Research Projects

Our group is engaged in research projects designed to promote understanding of how interventions reduce dysfunction and promote mental health in children and inform efforts to improve the quality of mental health care in community based service settings. At present, the lab’s main research efforts are focused on efforts to better understand how we can implement and sustain programs and practices designed to support the mental health needs of children in community settings. The research projects provide opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students to learn about and participate in research focused upon improving the quality of mental health care for children and their families in community settings. Collaborators on our ongoing projects include Kevin Sutherland (VCU School of Education), Clayton Cook (University of Minnesota), Jeffrey Wood (UCLA), Jason E. Chapman (Oregon Social Learning Center), Michael Southam-Gerow (VCU Psychology Department), John R. Weisz (Harvard University), Bruce Chorpita (UCLA Psychology Department), Philip Kendall (Temple University), and Aaron Hogue (Columbia University).

Current research projects:

I. The Centre for Holistic Initiatives for Learning and Development (CHILD)

In collaboration with the Centre for Evidence and Implementation (CEI) and Robyn Mildon (CEI Executive Director), CHILD brings together experts in the field of translational research, child development, and implementation science to help given children the best start in life. Current work with CHILD focuses on developing a tailored prevention program to promote school readiness in early childhood settings. the long-term goal of this work is to develop sustainable prevention programs that can be delivered throughout early childhood settings in Singapore.

II. Developing and Validating a Technically Sound and Feasible Self-report Measure of Teachers’ Delivery of Common Practice Elements

In collaboration with Clayton Cook (University of Minnesota School of Education) we are engaged in a four year IES -funded project to develop a teacher-report measure of the practices they use to support the social, behavioral, and emotional competencies of children in their classrooms. The long-term goal of this project is to develop an accurate teacher-report measure that can be used as part of quality improvement initiatives in elementary schools designed to support the implementation and sustainment of evidence-based prevention programs in elementary schools. IES Measurement Grant (PIs McLeod & Cook), 2021-2025.

III. Effectiveness of Evidence-Based Mental Health Practices for Youth with Autism Supported by Online Consultation to Practitioners in Community and Navy Clinics

In collaboration with Dr. Jeffrey Wood (UCLA) we are conducting a four year DOD-funded study to evaluate the effectiveness of the BIACA program for youth with autism relative to usual clinical care in community mental health settings throughout California. As part of this Hybrid I design trial we will evaluate the effectiveness of BIACA and collect data on factors that influence the implementation of BIACA. Autism Research Program (PI Wood), 2021-2025.

IV. Sustainment of Evidence-Based Programs in Schools.

In collaboration with Kevin Sutherland (VCU School of Education) we are engaged in a four year NIMH-funded study that will accomplish three primary aims: (1) Determine if malleable individual (teacher self-efficacy, teacher burnout, teacher attributions), intervention (usability), and organizational (school climate, classroom atmosphere, classroom-level adversity) factors predict evidence-based program (EBP) treatment fidelity (adherence, competence) and modifications (fidelity-consistent, fidelity-inconsistent) during implementation, sustainment, or both; (2) Assess the impact of EBP treatment fidelity and modifications on child outcomes (disruptive behavior problems, social skills) during implementation and sustainment; and (3) Explore the mechanisms through which individual, intervention, and organizational factors influence sustainment outcomes. NIMH R01 (PIs McLeod & Sutherland), 2020-2024.

V. BEST in CLASS – Elementary.

In collaboration with Kevin Sutherland (VCU School of Education) we are running a four year IES-funded study to evaluate the efficacy of a teacher-delivered prevention intervention for K-2nd grade children at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders. We will be evaluating the prevention intervention in elementary classrooms in Virginia and Florida. IES Goal 3 (PIs Sutherland & Conroy), 2018-2022.

Recently completed projects:

I. Modular EBPs for Youth with ASD (MEYA)

In collaboration with Dr. Jeffrey Wood (UCLA) and Dr. Amy Herschell we conducted the MEYA project, a NIMH-funded project designed to develop a web-based quality control platform to support training and supervision of an efficacious program for youth diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The first year of the project involved developing the web-based platform and the second year of the project involved testing the impact of the platform on therapist behavior. NIMH R34 MH110591 (PIs McLeod, Wood) 2016-2019.

II. Treatment Integrity Measure, Efficient (TIME Project).

In collaboration with Dr. Jason Chapman (Oregon Social Learning Center) and Dr. Michael Southam-Gerow (VCU Department of Psychology) we ran the TIME Study, which was a NIMH-funded project designed to develop and test the utility of a pragmatic observational treatment integrity instrument for CBT for youth anxiety. Using data from the TIMS project (see below), we developed and tested the instrument using recordings from three RCTs focused on testing CBT approaches for children diagnosed with anxiety disorders. NIMH R21 MH109666 (PIs Chapman, McLeod) 2016-2018.

III.  Core Elements of Family Therapy (CEFT Project).

In collaboration with Dr. Aaron Hogue (CASA Columbia), we worked on a NIDA-funded grant designed to empirically distill the core intervention interventions of manualized family-based treatments for adolescent substance use (ASU) in order to produce a non-proprietary, psychometrically valid quality assurance toolkit to promote high-fidelity implementation of family therapy by community practitioners in routine care for ASU. NIDA RO1 DA037496 (PI Hogue), 2015-2019.

IV. Treatment Integrity Measure for Early Childhood Classrooms (TIMECS Project).

In collaboration with Dr. Kevin Sutherland (VCU School of Education) we ran a four year IES-funded project designed to develop observational and teacher-report instruments to assess treatment integrity of teacher-delivered interventions for preschool children at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders. We developed and then used the instruments in preschool classrooms throughout the greater Richmond area. IES Goal 5 R305A140487 (PIs McLeod, Sutherland), 2014-2019.

V. Treatment Integrity Measurement Study (TIMS Project).

In collaboration with Dr. Michael Southam-Gerow (VCU Department of Psychology) we recently completed a NIMH-funded project designed to develop and test the utility of four related but distinct observational instruments of treatment integrity. We developed the instruments using recordings from three large RCTs focused on testing CBT approaches for children diagnosed with anxiety disorders. NIMH RO1 MH086529 (PIs McLeod, Southam-Gerow), 2010-2016.