!
CHDI is looking to expand our team. We are seeking candidates with the education, experience, and dedication to contribute to effective policies, systems, and practices that improve children's health and well-being. 

CHDI is currently hiring for the following positions: 



CHDI is committed to providing equal access to our employment environment and ensures that all employment-related decisions are in accord with the principles of equal opportunity.
Child Health and Development Institute
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