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Lab Members

Sandra H. Jee, M.D., M.P.H.

Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Phone: (585) 273-4657
Sandra H. Jee, M.D., M.P.H.
Sandra_Jee@URMC.Rochester.edu

Dr. Jee's primary areas of inquiry relate to health disparities for underserved children. Her recent work has focused on psychosocial issues for children, health needs for children in foster care, and the intersection between primary pediatrics and mental health care.

Dr. Jee's current research interests include resilience for children in the child welfare system and mental health needs for children in foster care. She has received funding from local and national foundations to do both primary data collection studies examining quality of care and adherence to clinical standards in foster care and pediatric behavioral health, and also from federal sources (Administration for Children and Families) to conduct secondary data analysis using nationally representative samples to study child welfare issues.

She is a former Robert Wood Johnson Physician Faculty Scholar, and has focused her work on primary care-based mental health screening for adolescents in foster care. She was co-PI on a collaborative pilot intervention project to examine how mindfulness skills impact stress reduction for youth in foster and kinship care, aged 14-21 years. This was a mixed-methods RCT using quantitative, qualitative, and physiologic measures to study impact of this supervised, structured group program for vulnerable youth in Rochester.

Other work funded by the New York State Health Foundation include evidence-based training of foster parents using the Incredible Years curriculum, leading a national learning collaborative for foster care, which linked multiple health care foster care sites around the country to share best practices and examine quality of care measures, and developing handouts on managing behavioral problems of young children.

She was the Jules Cohen UR Dean’s Teaching Fellow (2015-2017) and led teaching sessions for pediatric residents and psychology trainees using standardized patients to demonstrate management of common behavioral and mental health problems in primary care. Through this work, Dr. Jee has ongoing and close collaboration with behavioral health colleagues in psychiatry and psychology.

She has been PI on a 5 year New York State-funded project, Successfully Transitioning Youth to Adolescence (STYA), which is a community-based project that promotes youth development skills in after-school and summer programs for urban youth aged 9-12 years. This has been a successful collaboration among three community-based organizations (Baden Street Settlement/Metro Council for Teen Potential, Society for the Protection and Care of Children, and Center for Youth).

Ongoing work in collaboration with lab members include training pediatric staff, providers, and residents on toxic stress and trauma-informed care. This work aligns with other community initiatives around Trauma-informed care and the local Trauma-Informed Care network supported by the Wilson Foundation and Rochester Area Community Foundation.

Dr. Jee’s clinical work caring for patients as a primary care pediatrician and teaching residents and medical students inform her research interests. She has had the pleasure of mentoring undergraduate and graduate students on research projects that have been shared through peer-reviewed publications and national presentations. Ongoing areas of focus also include mental health, especially adolescent anxiety/depression, and primary care-based strategies to manage child behavioral health concerns. She is currently completing a two year fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona (2017-2019), and she hopes to use additional training in mindfulness and integrative health to expand clinical and research applications at the University of Rochester for the Rochester community.

Anne-Marie Conn, Ph.D, M.Ed.

Senior Instructor
Phone: (585) 275-1827
Anne-Marie Conn, Ph.D, M.Ed.
Anne-Marie_Conn@URMC.Rochester.edu

Dr. Conn’s research aims to prevent or mitigate the devastating impact on children (and adults) of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), such as maltreatment, family dysfunction, and other childhood trauma. She believes that early intervention is essential to address these social determinants to health. She has 10 years of experience managing research studies with children in foster care, and 9 years of clinical experience consulting with families using cognitive-behavioral approaches. Her aim is to develop methods that support the social-emotional growth of vulnerable children in their families, communities, and the health care system, by designing interventions to mitigate the effect of ACEs.

She is a former recipient of the Bradford Fellowship through the Department of Pediatrics. This award supported her study of adverse childhood experiences in the pediatric health care setting, and the impact of these experiences on later parenting. Specifically, this study examined how parenting attitudes impact the cross-generational occurrence of adversity. Further, because pediatricians are in an ideal position for intervention with families, her work explored parental perspectives on addressing such issues in the pediatric health care setting.

Dr. Conn completed this work, in part, with Frontiers of Innovation (FOI), a national working group formed as part of a national collaborative initiated by leaders at the Center for The Developing Child at Harvard University. This group is charged with examining preventive screening for Adverse Childhood Experiences in young children. As part of FOI, Dr. Conn continues to look at the intergenerational impact of ACEs at a national level.

 

Dr. Conn's current work also focuses on building resiliency among hgh risk youth through enhanced mental health interventions provided through a school-based health center. As part of an interdisciplinary team, she has helped to plan and implement a trauma-informed small group treatment for students with high ACEs and is currently developing a similar program for teachers.

Collaborating Faculty

Moira Szilagyi, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Pediatrics, UCLA

Dr. Szilagyi is Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California at Los Angeles, chair of the Council on Foster Care, Adoption and Kinship Care at the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the AAP’s liaison to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. She has led local and national efforts to improve the health outcomes of children in foster and kinship care for 27 years. Besides the creation of a nationally-renowned pediatric medical home for children in foster care in Rochester NY, Starlight Pediatrics, this work has included the development of primary care practice parameters published nationally by the AAP and serving as content expert for the AAP’s Healthy Foster Care America website, a publicly accessible inter-disciplinary resource for professionals and families.

Dr. Szilagyi authored the grant that funded the construction of Monroe County’s Pediatrics and Visitation Center, a state-of-the-art facility for the care of children in foster care. This site combines: a visitation center where children safely meet with their parents; Starlight Pediatrics which offers pediatric and mental health services, and dental screening; a teaching kitchen; and space for foster parent and teen education. Dr. Szilagyi was also PI of a CDC-funded inter-disciplinary project that translated evidence-based services into the care of children in foster care. Those services included the implementation of developmental assessment, mental health assessment, and evidence-based mental health services (trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Interpersonal Psychotherapy-Adolescents, and Child Parent Psychotherapy) into the pediatric medical home and visitation center. In addition, this grant funded an evidence-based parenting education curriculum for foster parents and birth parents, developed an accompanying childcare curriculum for children and trained childcare providers. Dr. Szilagyi worked with a local educational group, Encompass, to develop an academically based after-school program for children in foster care. Much of this work has been disseminated through national educational venues and the AAP website.

Dr. Szilagyi is currently involved in transformation of the foster care system in Los Angeles, California. In addition, she is actively involved in training the next generation of pediatric professionals both individually through mentorship and teaching in the clinical setting and nationally through writing and educational presentations at national meetings. Her current interests are in the prevention and amelioration of childhood trauma and strengthening families to promote child resiliency.