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Top Doc: Leslie Taylor, PhD

Updated: Oct 13, 2021

Leslie K. Taylor, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and clinical researcher in the Louis A. Faillace, MD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

She enjoys research that can lead to helpful and healing therapies for children, teens, and families, especially for those who have been through very traumatic or frightening events.

Dr. Taylor has over 15 years of experience treating children and youth who have survived abuse, neglect, assault, and other types of catastrophes like natural disasters, physical injuries, or car accidents. Many of these youth and their families come to therapy not knowing what to expect and are not sure how treatment can help them.

There are methods that work really well that can change the way youth and families feel about themselves and their lives after the traumatic event, and through her training and experience, Dr. Taylor is able to help families make these changes.

Through this work Dr. Taylor has become inspired by the resiliency of the human condition and by how a simple thing like listening to patients and their experience of trauma can lead to the development of scientific questions, such as how to improve coping responses among young people who have been through trauma.

For this reason, Dr. Taylor has focused her research on conducting screenings, interventions, and treatment in real-world settings and in learning what factors can cause poor post-traumatic responses in youth. She is able to increase knowledge about youth responses to trauma through her role as the local lead scientist (or principal investigator) on a multisite study, the Childhood Trauma Research Network (CTRN).

The CTRN receives funds from Senate Bill 11, which supports several different projects to improve access to mental health, like increased child mental health intervention programs, helping to train new child mental health professionals, and funding research studies focused on children’s mental health concerns.

The CTRN is made up of 12 different academic medical centers across the state that are all collecting data with the same goal of finding out how to treat, measure, and prevent the aftereffects of trauma in youth.

Dr. Taylor is also developing a research study that explores the experiences of children and adolescents who lost a family member during the pandemic.

Many children and families have not been able to get together to say final goodbyes to their loved ones or to grieve in the ways that they normally would because shelter-in-place or quarantine cautions due to the coronavirus pandemic have prevented hospital visits and public get-togethers. Dr. Taylor is researching the impact of these losses on children’s mental health.

Learn more about Dr. Taylor's research here:

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