Tulane child psychiatrist named Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has selected Tulane University School of Medicine pediatrician and child psychiatrist Dr. Lauren Teverbaugh as a Clinical Scholars Fellow.

The national leadership program connects changemakers across the country to learn from and work with one another in creating more just and thriving communities. Fellows collaborate on a project to address complex health problems.

Teverbaugh is a part of EmPOWER NOLA, a RWJF cohort of New Orleans healthcare professionals working to help children affected by trauma. A recent survey of 5,000 youth by the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies found a high prevalence of children in the city living through profoundly traumatic events.

RWJF awarded the team a three-year, $432,000 grant to design and implement their project to develop interventions and partnerships that promote trauma-informed spaces to treat and support children living with trauma. The team will work to unify fragmented systems of support, create trauma-informed spaces within naturally occurring social networks and connect formal pediatric mental health treatment structures with naturally occurring informal ones. 

Teverbaugh will provide clinical direction for the project.

“Adversities experienced during childhood have long and enduring effects,” Teverbaugh said. “Our children are brilliant, brave and resilient. They are also hurting. We owe it to our children and to our community to be able to recognize and address their hurt in ways that allow them to grow to their fullest capacity.”

EmPOWER NOLA also includes Dr. Maurice Sholas, principal, Sholas Medical Consulting LLC; Clinical Psychologist Dr. Arnold James; and Licensed Master Social Worker Rhonda M. Jackson.

The team will work with leaders and organizations in naturally occurring social networks, including social aid and pleasure clubs as well as charter school system mental health professionals.  

“Strongly cohesive, naturally occurring social networks that have decades of history in the various communities of Orleans Parish serve a strong healing purpose for people historically disenfranchised from traditional mental health and social supports,” Teverbaugh said. “Getting the evidence-based clinical resources of the formal support structures paired with culturally competent access for the affected community has been historically challenging. The theory of change that we hope to implement is that a larger percentage of children living with profound trauma will be able to access services through bridging two needs: increasing the cultural competence of our fragmented mental health treatment network, and empowering communities to more effectively access resources to support our children.”

To learn more about EmPOWER NOLA, visit https://empowernolaproject.org.

Listen to Lauren Teverbaugh discuss helping children manage Halloween expectations around COVID-19 on the On Good Authority podcast: