Chavez Wins Grant to Train Clinicians in Parent Child Interaction Therapy

Felipa Chavez, assistant professor of clinical psychology and director of Building Blocks: PCIT at Florida Tech, was awarded a $25,000 grant to train Philadelphia-based Black and Latino behavioral health clinicians in culturally sensitive Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT).

The goal of training these clinicians is to increase the dissemination of PCIT treatment to both Black and Latino families with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and co-occurring disruptive behaviors. Chavez said the impact of such an initiative is important and timely given the racial health disparities in children of color in not only not receiving an accurate ASD diagnosis, but also challenges in accessing much-needed healthcare through these much-needed early interventions treatments that are empirically proven to result in profound, long-lasting ameliorating outcomes for children on the spectrum.

The clinical research garnered from this initiative, led by Dr. Lauren Quetsch, graduate student Harlee Onovbiona from the University of Arkansas, and Dr. Ashley Scudder from the University of Iowa, along with Dr. Chavez, will also greatly contribute to the literature on expanding the applicability of evidence-based treatments such as PCIT to Black and Latino populations. These populations are often missing from the sample populations of evidence-based studies for a variety of reasons, but primarily accessibility. It is hypothesized that the culturally sensitive implementation of PCIT, along with the racial and ethnic matching between Black and Latino families with clinicians who come from their cultural communities, will have enhanced sustainability and reduce treatment attrition for Black and Latino families.  

The one-year grant, written by Chavez and colleagues, was funded by the Philadelphia Eagles Autism Foundation in partnership with the Evidence-based Practice & Innovation Center and Community Behavioral Health.

Training includes a five-day initial training session, two days of advanced training, and 24 clinical conference calls for Black and Latino clinicians over the course of the treatment year in servicing Black and Latino families. The first cohort of participants are from Child Guidance and Resource Center, Cognitive Behavioral Services, The Bridge, Laila Way, COMHAR and Northern Children’s Services.

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