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 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

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; 97:104126-104126.

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: Innovations and Applications for Research and Practice. : Springer International Publishing; Springer International Publishing; 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. : Springer International Publishing; Springer International Publishing; 2017.

Child-Adult Relationship Enhancement (CARE): An evidence-informed program for children with a history of trauma and other behavioral challenges. Gurwitch, RH; Messer, EP; Masse, J; Olafson, E; Boat, BW; Putnam, FW. Child Abuse and Neglect. 2016; 53:138-145.