Health Care Partnerships

Children's Loss and Grief


Partnership and collaboration is key
This project includes community collaborations between the Garland School of Social Work, Baylor Psychology Center with Family Health Center and Providence Hospice.

About the project
The Garland School of Social Work is engaged in a significant research project with the Family Health Center to explore the association between children’s loss and grief and a diagnosis of ADHD. Dr. Helen Harris at the GSSW worked closely with Dr. Burritt Hess at the Family Health Center to complete a physician survey of practices and a medical record audit of almost 400 children with a diagnosis of ADHD in a three year period. They found that physicians identified a number of psychosocial stressors in children with ADHD; most were examples of ambiguous losses including absent parent, divorce, abuse, and domestic violence.

Results and next steps
Results of this study have been submitted for review for publication. Drs. Harris and Hess are currently leading a research study at the Family Health Center in which children identified with symptoms of ADHD are screened for trauma, loss, and grief. Those children identified with symptoms of both are referred for psychological testing at the clinic and at the Baylor Psychology Center and are also referred to Providence Hospice for children’s bereavement groups. These groups are led by a combination of Providence Hospice staff and MSW students trained by Dr. Harris in a grief model enhanced by resilience skill training.

Bereavement Assessment and Materials

Dr. Helen Harris of the Garland School of Social Work is partnering with Dr. Bill Hoy in Medical Humanities and Dr. Joyce Nunner in Family and Consumer Science to develop, test, and launch a comprehensive self-efficacy bereavement assessment and bereavement psychoeducational materials and referrals for hospice families, medical providers for peri-natal death, and other grief and bereavement service providers. The project will include community partnerships with hospices, hospitals, and other health providers.