A photo of Erica Pearl Messer.

Pediatric Psychologist, Clinical, Behavioral Medicine & Clinical Psychology

Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



My Biography & Research


I am a clinical psychologist and researcher with over 20 years in the field. My research interests include parent training, maternal depression, foster care, and children who have experienced abuse and neglect. I am the training director for the Mayerson Center for Safe & Healthy Children.

I became interested in this area of research when I saw that quality interventions and training were not readily accessible to clinicians and other professionals working with children with histories of maltreatment. I would like to continue to disseminate more evidence-based interventions and training for this vulnerable population, especially in underserved areas.

I came to Cincinnati Children’s in 2004. I’m proud to have been a primary developer of Child-Adult Relationship Enhancement (CARE) in 2006. I’m also a parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT) International Certified Level II (Regional) trainer. I provide trainings and collaborate nationally and internationally.

Clinical Interests

Children and families exposed to domestic violence; children in foster care

Academic Affiliation

Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics

Clinical Divisions

Behavioral Medicine, Child Abuse Prevention

Research Divisions

Clinical Psychology, Child Abuse Prevention

My Locations

My Education

BA: Ohio University, Athens, OH, 1999.

PsyD: Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH, 2004.

Predoctoral Internship: UC Davis Children's Hospital, Sacramento, CA, 2003-2004.

Postdoctoral Fellowship: Childhood Trauma and Maltreatment, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, 2004-2005.

My Publications

Integrated CARE: Adaptation of Child-Adult Relationship Enhancement (CARE) Model for Use in Integrated Behavioral Pediatric Care. Scott, B; Gurwitch, RH; Messer, EP; Kelley, LP; Myers, DR; Young, JK. Clinical Pediatrics. 2021; 60:100-108.

Interpersonal trauma and suicide attempts in low-income depressed mothers in home visiting. Ammerman, RT; Scheiber, FA; Peugh, JL; Messer, EP; Van Ginkel, JB; Putnam, FW. Child Abuse and Neglect. 2019; 97.

A Pilot Investigation of a Novel Intervention to Improve Behavioral Well-Being for Children in Foster Care. Wood, JN; Dougherty, SL; Long, J; Messer, EP; Rubin, D. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. 2019; 27:3-13.

Parent–Child Interaction Therapy for Military Families: Improving Relationships. Gurwitch, RH; Messer, EP. Handbook of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy. 2018.

Treatment of Maternal Depression With In-Home Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Augmented by a Parenting Enhancement: A Case Report. Messer, EP; Ammerman, RT; Teeters, AR; Bodley, AL; Howard, J; Van Ginkel, JB; Putnam, FW. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice. 2018; 25:402-415.

Child adult relationship enhancement (CARE): A brief, skills-building training for foster caregivers to increase positive parenting practices. Messer, EP; Greiner, MV; Beal, SJ; Eismann, EA; Cassedy, A; Gurwitch, RH; Boat, BW; Bensman, H; Bemerer, J; Hennigan, M; et al. Children and Youth Services Review. 2018; 90:74-82.

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy. Gurwitch, RH; Messer, EP; Funderburk, BW. Evidence-Based Treatments for Trauma Related Disorders in Children and Adolescents. 2017.