SC Clinical & Translational Science Institute, Office of Community Engagement 


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Volume 1, Issue 9                                                                                                                                              August 2012

In This Issue 
2011 Pilot Award: Taking Mindfulness to School

 Fall 2012 CTSI Pilot Annoucement


Future Issues 


What else is the CTSI doing for DMH and the mental health community?


Who are the Mental Health Scholars?


These and other questions will be answered in the

future editions

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  Spring 2011 Cycle CTSI Pilot Award -

A Research Project in Progress

From Clinic to Classroom:

Taking Mindfulness to School




Randye J. Semple, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor in the

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral

Sciences at USC

Member, SC CTSI Community Engagement

Children's Mental Health Research

 Task Force  





Stress and anxiety affect millions of children and cost the US billions of health-care dollars every year. Developing, implementing, and disseminating cost-effective, evidence-based mental health services for children is a national priority. In 2011, the CTSI funded a pilot study by Dr. Semple designed to address this problem by testing an effective school-based mindfulness curriculum that bolsters children's social-emotional competencies. CTSI funding for this study is allowing clinical research to advance to the next level of translation and increase the likelihood of Dr. Semple obtaining external grant funding to conduct a subsequent, appropriately powered, randomized trial. When one of the study sites was unable to continue due to a key participant's illness, the CTSI's Community Engagement staff assisted Dr. Semple by quickly identifying another site (in a school district that is a member of Community Engagement's Children's Mental Health Research Task Force), so the research could continue moving forward.


About Dr. Semple. Dr. Semple's research and clinical interests are in the application of mindfulness to psychological health and well-being. Current research projects include the development and integration of a school-based mindfulness training program for children and the evaluation of Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy for perinatal women with bipolar disorder. Dr. Semple is co-author of the book, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Anxious Children; Associate Editor of the peer-reviewed journal Mindfulness; and past-President of the Mindfulness and Acceptance special interest group of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. Her work in the area of mindfulness with youth has been at the forefront of growing international interest in mindfulness-based therapies in mental health care for the past decade. The popular media has followed her work in radio and newspaper interviews. She has presented this topic at local, national, and international professional conferences; in numerous published scientific papers and book chapters; and through workshops, consulting, and invited lectures.


Background for the Pilot Project. Stress and anxiety are the most common mental health problems in youth, and they are also the most costly. Symptoms frequently begin in childhood, tend to be persistent, and often lead to subsequent emotional or behavioral disorders. Early remediation can reduce future difficulties, such as adolescent depression, alcohol or substance abuse, and academic, legal, or conduct problems.


Growing evidence shows that mindfulness-based therapies are effective in treating a variety of adult mood and anxiety disorders. Mindfulness training has been found to reduce rumination, behavioral avoidance, and emotional reactivity; enhance attention, increase well-being and social-emotional resiliency; promote flexible management of anxiety-provoking situations; and improve decision-making skills.


Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Children (MBCT-C) is an innovative group psychotherapy for anxious children that was co-developed and evaluated by Dr. Semple. MBCT-C is modeled on an empirically supported adult program. It uses novel, creative, and developmentally appropriate interventions to reduce anxiety, enhance attention, and bolster social-emotional resiliency. Dr. Semple then further adapted MBCT-C into a school-based curriculum called Mindfulness Matters! that is conducted by teachers in classrooms. The goals of this 12-week classroom-based curriculum are to improve children's social-emotional competencies in six domains: (1) enhance present-focused awareness; (2) bolster social-emotional resiliency; (3) increase cognitive flexibility; (4) make more skillful behavioral choices; (5) promote adaptive changes in how they relate to thoughts, emotions, and body sensations; and (6) cultivate acceptance of things that cannot be changed.



The Pilot Study. The pilot study evaluation of Mindfulness Matters! began by conducting teacher training with Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) teachers in classrooms at two participating schools. The first phase was conducted in collaboration with PUSD social workers, educators, and mindfulness experts. Teachers were trained and supervised by Dr. Semple. PUSD students were then recruited for a feasibility evaluation and to support teacher training. Dr. Semple introduced the curriculum to two small focus groups of children (N = 12) and invited feedback. A third focus group will be held at an elementary school in the ABC Unified School District. Qualitative and quantitative data from the focus groups helped refine the protocol for the intervention groups. Two afterschool intervention groups (N = 25) were conducted by PUSD teachers during the 2011-2012 school year. A third intervention group (N = 20) will be conducted at Cerritos Elementary School in the ABC Unified School District during the upcoming 2012-2013 school year.


Children are eligible to participate in this study if they are enrolled in grades 3 through 5 (ages 8 through 12), speak English, and obtain parental consent. Children are excluded if they have physical or emotional conditions that require treatments not provided in this study.



Teacher training requirements, procedures, and fidelity measures are being developed and evaluated. Children in the intervention groups are being assessed pre-intervention and post-intervention. After the completion of the third intervention group at Cerritos Elementary School, data from all three schools will be combined to evaluate the validity and usefulness of relevant outcome measures related to children's (1) clinical symptoms; (2) mindfulness; (3) emotion regulation; (4) executive functioning; and (5) behavioral functioning. These results will be available in June 2013.


UpcomingPilotAwardsUpcoming Fall 2012 Pilot Award Cycle 

SC-CTSI pilot awards are intended to accelerate translation of basic, clinical, or population findings into clinical or community health applications.  They support specific career development efforts in translational science, as well as all phases of translational research, from pre-clinical translational studies to community partnered outcomes and effectiveness research.



Two funding and review cycles are offered per year, Spring and Fall.  For the upcoming Fall 2012 cycle:

  • Applications Open - September 7, 2012
  • Applications Due - September 28, 2012 @ 11:59 PM PST
  • Award Start Date - March 1, 2013


The Community Engagement program is holding a meeting for all interested in the RFA's listed below.  This meeting will review the funding mechanisms including those recently added and answer any questions you may have.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

9:30AM - 11:30AM

USC, Health Sciences Campus

Harkness Auditorium

2250 Alcazar Street, CSC 250

Los Angeles, CA 90033


 RSVP by August 24, 2012 to Mayra Rubio-Diaz.  If you can't attend but have questions about a research proposal idea please contact us.


For more information visit our website.



The following opportunities will be presented at our informational meeting.




Multidisciplinary Research Project: $50,000

Description / RFA 

These awards fund the development of new team-based translational research and complex cross-disciplinary research projects. Funds may be used for acquisition of pilot data or for program development activities.



T2/T3 (Bedside-to-Community): $30,000
These awards support the following activities: planning activities for further funding proposal submission or pilot studies using human subjects; gathering data to promote use of translational research; delivering clinical innovations; developing evidence-based guidelines and promoting their adoption.

Community-based Health Intervention: $30,000
These awards support planning activities for further funding proposal submission or pilot population-based studies and community interventions. They may use a variety of methods to interact in communities.

Health and Research Policy: $30,000
These awards support planning activities for further funding proposal submission or pilot projects in health and research policy around development, conduct, and dissemination of clinical and translational research and health outcomes evaluation of translational research applications in the community.




Team Building Incubator Grant: $5,000

Description / RFA

These awards fund the development of new team-based translational research and complex cross-disciplinary research projects. Funds may be used for acquisition of pilot data or for program development activities.

This grant provides funding for team-building activities (conferences/workshops/seminars) that promote the SC-CTSI goal of developing new multidisciplinary research teams that can conduct leading edge clinical and translational research.


Mobile Health Research Project: $40,000
Funds under this mechanism are available for research-focused projects in mobile health (mHealth), defined as the use of mobile technology in conjunction with Internet and social media to improve health and wellness and/or to manage disease. mHealth emphasizes use by laypeople but alos includes use by clinicians and other health care workers (including public there exists an unmet need or the potential for significate improvement over current approaches.

Submitted by Holly Kiger, RN, MN, CNS, Research Navigator, SC -CTSI, Community Engagement