DHHS awards USF $1.2 million federal grant to help children with anxiety disorders

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has awarded USF researchers $1.2 million to determine if a computerized protocol will help community health centers provide better therapy to children with anxiety disorders.

Eric Storch, PhD, associate professor of in both the USF Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine and holder of the Guild Endowed Chair at All Children’s Hospital, is the principal investigator for the 3-year grant from the DHHS’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The study is titled “Utilizing Health Information Technology to improve Health Care Quality: Implementation of a Computerized Cognitive Behavior Therapy Protocol for Childhood Anxiety.”

“Childhood anxiety disorders affect a significant percentage of youth, causing substantial distress and impairment,” Dr. Storch said.  “Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the gold standard psychotherapeutic treatment for youth with an anxiety disorder but its dissemination to community mental health settings is limited. Thus, we are evaluating the feasibility and efficacy of disseminating a computerized CBT protocol to community mental health centers. An efficacious computer delivered CBT protocol could contribute to public health efforts to address the mental health needs of a large number of children diagnosed with anxiety disorders.”

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is the lead Federal agency charged with improving the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans.
Grant

In addition to Dr. Storch, co-investigators for the study include Adam Lewin, PhD, assistant professor in Pediatrics; Robert Constantine, PhD, associate professor in the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences; Alison Salloum, PhD, assistant professor in the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences; Tanya Murphy, MD, professor in Pediatrics; Ross Andel, PhD, associate professor in the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences; and P. Jane Mutch, PhD, assistant professor in the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences.

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