Barakat Research Program
The goals of Dr. Barakat’s pediatric psychology lab are consistent with those of the Center for Childhood Cancer Section on Behavioral Oncology. These are to apply behavioral translational research to improve outcomes in pediatric cancer across the continuum of care with an emphasis on developmental and psychosocial processes of risk and resilience. We achieve our mission by developing, evaluating, and disseminating translational models of psychosocial research and evidence-based practice, applying contextual models (e.g. family and social ecology), and providing leadership in behavioral translational research and training across health disciplines. Specifically, we conduct innovative research in the following critical areas of inquiry in pediatric cancer: psychosocial screening and intervention, children in the context of their families, schools, and communities, adolescents and youth adults (AYA), health behaviors, disease management, and adherence, and neurocognitive and functional outcomes.
Dr. Barakat is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics of the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania and Director of Psychosocial Services in the Division of Oncology at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. As a senior investigator on projects funded through NHLBI, NCMHD, and St. Baldrick's Foundation, her research focuses on evidence-based assessment of psychosocial risk in families of children newly diagnosed with cancer, family interventions to improve disease management, quality of life and school functioning among children with sickle cell disease and their caregivers, identifying strategies to increase recruitment and retention in clinical trials in pediatric sickle cell disease, and disparities in pediatric oncology follow-up care.
Her current role as Director of Psychosocial Services in Oncology allows her to bridge clinical research with practice to implement evidence-based assessment and intervention and support research recruitment efforts. In this role, she develops, implements, and monitors child, adolescent, and family programming offered by a multidisciplinary team including a new foundation-funded initiative focused on adolescent and young adult psychosocial services programming.
Dr. Barakat is involved in mentorship of pediatric psychologists at all levels of training from students conducting undergraduate internships to predoctoral practica and internships, and postdoctoral fellows and early career psychologists. She is mentor on Dr. Meghan Marsac’s NIH-funded K award to examine child and family coping in the context of pediatric traumatic injury and Dr. Matthew Hocking’s ACS postdoctoral fellowship award that determines the association of family functioning with neurocognitive outcomes among young adult survivors of brain tumors. In addition, she serves as sponsor on two nursing F31 predoctoral awards for Barbara Beacham and Matthew Lucas. Dr. Barakat supervises a capable team of research assistants with future plans for careers in public health, medicine, and pediatric psychology.