Amy Mikolajewski, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Tulane University School of Medicine was recently named the 2021 Early Career Psychologist by the Louisiana Psychological Association.
“Amy is a first rate clinician and scholar,” said Dr. Laurel Franklin, awards chair for the Association, “which is best evidenced by her ability to secure funding at such an early stage of her career. As a postdoctoral research fellow at Tulane she secured a prestigious NIH K award- the first to be awarded at her facility since prior to hurricane Katrina.”
Paul Frick, PhD, the Roy Crumpler Memorial Chair in the Department of Psychology at Louisiana State University, said, “Amy is an extremely well deserving recipient of this award. Her research on the temperamental and parental influences on childhood behavior problems is extremely important and earned her a prestigious K-award from the National Institute of Mental Health. The state of Louisiana is lucky to have her in the state and her work will greatly advance both science and the potential well-being of Louisiana families.”
Dr. Mikolajewski’s research focuses on externalizing disorders over the lifespan, with a particular interest in biological, dispositional, and environmental correlates. She is the recipient and PI of the NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development grant for her project, “Psychophysiology and Social Processes in Very Young Children with Externalizing Problems.”
“My current research is focused on understanding the biological and social processes underlying early childhood disruptive behaviors,” she said. “I hope to build upon this work to examine the stability and predictive ability of these factors over time. In other words, are the biological and social processes that we’re identifying useful for predicting later behavior? And how can we use that information to tailor treatment for young children with disruptive behaviors and prevent negative outcomes?
“In the meantime, I will continue to use our best empirically supported treatments to treat children with disruptive behaviors. I know my clinical work informs my research and hopefully, down the road, my research will also provide insights into ways to further strengthen our empirically based treatment approaches.”
Examples of Dr. Mikolajewski’s publications include:
“Employing the Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) Model and predicting successful completion in an alternative drug court program: Preliminary findings from the Orleans Parish Drug Court.” In Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, with Allan, N., Merrill, L., Carter, M., Manguno-Mire, G.;
“An epidemiologic study of COVID-19 patients in a state psychiatric hospital: High penetrance rate despite following initial CDC guidelines.” In Psychiatric Services, with Thompson, J.W., Kissinger, P., McCrossen, P., Smither, A., Chamarthi, G. D., Lin, Z., Tian, D.;
“Psychometric properties of a semi-structured interview to assess limited prosocial emotions.” In Assessment, with Walker, T. M., Frick, P. J., Matlasz, T., Robertson, E. L., Mitchell, C, Lopez-Duran, N., Monk, C., Hyde, L. W.;
“The Developmental Propensity Model extends to oppositional defiant disorder: A twin study.” In Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, with Hart, S. A., & Taylor, J.; and
“Examining the Prospective relationship between pre-disaster respiratory sinus arrhythmia and post-disaster posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in children.” In Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, with Scheeringa, M.
Dr. Mikolajewski’s work also includes book chapters on “Antisocial Personality Disorder” in Encyclopedia of Adolescence, and numerous presentations including, “Trauma type, baseline respiratory sinus arrhythmia, and oppositional defiant disorder dimensions,” presented at the Society for Research in Child Development; “Risk assessment in the context of conditional release decision-making: Outcomes and future directions,” presented at the American Psychology and Law Society; and “Pre-disaster salivary cortisol prospectively predicts post-disaster posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in children,” presented at the Society for Research in Child Development.
Included in her poster presentations are topics such as, “Differences in substance use trajectories across treatment tracks in the Orleans Parish Drug Court,” presented at the American Psychology and Law Society, and “The developmental propensity model extends to oppositional defiant disorder,” presented at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
She is the recipient and PI of the NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health Human Development grant for her project, “Psychophysiology and Social Processes in Very Young Children with Externalizing Problems.”
How does she feel about this award? “To receive recognition for my work in this group is such an honor,” she said. “I am so grateful for the encouragement and support,” said Dr. Mikolajewski.
“For me, all the steps along the way to becoming a clinical psychologist have been meaningful accomplishments, from getting into grad school, to publishing articles, to getting licensed, to getting hired as faculty. You have to celebrate all the good stuff! The accomplishment I am most proud of is being awarded an NIH Career Development Award. It is very rewarding to work hard on a grant application and have experts in your field see the value in your plans and ideas. That said, I could not have done it alone. My mentors, Dr. Michael Scheeringa and Dr. Paul Frick, as well as numerous other consultants and colleagues have been incredibly helpful and generous with their time. Building an amazing network and being surrounded by brilliant scholars has been one of the best parts of the job.”