Center for Promotion of Child Development through Primary Care

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Cisco Foundation Awards ADHD Project Linking Teachers, Pediatricians, and Parents

Baltimore, MD: 20 March 2007 — The Cisco Systems Foundation announced today a major award to the Center for Promotion of Child Development through Primary Care for a novel research project to identify and optimize the treatment of elementary school children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in three Mississippi school districts.

The project is designed to reduce the adverse outcomes for children with ADHD by assuring proper identification and treatment. The project will test this assumption by assigning the participants to either a "usual care" group or an intervention group in which the pediatrician uses CHADIS, a clinical support technology, and then following them over time. The research will examine whether children in the intervention group have fewer behavioral symptoms, fewer school problems including reports of disruptive classroom behavior, suspensions and expulsions, class absences, behavioral interventions and better grades than children in the usual care group. The Center expects that future follow-up studies will show less substance abuse, depression, conduct disorder, and fewer accidents and injuries.

Through the CHADIS technology, the project provides primary care physicians with access to both teacher observations about their students and parent observations about their children. This combination of parent and teacher data, including an in-depth computerized interview of the parent, is what is needed to confirm the diagnosis while avoiding over diagnosis and to detect associated mental health conditions that are often overlooked. At the same time CHADIS provides "point of care" physician education and decision support to assist the doctor in confirming and/or further exploring the problem, and in providing systematic treatment planning. The linked resource database gives access to thousands of relevant national and community resources for ADHD and other associated problems. In these ways and through bi-monthly case conference webcasts the project addresses the limited training and experience of many primary care doctors with ADHD.

Treatment for those with a diagnosis will include both non-medication and medication interventions. If medication is warranted and is chosen by the family as part of the treatment plan, the intervention protocol suggests that the effectiveness of the medicine be demonstrated through a "single patient placebo trial". This will also be used to optimize dosage. The treatment plan will also include parent education, use of competency building activities, tutoring and mental health referral when indicated. These activities help overcome the limitations that untreated ADHD otherwise imposes on children.

For more information contact: Barbara Howard at +1 410-807-4500