Female faculty making an impact

For Women’s History Month, the FIU Center for Children and Families (CCF) is celebrating the female faculty who are making a tremendous impact on child and adolescent mental health around the world:

Approximately 50 percent of the faculty at the center are female. And since July 2019, they have already generated nearly $3 million in external funding to continue gaining new insights about the cause, process, effects and treatment of child and adolescent mental health disorders.

Janellie Azaret, Research Assistant Professor

A developmental and behavioral pediatrician, Dr. Azaret works on grants that require a physician to prescribe medication for ADHD and provides clinical services in the CCF clinic.

Lorraine Bahrick, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Psychology

As director of the Infant Development Lab at the Center for Children and Families, Bahrick conducts research on the early development of attention, perception, learning and memory for social and nonsocial events in typically developing infants and children, as well as in children of atypical development.

Melissa L. Baralt, Associate Professor, Department of Modern Languages

Baralt’s funded studies explore how bilingualism moderates executive function in children born prematurely. She and her team are working with FIU’s biomedical engineering faculty to use Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy to explore the neural recruitment of executive functioning in preterm-born children with different language environments. Her research also focuses on language-development interventions for young children, with a focus on bilingual language development.

Erika Coles, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Psychology

Coles is the clinical director at the Center for Children and Families and director of clinical training in the Department of Psychology Clinical Science Program in Child and Adolescent Psychology. Her research interests include increasing the effectiveness of behavioral interventions for the treatment of ADHD, particularly in the school setting. She is also the director of the Summer Treatment Program, a comprehensive evidence-based summer camp program for children ages 6-12 with ADHD and related behavioral, emotional and learning challenges.

Stefany Jean Coxe, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology

Coxe’s research focuses on evaluating and applying advanced statistical methods to behavioral data. Her applied research takes place largely in the context of clinical and psychosocial interventions at the center.

Michelle Cumming, Assistant Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning

Cumming’s research focuses on improving the social, emotional, and academic outcomes of students with disabilities, with a focus on students with or at-risk for emotional and behavioral disorders.

Nicole Fava, Assistant Professor, Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, School of Social Work

Fava’s research bridges the child maltreatment and sexuality fields from a developmental, trauma-informed, resilience-based framework in order to highlight the importance of protective factors across various environmental contexts to support wellbeing and sexual health among those who have experienced trauma or childhood maltreatment.

Jami Michele Furr, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology

Furr is the associate clinical director of the center. Her clinical expertise and research interests are in cognitive-behavioral treatment of childhood anxiety and disruptive behavior disorders, with a focus on preschool mental health. Specifically, she concentrates in weekly and intensive treatment programs for preschool aged children with selective mutism, and obsessive-compulsive disorder and other anxiety disorders, as well as in parent-child interaction therapy for young children with disruptive behavior disorders.

Katie C. Hart, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology

Hart is director of the School R.E.A.D.Y (Readiness Interventions to Improve Early Learning and Disruptive Behaviors in Young Children) Lab at the center and program director of the Reading Explorers Program and the FIU Summer Academy in Liberty City. Her research focuses on school readiness in young children with or at-risk for ADHD and related disruptive behavior disorders and early learning problems.

Dana McMakin, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology

McMakin is director of the REMEDY (Research Exploring Motivational and Emotional Development in Youth) Lab, where her and her team use conceptual models and tools from developmental neuroscience to inform interventions for adolescents with, or at risk for, problems related to controlling emotion and behavior such as suicide, depression and anxiety. She also holds a dual appointment at the Brain Institute in the Department of Neurology at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.

Erica D. Musser, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology

Musser is director of the ABC-ERICA (Assessment of Behavior, Cognition, & Emotion Regulation In Children and Adolescents) Lab, which focuses in furthering the understanding of a multitude of childhood and adolescence behavior problems, including those involving disruptions in behavior, cognition, and emotion.

Mei Yi Ng, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology

Ng is the director of the Mechanisms Underlying Treatment Technologies (MUTT) Lab and conducts research with the goal of advancing the science and practice of psychotherapy for youths, especially adolescents with depression.

Kristin A. Nichols-Lopez, Associate Chair, Department of Psychology

Nichols-Lopez is the program director of the Professional Counseling Psychology Master’s Program and the associate chair in the Department of Psychology at FIU. She has 10 years of experience in research and evaluation in the areas of developmental, counseling and clinical psychology, as well as in K-12 and postsecondary education.

Ilke Oztekin, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology

Oztekin is an experimental psychologist and cognitive neuroscientist. Her ongoing projects at the center focus on enhancing our understanding of the specificity of ADHD-related deficits in working memory and executive function, as well as computational modeling approaches that utilize cognitive and neural predictors to improve classification of ADHD.

Shannon Pruden, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology

Pruden’s research program, the Project on Language and Spatial Development, aims to understand how children acquire language, particularly those words that describe the spatial and relational world such as motion verbs, spatial prepositions and dimensional adjectives such as running, under, and big. She explores the causes and consequences of individual and sex differences in spatial language and spatial cognition in both child and adult populations.

Kellina Pyle, Research Assistant Professor, Center for Children and Families

Pyle’s research focuses on school-based interventions for children with attention and behavioral difficulties, including those with ADHD and Autism. Her work emphasizes the creation and use of interventions at varying intensities (multi-tiered systems of support), the development of training programs for educators, and disseminating our interventions to those who need them the most. Pyle’s work strives to create a continuum of support across contexts, with the goal of improving children’s social, academic, and behavioral functioning.

Bethany Reeb-Sutherland, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology

Reeb-Sutherland is the director of the Brain and Behavioral Development Lab and her research interests are in the development of individual differences in socio-emotional behavior and the biological and environmental factors that influence such development. Her research examines the relations between early learning and the expression of individual differences in social behaviors from infancy to early childhood.

Nicole Schatz, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology

Schatz’s program of research focuses on evidenced-based interventions for children and adolescents with ADHD. This work includes an emphasis on family-based behavioral interventions designed to improve communication and problem-solving strategies for adolescents with ADHD and their parents with a goal of helping adolescents achieve greater success at home, at school, and with peers.

Adela C. Timmons, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology

Timmons is the director of the Technological Interventions for Ecological Systems (TIES) Lab. Her research examines how childhood stress, trauma, and adversity become biologically embedded and impact stress reactivity and emotion regulation capacity in the context of interpersonal relationships.

Elisa M. Trucco, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology

Trucco is the director of the Research on Adolescent and Child Health (ReACH) Lab, which is committed to identifying biological, social, and personality factors that lead to alcohol, e-cigarette, and drug use among adolescents and young adults. Her research is focused on understanding early risk and protective factors that lead to adolescent delinquency and substance use.

The FIU Center for Children and Families is a world-class clinical research center dedicated to improving the lives of children and families struggling with mental health problems.