Tanya E. Froehlich, MD, MS, FAAP

This year, Dr. Tanya Froehlich, MD, MS, FAAP, undertook the role of director of research for the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. As such, she is leading the division's development of research strategic plan. Dr. Froehlich’s own research expertise focuses on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and psychotropic medication treatment for developmental-behavioral conditions. Currently involved, through her work with the ADHD Clinical Practice Guideline Committees for the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, in efforts to craft updated national clinical practice standards based on the available scientific evidence. Recently, she served as senior author on a paper documenting an association between Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure and ADHD, as well as on a publication describing national trends in psychotropic medication use for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Furthermore, Dr. Froehlich is principal investigator on an National Institutes of Health R01 grant investigating methylphenidate (MPH) effects in children with ADHD, including predictors and moderators of response when starting and terminating MPH treatment. Study findings have the potential to impact commonly-employed stimulant prescribing practices and to spur the development of evidence-based clinical protocols for MPH discontinuation.

 Anna J. Esbensen, PhD

Dr. Anna Esbensen, PhD, has research expertise in children with Down syndrome. In the past year, she was the primary author of a peer-reviewed publication summarizing the findings of cognitive and behavioral outcome measures of an National Institutes of Health (NIH) Working Group on Down syndrome. Dr. Esbensen has continued to complete her NIH funded study on behavioral sleep intervention for children with Down syndrome which has prompted several publications on sleep in children with Down syndrome. Dr. Esbensen has active collaborations with divisions within Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center as well as external collaborators with Colorado State University, University of California Mind Institute and the Sie Center in Denver.

Jennifer D. Smith, PsyD, BCBA-D, and Stephanie Weber, PsyD

Drs. Jennifer Smith, PsyD, BCBA-D, Stephanie Weber, PsyD, lead the long-standing federally funded training program, Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND). This program has an element of building interdisciplinary research training teams mentored by faculty within the program. This pipeline program offers at least six interdisciplinary team-based projects yearly. In the last year, these projects have been instrumental in building connections and ongoing collaborations across the Greater Cincinnati region and moving the needle forward in developmental disabilities research. For example, the Starting Our Adventure Right (SOAR) project expanded community inclusion work by partnering with the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden to gather stakeholder input on needs to increase participation in zoo activities by families of children with developmental disabilities. The outcomes of this project were a joint funding submission with the zoo team to the Institute of Museums and Library Services, training of zoo staff, and plans for a sensory map of the zoo. Another of the LEND projects resulted in a grant submission to National Institutes of Health for a program to use telehealth to treat restricted eaters with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Collaboration with the region’s Early Intervention Task Force on Autism was the focus of another LEND research team’s project last year. Outcomes included interviews and surveys of family members on improvements to healthcare referral to early intervention services, and to diagnostic evaluation within the division. LEND trainees also worked on a project in collaboration with the University of Cincinnati’s Emergency Department. This work included development of training modules and video depictions of working with adults with developmental disabilities in the emergency setting. The work of the LEND research teams continue to expand and develop into more community-based collaborative efforts which serve children with developmental disabilities and their families while also expanding innovative research in the disability field.