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Guest speaker to address ADHD and Latino families
02-6-14

The Honors Program and the Departments of Psychology and Social Work at Misericordia University are co-sponsoring the presentation, “Training to be a Successful Family: Development and Pilot of Culturally-Modified Parent Training for Latino Families,’’ by Alyson Gerdes, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wis., on Monday, April 14 at 5 p.m. in Lemmond Theater in Walsh Hall. The lecture is open free to the public.

In her presentation, Dr. Gerdes will address how ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorders in children and how it is important for doctors to include ethnic minority groups in their research and treatment. In order for mental health providers to be able to ensure that Latino families in the United States receive appropriate mental health services, Dr. Gerdes says providers need to modify current treatments in a way that incorporates Latino cultural values.
 
In an effort to develop a culturally-sensitive and effective parent training program for Latino youth with ADHD, focus groups with Latino parents were conducted by Dr. Gerdes and used in conjunction with previous research to make changes to a current parent training program that is supported by research. Data from Dr. Gerdes’ study demonstrated that all Latino families successfully completed and reported high satisfaction with the culturally-modified treatment. Eighty percent of children demonstrated reliable improvement in ADHD symptomatology, and 40 percent of parents reported reliable improvement in both parental and family functioning.
 
“The long-term, developmental trajectory of ADHD suggests that these children continue to experience debilitating symptoms, as well as significant academic, social, and family difficulties into adulthood,’’ said Dr. Gerdes. “Given the impact of functional impairment associated with ADHD on the individual and society, it is imperative that effective treatment for ADHD be made available to as many affected youth as possible.’’
 
Dr. Gerdes’ primary research interests include evidence-based assessment and treatment of childhood ADHD, culturally-appropriate clinical practices related to childhood ADHD and Latino mental health disparities, and parent-child and peer relationships in children and teens with ADHD. A licensed psychologist, Dr. Gerdes earned her doctorate from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., after completing her clinical internship at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
 
She completed her postdoctoral training at the Medical College of Wisconsin – Children’s Hospital in 2006, and became a licensed psychologist in 2007. Her clinical and research specialty is childhood ADHD. Dr. Gerdes has also been published numerous times in publications, such as the Journal of Attention Disorders, Journal of Child and Family Studies, Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Child and Family Behavior Therapy and many more.
 
The presentation is part of the Honors Explorations Program at Misericordia University and is also eligible for continuing education credits for licensed social workers.
 
For more information about the lecture or the continuing education credits, please contact Alicia Nordstrom, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Misericordia University, at (570) 674-8008 or e-mail her at anordstr@misericordia.edu.
 
For more information about Misericordia University, please call (570) 674-6400 or log on to www.misericordia.edu. Founded and Sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy in 1924, Misericordia University is Luzerne County’s first four-year college and offers 34 degree programs on the graduate and undergraduate levels in full- and part-time formats. Misericordia University ranks in the top tier of the Best Regional Universities – North category of U.S. News and World Report’s 2014 edition of Best Colleges and was designated a 2014 Best Northeastern College by the Princeton Review.