Child Development and Behavioral Health

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The mission of the Division of Child Development and Behavioral Health is to serve our patients with the finest clinical care supported by the research and educational resources of a leading academic institution. The Division was created in September, 2005 when the Department of Pediatrics formally merged its Child Development Unit (CDU), whose pediatricians and psychologists treat developmental and behavioral disorders, with the Durham Community Guidance Clinic (CGC), where doctors and therapists have been providing psychiatric care and substance abuse treatment to Durham County children and adolescents since 1947. This joint effort continues to be the delivery of high quality diagnostic and treatment services for children and their families with psychiatric, developmental and behavioral illnesses in cooperation with other medical care providers, school systems, and social service agencies.

The Division faculty and staff include a child psychiatrist, developmental pediatrician, child psychologists, physician assistant, child psychiatric social workers and licensed substance abuse counselors. Division faculty members participate in NIH, NICHD, National Fragile X Foundation, NIDA and SAMHSA funded clinical research in the areas of suicide prevention, fragile X genetic counseling and phenotype/genotype clinical correlation studies, interventions in Down syndrome and Pompe disease, pain and quality of life in children with chronic medical conditions, and effective outpatient adolescent and young adult substance use treatments. These efforts occur in collaboration with other Duke University Medical Center research groups, including the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Division of Medical Genetics.

In few other areas of pediatrics is child advocacy so fundamental to the work done by every clinical provider in Child Development and Behavioral Health. To this end, Division faculty members have taken leadership roles in program development and service delivery systems at the local, state, and national level in professional organizations and on advisory panels focused on promoting the emotional, behavioral, intellectual, and developmental well being of youth.