Perinatal to Five Mental Health (P-5)
Supporting the healthy psychological development of the youngest among our underserved populations
Psychologists are continuing to learn more about the importance of mental health in early childhood and the need for high quality services for children between birth and five years old. During this key developmental period, children experience critical brain development and learn to establish secure relationships, explore the environment they live in, and experience and express a wide range of emotions. Deprivation or trauma can have serious and long-term effects, making timely intervention and treatment by trained specialists critical in promoting children’s healthy psychological development.
While the need is understood, the demand is far from being met. Across the state of Colorado, children and families, especially those in underserved populations, await critical mental health screenings. There is also insufficient training for early education providers, and very few health providers are specially trained in this area.
The Perinatal to Five Mental Health (P-5) specialty addresses growing needs of our community by significantly increasing the number of graduates trained to provide the highest quality of service to perinatal caregivers and their children from birth to five, generating new applied knowledge in this area, and supporting interdisciplinary partnerships that promote health for young children and their caregivers. Specifically, our specialty focuses on addressing the needs of underserved populations, particularly Spanish-speaking and rural caregivers across the state as well as perinatal mothers, fathers, and parenting partners experiencing trauma, anxiety, depression, substance use, and other mental health difficulties experienced during the transition to parenting.
Black Lives Matter.
The P-5 specialty works with the Diversity-Informed Tenets for Work with Infants, Children & Families as guiding, foundational, and aspirational principles in our training through coursework, applied clinical research, and clinical practice. Within the specialty we view our work in diversity-informed practice to be a process and we take responsibility for wanting to broaden and deepen our knowledge and change our practices, accordingly. It is our intention to engage students in this process as we view our growth as interactive among faculty, staff, and students.
Tenets Initiative. (2018). Diversity-Informed Tenets for Work with Infants, Children & Families/Principios informados en la diversidad para trabajar con bebés, niños, niñas y familias. Chicago, IL: Irving Harris Foundation. Retrieved from: https://diversityinformedtenets.org/download-the-tenets/.
In addition to focused and relevant academic offerings, students have the opportunity to train in the Caring for You and Baby (CUB) Clinic. We offer services in several settings across the Denver Metro area. Our primary location is in our community-based clinic on campus, but we also offer services at a second CUB Clinic location in the Rose Andom Center. Additionally, in 2019, we launched ParentLine Colorado, which offers free telehealth services to new and expecting families across the state.The CUB Clinic
Meet Our Team
Dr. Tracy Vozar - Faculty Director
Dr. Tracy Vozar is the Director of the Perinatal to Five Mental Health specialty at GSPP. Tracy was previously on the faculty at Tulane University in New Orleans, the Erikson Institute, and at the University of Chicago's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience. She completed her internship and post-doctoral fellowship in infant mental health at Tulane University. Tracy earned her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Iowa.
Her clinical and research interests involve the intersections between perinatal and infant mental health. She works clinically with parents and their young children using individual, dyadic and group approaches to treatment. Tracy researches constructs central to these areas including perinatal depression and anxiety, parenting self-efficacy and cultural adaptations to treatment approaches. She enjoys supervising students interested in working with pregnant and postpartum families.
Dr. Beth Troutman - Visiting Faculty
Beth Troutman, Ph.D., ABPP is currently completing a Visiting Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Denver. She is visiting from the University of Iowa College of Medicine where she is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry. For the past 40 years, she has conducted research, clinical work, and training in infant and early childhood mental health. Dr. Troutman’s research on infant and early childhood mental health has been published in peer-reviewed developmental and clinical journals and presented at national and international meetings. Her book, Integrating Behaviorism and Attachment Theory in Parent Coaching, published by Springer in 2015, has been widely read by researchers and mental health providers. The Korean translation of Integrating Behaviorism and Attachment Theory in Parent Coaching was published by HAKJISA in 2019. Over the past decade, Dr. Troutman was more than 500 mental health providers in her attachment-informed approach to improving parent-child interactions (IoWA-PCIT).
Dr. John Holmberg - Faculty
John Holmberg attained his graduate degrees in Clinical Psychology from Baylor University. Then, he completed a two-year clinical fellowship at the Yale University Child Study Center. John was part of the research faculty at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Pediatrics and Psychiatry for 13 years. John was first a research associate working on the Nurse-Family Partnership program – an evidence-based home-visiting intervention for low-income first-time mothers. John coordinated two phases of longitudinal follow-up of the (n>650) families in the Denver trial and collaborated on a range of home-visiting program improvement efforts including nurse training, mental health screening, as well as father involvement and paternal programming. After NFP, John worked to further the dissemination effort of another evidence-based preventive intervention called Fostering Healthy Futures - a secondary prevention program for pre-teens placed in foster care. After a time in private-practice, John began teaching Ethics at GSPP and, recently, joined the faculty as a Research Associate Professor. John’s research interests span a wide range including physical and emotional safety of clinicians, clinical implications of the #MeToo movement, ethical violations by clinicians, preventive intervention outcome studies, father intervention development, parental mental health disorders in the perinatal period, father participation in home-visiting programs, community violence, play therapy, as well as child development, child psychopathology and tools to assess social-emotional functioning in children. His research focus at GSPP is on program development and clinical training with emphasis on targeting and engaging fathers.
Dr. Kelly Lavin - Post-Doctoral Fellow
Dr. Kelly Lavin is a postdoctoral fellow in the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder specialties in the Graduate School of Professional Psychology at the University of Denver. Dr. Lavin’s research focuses on maternal and child well-being during perinatal and early childhood periods. Prior to joining the GSPP, Dr. Lavin was a research associate at Georgetown University’s Center for Child and Human Development where she gained extensive training and experience in program development and evaluation. Dr. Lavin earned her doctorate in Human Development with a concentration in Children, Families, and Cultures from the Catholic University of America and her master’s degree in Counseling Psychology Clinical Mental Health from the University of Denver. Dr. Lavin's research and clinical training is guided by a developmental psychopathology framework, which has informed her approach to developing, implementing, and evaluating programmatic interventions that are culturally sensitive and tailored to meet the needs of the community.
Dr. Atsuko Hanley - CUB Clinic Manager
Bio coming soon.
Lauren Gross, M.A. - Graduate Research Assistant & Doctoral Trainee
Lauren Gross is a third year PsyD student at the Graduate School of Professional Psychology (GSPP) at the University of Denver. Lauren received her Master’s degree from San Diego State University, where she worked in a research lab that focused on understanding the neuropsychological profile of children who had been prenatally exposed to alcohol. Prior to graduate school, Lauren worked for several years in a basic science research lab that studied the development and regeneration of the mammalian taste system. At GSPP, Lauren has been involved in various research projects in the area of Perinatal to 5 Mental Health, including being a part of designing and conducting the WePlay Denver program, a parent-child playgroup at the Children’s Museum of Denver. Lauren provides services for perinatal individuals and families with young children. Her goal is to continue to work with underserved populations, both by providing accessible services and innovative community projects.
We're working to create a world in which:
- Expecting caregivers receive support and care during pregnancy and throughout the transition into parenthood.
- Children in the critical 0-5 age range have the best possible chance to lead healthy lives and have bright futures, thanks in part to interventions and projects designed for families and communities.
- Children and families receive more effective treatment through mental health screenings that identify issues early.
- Expert clinical providers are readily available to meet the need for high-quality assessment and intervention services.
The Expecting Well Being Program
Over the past two years, we have developed clinical training and applied research collaborations across the state and country. Some examples of our successful partnerships include MotherWise Colorado, the Rose Andom Center, Children’s Museum of Denver, Denver Public Libraries, Vicki Myhren Gallery, Birch Psychology, the University of Iowa, the University of San Francisco, Colorado Association for Infant Mental Health, Mental Health Center of Denver, Morgridge College of Education, and Fisher Early Learning Center.