Psychology Research


Dr. Michael Alessandri
1. Comparison of Two Treatment Models for Preschool-aged Children with Autism and Their Families:
Currently in its third year, the purpose of this multi-site (Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, Minnesota) study is to examine the immediate and long-term effects of two comprehensive preschool treatment models for students with autism spectrum disorders (TEACCH and LEAP) as compared to each other and a typical service model (Business as Usual).  Our site is conducting this study with the full support and collaboration of MDCPS, particularly the Pre-K ESE Division. Dr. Allesandri’s Website

2. Center for Autism and Related Disabilities: In its 17th consecutive year of operation, CARD aims to provide support and assistance with the goal of optimizing the potential of people with autism spectrum disorders, dual sensory impairments, and related disabilities throughout the Florida.  Our site represents a collaboration between UM and Nova Southeastern University (NSU) in meeting the needs of our service region (Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe Counties). Currently, we provide free services to over 5300 families throughout South Florida. Services include (1) individualized family support; (2) programmatic technical assistance and consultation; (3) parent and professional training programs; and (4) public education and awareness activities.  All programmatic operations are guided by the oversight of a Constituent Advisory Board. Center Website

3. Advancing Social-Communication and Play (ASAP): An Intervention Program for Preschoolers with Autism:  This study will assess the efficacy of a fully developed intervention program (ASAP) to promote key social-communication and play skills in preschoolers with autism spectrum disorders that have been empirically linked to long-term advantages in language skills.  This intervention study is a 4-year multi-site study (North Carolina, Florida, Minnesota, Oregon) that will be delivered by teachers and related service providers.  In Florida, this project will be conducted in close collaboration with Miami-Dade County Public Schools Pre-K SPED classrooms. Dr. Allesandri’s Website

Dr. Michael Antoni
Facilitating Adjustment in Low-Income Black Women with Breast Cancer: Project CARE (Co-P.I.): This is a randomized controlled trial testing the effects of a 10-week group-based cognitive behavioral stress management (CBSM) intervention on psychosocial and physiological adaptation in 120 low-income Black Women recently completing treatment for non-metastatic breast cancer.  The goal of the study is to test the effectiveness of CBSM intervention adapted for delivery in neighborhood centers and churches in Overtown and other historically Black communities in Miami. Project CARE Website

Dr. Daryl Greenfield
Lens on Science:
Young children, especially low-income children from diverse backgrounds, have missed important early learning opportunities in which their natural curiosity in science could serve as cognitive models for the challenging years of schools that lie ahead. The Lens on Science project addresses the need for new curricular development work to be driven by evidence-based research and tools to evaluate the effectiveness of early childhood science practices. This project will create and validate an adaptive, computer administered, touch screen science assessment that can be used with low income preschoolers. Dr. Greenfield’s Website

Dr. Monica Webb Hooper
Tailored Interventions for Smoking Cessation:
This randomized controlled trial uses telephone support and mailed tailored vs. standard cessation guides to test the efficacy of personalized intervention in the Miami-Dade community. Dr. Webb Hooper’s Website

Dr. Amanda Jensen-Doss
ASPIRE: Aligning Science and Practice to Increase Relevance and Effectiveness:
The ASPIRE program seeks to improve the quality of youth mental health care through research-practice partnerships.  We are currently conducting two community-based studies on this topic: 

1. Impact of an Evidence-Based Treatment Policy on Youth Mental Health Outcomes: Conducted in collaboration with a county mental health authority in Texas, examines the impact of a statewide policy requiring the exclusive use of research-supported therapies in the Texas public mental health system.  This study will examine whether this major overhaul of a state mental health system has led to any improvements for the children and adolescents served within that system. 

2. Functional Family Therapy for Youth Offenders: Conducted in collaboration with the Institute for Child and Family Health, examines whether a Functional Family Therapy program can prevent recidivism and other adverse outcomes among youths returning to Miami-Dade County after being incarcerated. Dr. Jensen-Doss’s Website

Dr. Lynne Katz
CDC Translation Research Project:
Translating research to practice: Identifying the core components of the Miami Juvenile Court-Linda Ray Center model for addressing the needs of babies and toddlers in the juvenile court setting and working to replicate those core components at two court sites: Detroit, Michigan and Tallahassee, Florida, using implementation research to support the process and develop implementation tools and manuals for the field.
Please email Dr. Katz for more information.

Dr. Youngmee Kim
1. FAMILY NHL:
This study is to examine the relation between cancer-related stress and impaired quality of life in patients with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and their family caregivers, to test behavioral and biological pathways, and to investigate the cross-over effects between patients and caregivers of each person’s cancer-related stress on the other’s quality of life. Dr. Kim’s Website

2. FAMILY Cancer Prevention Behaviors: This study is to test the intervention aimed at improving healthy lifestyle behaviors, such as diet and exercise that are known to be closely related to colorectal cancer prevention and tailored to colorectal cancer survivors and their family members. Identifying strategies to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors among this vulnerable yet understudied population will be critical not only for achieving optimal goals among cancer survivors but also for prevention and early detection of cancer among healthy family members. Dr. Kim’s Website

Dr. Jill Ehrenreich May
1. 3/3-CBT for Anxiety Disorders in Autism: Adapting Treatment for Adolescents:
This is a treatment development and preliminary evaluation grant focused on the adaptation and feasibility testing of a cognitive behavioral treatment of middle school-age children and young adolescents with an anxiety disorder and co-occurring high-functioning autism. Dr. Ehrenreich May’s Website

2. Treatment of Emotion Disorders in Adolescence: This treatment development and evaluation grant focuses on a transdiagnostic cognitive behavioral protocol for youth with anxiety and/or depressive disorders. One justification for such an approach is the potential appeal and disseminability of such a transdiagnostic approach to community clinicians and sites. Dr. Ehrenreich May’s Website

Dr. Frank Penedo
1. HCHS/SOL: Sociocultural Factors and CVD risk/prevalence in Hispanics:
This study is designed to help achieve the goal of examining varied risk and protective factors in Hispanic health and will provide much needed information on the role of SES, sociocultural and psychosocial factors that can guide future prevention and intervention efforts for the US Hispanic population, and for distinct Hispanic subgroups. Project Website

2. Redes en Acción (Networks in Action: National Hispanic/Latino Cancer Network) Southeast Region: The purpose of this project is to promote cancer research, training, and awareness. Redes brings together communities, organizations and individuals in national, regional, state, community, and academic networks to promote cancer control and prevention training, research, and awareness activities targeting the Hispanic/Latino population in the United States. Dr. Quittner’s Website

2. Childhood Development After Cochlear Implantation: This study has recruited the largest and most nationally diverse group of deaf infants and toddlers receiving cochlear implant surgery at 7 medical centers across the US.  Currently in its 8th year, this study is measuring how a cochlear implant affects the development of language, cognition, visual attention, and social competence.  188 deaf infants and toddlers and 90 age- and gender-matched hearing children are participating at this study and undergo an extensive yearly evaluation. Project Website

3. CFfone:  This study is a randomized control trial testing the effectiveness of a cell phone enabled social-networking site for adolescents who have cystic fibrosis (CF).  Four centers across the US are enrolling approximately 160 participants, ages 11 to 20 years, who are randomized to either a 1) smartphone, capable of accessing a CF-specific social networking website, or 2) CF-related educational website.  The primary aims of the study are to 1) increase CF knowledge; 2) improve treatment adherence and quality of life; and 3) enhance social support.  Dr. Quittner’s Website

4. Disorders of Sex Development (DSD): The objective of the study is to develop validated parent self-report and parent proxy health-related quality of life (HRQoL) instruments for young patients with Disorders of Sex Development (DSD), and their families.  A large field trial targeting 150 families with a child with a DSD is currently underway to evaluate the reliability and validity of the revised instrument.  This is the first study to systematically evaluate stressors unique to DSD and its management.  Dr. Quittner’s Website

5. Tides (the International Depression and Anxiety Epidemiological Study): This study is being conducted in the US, UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Turkey, the Netherlands, and Sweden to screen children, adolescents and adults with cystic fibrosis for symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as parent caregivers.  This will be the first study to estimate the prevalence of these symptoms in pations with CF and their parent caregivers.  Tides Website

Dr. Patrice G. Saab
HEART SMART:
The major goals of this research and demonstration project are to 1) educate the general public on research on cardiovascular health, cardiovascular risk factors, and strategies for improving cardiovascular health via bilingual interactive health exhibit and 2) to conduct a randomized controlled trial which evaluates whether a museum-based health exhibit functions as an education intervention strategy that can lead to gains in high school students’ knowledge about cardiovascular health. A supplement expands upon the original goals of the parent grant by providing the South Florida Haitian community with access to the exhibit through the development and testing of Haitian Creole interpretation strategies.  Heart Smart Website

Dr. Neil Schneiderman
1. Hispanic Community Health Study – Miami Field Center:
This longitudinal, epidemiological, multi-center study will identify health status, chronic disease risk factors and protective health behaviors in 16,000 Hispanic/Latino participants, of whom 4,000 primarily Cuban participants will be examined in Miami-Dade County, Florida.  Project Website

2. Biobehavioral Bases of CHD Risk and Management: The major goals of this program project are to examine effects of lifestyle interventions on cardiovascular risk factors in low income Black and Hispanic adult patients with diabetes and/or metabolic syndrome who receive their health care at Miami Community Health Clinics. Project Website

Dr. Rebecca Shearer
1. Classroom Social/emotional Adjustment and School Readiness for Head Start Children:
The goal of this project is to examine the relationship between Head Start children’s classroom social/emotional adjustment and school readiness outcomes, in order to identify early patterns of problem behaviors exhibited within Head Start classrooms and their associations with learning outcomes and social adjustment prior to kindergarten entry. In addition, we are examining child- and classroom-level mechanisms that influence associations between early problem behavior and readiness outcomes for low-income children (such as family involvement or classroom quality). As part of this project, we are conducting direct child assessments of literacy, language, and mathematics skills, direct observations of children’s classroom behavior, as well as direct observations of the quality of emotional, organizational, and instructional support within the classroom within participating classrooms in the Miami-Dade Community Action Agency (CAA) Head Start/Early Head Start Program. Dr. Shearer’s Website

2. Extending the Cultural and Linguistic Validity of the Adjustment Scales for Pre-School Intervention for Low-Income Latino Children:  This four-year study will be conducted in collaboration with the Miami-Dade Community Action Agency Head Start/Early Head Start Program. The goal is to adapt the English version and develop a Spanish version of the Adjustment. Scales for Preschool Intervention a contextually-based assessment of classroom emotional and behavioral adjustment for use with culturally and linguistically diverse bilingual Spanish-speaking early childhood teachers. 1,000 Head Start children will be recruited to participate, across 55 classrooms, and 8 centers. Dr. Shearer’s Website

Dr. Kiara Timpano
1. Family History of Hoarding Study:
We are currently conducting an investigation looking at risk factors for hoarding that takes into consideration whether individuals have a family history of hoarding. Volunteers will receive a free comprehensive evaluation and assessment to determine eligibility. Dr. Timpano’s Website

2. Hoarding Self-Help Interventions:  Volunteers needed for a self-help group for hoarding. Participants will receive a free comprehensive evaluation and assessment prior to starting treatment and after completing the treatment program. This will be a 13 week session moderated by a trained-facilitator. There will be no cost associated with the treatment. Dr. Timpano’s Website