Juan Alejos, MD, Patricia Lester, MD

Integrated Family-Centered Behavioral Health Screening & Preventive Intervention for Pediatric Cardiomyopathy
University of California, Los Angeles, CA
Juan Alejos, MD, Patricia Lester, MD – $50,000

Having a child with cardiomyopathy can impact the entire family, and distress in vulnerable families can affect patient behavioral health and medical health outcomes. Given the costs, transportation issues, time, and stigma associated with mental health care, preventive behavioral health programs that can be delivered at a distance to overcome common barriers to engagement and access to care are needed. The proposed project, Families OverComing Under Stress – Pediatric and Adolescent Cardiology (FOCUS-PAC), offers a novel approach to address this need. FOCUS-PAC involves family-centered behavioral health screening with guided feedback in the outpatient clinic setting, coupled with a trauma-informed intervention delivered via in-home video-teleconferencing (VTC). The VTC component includes: 1) ongoing trauma-informed psychoeducation and developmental guidance, 2) development of positive and effective parenting, and family-level resilience skills such as communication, emotional regulation, goal setting, and problem solving, and 4) creation of a family narrative to enhance positive meaning making, co-parenting, parent-child relationships, as well as family cohesion and support. Pediatric CM patients (ages 8-18) and families will be recruited from the outpatient cardiology clinic at UCLA Children’s Mattel Hospital. Findings from this study can provide a road map to an effective implementation of an innovative integrated family-centered screening and preventive intervention to improve behavioral health outcomes and treatment adherence outcomes for cardiomyopathy patients.