CLINICAL UNIT BASED RESEARCH
Developmental Psychology and Psychopathology Programs
RALLY Prevention Programs
The RALLY Program (Responsive Advocacy for Life and Learning in Youth) provides children with integrated mental health services and educational supports while helping them build strong relationships with adults and peers that strengthen their resiliency. RALLY is both an in-school and after-school prevention program and currently operates in four public middle schools across the country, with two sites in Boston, one in the Bronx, and one in San Francisco. Two new sites are in the planning stage, one in Ohio and one at the Mary E. Curley Middle School in Boston. RALLY staff work as "prevention practitioners," a new professional role the program is evolving to support young adolescents identified as being at-risk for psychological problems and school failure.
Gil Noam, Ed.D.
We believe that prevention practitioner's who actively bridge children's experiences at school, at home and in the community, will greatly reduce the onset or continuation of problems. With children's developmental needs in mind, practitioners focus on three primary objectives: relationship building and counseling, linking the different worlds of the child (school, afterschool, home, peer, community), and providing academic support in classrooms. RALLY is committed to placing supports in the classroom rather than pulling children out for specialized services. The classroom thus becomes the hub of collaborative activities between teachers, students and prevention practitioners. At-risk students do not feel stigmatized by the attention they receive and all students are able to benefit from RALLY's services.
Under the direction of Dr. Gil Noam, a child and adolescent psychologist at McLean Hospital, RALLY's Boston sites operate as partnerships between the host schools (the Taft Middle School in Brighton and the Cleveland Middle School in Dorchester), the Harvard Graduate School of Education (which provides practitioners-in-training as part of the Master's Program in Risk and Prevention), and McLean Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital/ Harvard Medical School (which provide consulting and assessment services and practitioner supervision). RALLY's Boston sites have also developed an extensive network of local partner organizations that are able to provide RALLY students with additional services. Current partners include mental health providers, afterschool programs, mentoring programs and other community organizations.
In October the RALLY program received a grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation to establish an in-school and after school-based mental health program in the Mary E. Curley Middle School located in Jamaica Plain, Boston. See the article in the News section for more information.
GEAR UP Program
GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is a U.S. Department of Education program that partners institutions of higher education with public schools to significantly increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education. GEAR UP follows a cohort model, focusing its services on the classes of 2005 and 2006. GEAR UP will work with these two "classes" from the time they enter seventh grade until their high school graduation.
The GEAR UP in Boston Project is a collaboration of Harvard University, Boston public schools and the Boston Higher Education Partnership. McLean Hospital and its RALLY program serve as the mental health arm of this initiative. McLean staff works with the Grover Cleveland Middle School in Dorchester and Madison Park Technical Vocational High School in Roxbury. To promote the success of the students at the partner schools, Harvard has created an intra-university collaboration between McLean Hospital, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Office of Government and Community Affairs, the Harvard College Admissions Office and many other departments throughout the University. Harvard and its partner schools work together to provide GEAR UP students with a wide range of services and opportunities designed to increase students' interest in and preparation for higher education. In-school and after-school offerings include: tutoring/homework help, the RALLY program (see description above), field trips, college and career awareness sessions, athletics, enrichment activities and mentoring. The program is carefully evaluated to ensure that it is meeting students' needs.
Harvard After School Initiative (HASI)
HASI is a new $5 million initiative by Harvard University to increase the quantity and quality of after-school programming in the Boston area. HASI's efforts are focused on three Boston neighborhoods: Allston-Brighton, Mission Hill and the Fenway. Over the next five years HASI will provide funding to afterschool programs in these neighborhoods as well as select afterschool programs affiliated with Harvard University. We are charged with providing technical assistance and research and development support to the initiative. HASI operates in collaboration with the Boston After School for All partnership. As part of this initiative, McLean Hospital is collaborating with Harvard University, the Mayor's 2:00-6:00 Afterschool Initiative and the Boston Public Health Commission to provide mental health workshops to the youth development community of Boston and Cambridge.
Evaluation at McLean Hospital / Harvard Medical School
The Assessment and Evaluation Service of the Child and Adolescent Program at McLean Hospital is dedicated to the careful study of development, risk and resilience in youth. All of the RALLY programs are evaluated with both qualitative and quantitative methods. Students' outcomes are followed over time, including their symptom status, resilience status, developmental status, academic success and satisfaction with the programs.