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Family Connections: Bridging Clinical Care and Research to Improve Outcomes

April 29, 2013 Print

As a liaison between child and adolescent research and clinical care, Randy Auerbach, PhD, is instrumental in forging collaborative relationships that benefit McLean Hospital patients. Through his role as Center for Depression, Anxiety and Stress Research Liaison to the Nancy and Richard Simches Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Auerbach fluidly integrates research into patient care with the ultimate aim of improving treatment outcomes.

Randy P. Auerbach, PhD, ABPP and staff
Casey Gardiner, Colin Stanton, Randy Auerbach, PhD, and Judy Kim

“McLean has a long-standing reputation for providing extraordinary care made possible through the work of very talented clinicians,” said Auerbach, whose research has received support from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation, the Jewett Foundation, the Tommy Fuss Fund and the FAO Schwartz Family Foundation. “By combining efforts across research and clinical programs, we have an opportunity to examine the effectiveness of empirically-based treatments and moreover, better understand the mechanisms that underpin these interventions.”

In addition to serving as the liaison between McLean’s research and clinical care realms, Auerbach also spearheads the Child and Adolescent Mood Disorders Laboratory. Much of his work focuses on examining healthy, at-risk and depressed adolescents in an effort to identify environmental, psychosocial and neurobiological mechanisms implicated in the onset and maintenance of mental health disorders. Additionally, Auerbach’s research is aimed at improving our understanding of self-harm and suicidality in order to better identify and treat at-risk youth.

“When you treat an adolescent, working with the family is a must,” said Auerbach. “In one of our studies, we provide individual cognitive behavior therapy for depressed adolescents. When appropriate, families are incorporated into sessions to target adolescent-driven therapy goals. In the end, strengthening the parent-child bond is essential for improving treatment outcomes as well as reducing the likelihood of recurrence. Thanks to philanthropic and grant support, we are able to offer the treatment at no cost to the participants.”