Psychologists named ‘Champions for Children’

May 8, 2014 11:00 AM

Keith Brannon

Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana, a statewide nonprofit devoted to protecting children from abuse, honored two Tulane University School of Medicine faculty members with the organization’s prestigious Champions For Children Award for their extensive work in infant mental health.
For the last 16 years, Julie Larrieu and Paula Doyle Zeanah have provided training in infant mental health to more than 1,000 professionals in the fields of public health, child welfare, early intervention and mental health as well as to court-appointed special advocates from state departments and community agencies. When the two began their efforts in the 1990’s, few in state government had even heard the term “infant mental health,” but now it’s considered a crucial component of the state’s early childhood efforts across governmental departments.
“Louisiana is considered a national leader in infant mental health in part because of the efforts of these two distinguished faculty members,” says Dr. Charles Zeanah, Mary Peters Sellars-Polchow Chair of Psychiatry at Tulane.
For two decades, Larrieu has served as associate director of the Tulane Infant Team, an award-winning, community-based intervention for maltreated infants and young children in the metropolitan area. The team works with the Department of Children and Family Services and juvenile courts to provide services to maltreated young children and their families, attempting to ensure the best possible quality foster care for young children while attempting to reunite foster children with their parents.
Paula Zeanah has served for nearly 15 years in various leadership roles in the Nurse Family Partnership in Louisiana, under the state Office of Public Health. The program serves first-time, disadvantaged pregnant mothers and their children. She has overseen implementation of infant mental consultation to teams of nurses provided by professionals trained at Tulane. The program has grown dramatically in Louisiana, and now operates in 54 of the state’s 64 parishes.

Larrieu and Zeanah are in the Department of Psychiatry’s section of child and adolescent psychiatry.

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Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000