(From the June 2016 issue of Research Now)
Cynthia A. Gerhardt, PhD, director of the Center for Biobehavioral Health and co-director for the Patient-Centered Pediatric Research Fellowship (PC-PReP) in The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, received the Dennis Drotar Distinguished Research Award in Pediatric Psychology from Division 54 (the Society of Pediatric Psychology) of the American Psychological Association (APA) at the Society for Pediatric Psychology Annual Conference in April 2016. The award recognizes "excellence and significant contributions in establishing the scientific base of pediatric psychology" and is a testament to Dr. Gerhardt's many accomplishments as a researcher, leader and mentor in the field.
Dr. Gerhardt is also an associate professor of Pediatrics and Psychology at The Ohio State University. Her work is focused on identifying risk and resilience factors associated with family adjustment to childhood chronic illnesses, particularly cancer. Her early studies highlighted considerable resilience among long-term survivors of childhood cancer, while more recent research has identified vulnerabilities among bereaved parents and siblings.
Dr. Gerhardt's current efforts involve international collaborations aimed at understanding trajectories of symptom burden and decision making at the end of a child’s life, fertility and psychosexual development in survivorship, interventions to improve family coping and communication, as well as the evaluation of innovative healthcare and community-based programming to improve outcomes for providers and families. She has published nearly 100 papers and book chapters in this area, and has received multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society to support her research.
In addition, Dr. Gerhardt has contributed to the development of international standards for psychosocial care for children with cancer and their families, and she has been actively involved in the mentoring of students and trainees in her lab for almost 20 years.