Category Archives: Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight

Calling For a Cultural Shift in Pediatric Healthcare: Promoting Integrated, Family-Centered Care

by Katelyn Malvese

One of the greatest flaws in the pediatric healthcare system is the absence of family-centered, integrated care, especially in the context of palliative and intensive care. Having a hospitalized child facing end-of-life and/or intensive care is a grueling, critical time during which caregivers need support. This population is at a greater risk for mental health concerns and crises, including but not limited to anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and post-traumatic symptoms (Ghavi et al., 2022; Salley et al., 2023). As a former child in this population, I can attest to the need for greater support of pediatric patients and their families in hospital settings. 

At fourteen, I lay in an ICU bed, recovering from the physical and emotional trauma I endured through multiple resuscitation attempts. While I had every medical gadget, specialist, and medication on-call, no doctor asked me if I was okay in any capacity (beyond physical) which depersonalized our relationships. There was no market for support groups, mental health counselors, or basic coping techniques. For the longest time, I tried to convince myself I was the only one that had this experience, but after immersing myself into a network of youth and families with complex medical circumstances, I saw how the pediatric healthcare system has failed so many.

My parents watched me with terrified eyes as I seized and nearly lost my life, left to sign consent forms and never receive hospital-referred support. In this moment, the family-centered approach was abandoned, and my parents were left feeling helpless in their parental role and helpless in a medical setting. Meyer et al. (2002) interviewed caregivers of children in the pediatric ICU to gain perspective on the end-of-life care their child and family received. One mother warned, “Do not fall into that detached type of working. Parents need to feel that people really care, not that it’s just a job. The people at the hospital who allowed themselves to have genuine feelings helped me the most.” Clearly, the current model of care is not working, with interactions often feeling more robotic with each set of standard screening questions and timed visits which often are limited to fewer than five face-to-face minutes to maximize productivity.

 It often feels like healthcare has become increasingly depersonalized and that healthcare providers are being denied opportunities to provide the quality, personalized care and treatment they are capable of. The current system of most American pediatric hospitals needs to transform into an integrated, family-centered healthcare model which values holistic treatment and compassion towards both families and employees. Pediatric medicine must work towards an integrated, family-centered model of care where, ideally, the hospital could provide on-site psychosocial care and support for caregivers to overcome common barriers to accessing mental health support during a child’s hospitalization (i.e., connecting with volunteers, Child Life, or other staff to supervise during interventions). Professionals need to bring back compassion, as compassion is at the root of quality care, the center of change, and the future integrated, family-centered pediatric hospital systems. 


Ghavi, A., Hassankhani, H., Powers, K., Arshadi-Bostanabad, M., Namdar-Areshtanab, H., & Heidarzadeh, M. (2022). Parental support needs during pediatric resuscitation: A systematic review. International Emergency Nursing, 63, 101173.

Meyer, E. C., Burns, J. P., Griffith, J. L., & Truog, R. D. (2002). Parental perspectives on end-of-life care in the pediatric intensive care unit. Critical care medicine, 30(1), 226-231.

Salley, C. G., Axelrad, M., Fischer, E., & Steuer, K. B. (2023). But parents need help! Pathways to caregiver mental health care in pediatric hospital settings. Palliative & Supportive Care, 21(2), 347-353.

Katelyn Malvese is a senior at Tufts University studying Psychology and Child Study & Human Development. She plans to stay at Eliot-Pearson for her masters in Child Study & Human Development with a concentration in Clinical-Developmental Health and Psychology.  
Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight: Master’s Candidate Li Yin Cheok

Each month, our Outreach Team highlights a current student who is innovating to positively advance the department’s mission while excelling in their studies at Tufts.

This month, E-P Outreach Coordinator Libby Hunt connected with 2nd year Master’s student Li Yin Cheok to learn more about her time at E-P, her applied work, and her advice for future E-P students. 

Name: Li Yin Cheok

Graduation Year: 2021

Concentration: Clinical-Developmental Health and Psychology

Track: Applied

Advisor: Dr. Eileen Crehan

Libby: You’re on the applied track – what are you doing for your internship?

Li Yin: I am doing an internship that involves work with children who have or are at risk of having developmental delays, and their families.

Libby: What types of research or applied work are you pursuing in the short-term? How does E-P fit in with these plans?

Li Yin: In the short-term, I will be working on a research project at a major hospital in Boston that relates to positive parenting. I found this position through connections at EP and for that, I am grateful.

Libby: What has been your favorite course at E-P (so far)?

Li Yin: CSHD 161: Advanced Personal & Social Development (with Dr. Pott)

Libby: How has you time at E-P influenced your personal growth and skills as a researcher and practitioner?

Li Yin: The wonderful people I’ve met at EP have given me space to voice my ideas and learn from my mistakes with minimal judgement. Through these experiences, I’ve become more aware of my limits and capabilities, and become comfortable with who I am as a professional. I’ve also improved my time management and leadership skills since getting involved in student organizations.

Libby: In what ways have you used or plan to use your degree from Eliot-Pearson?

Li Yin: I plan to work in a research lab that looks at emotional development and its influence on psychopathology. My ‘Plan B’ is to return to working directly with children in an early education or early intervention setting, armed with the developmental knowledge I’ve gained at EP.

Libby: Do you have any words of advice for other E-P students?

Li Yin: EP, and Tufts in general, has many resources to offer. Try to take advantage of as many of them as possible. A few resources that I’ve found helpful include my professors, GSAS and Tisch library workshops, and the Career Center.

Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight: Master’s Candidate Libby Hunt

Each month, our Outreach Team highlights a current student who is innovating to positively advance the department’s mission while excelling in their studies at Tufts.

This month, Outreach Coordinator Nick Woolf interviewed Libby Hunt, who just completed the first year of her Master’s program, to learn more about her experiences at E-P.

Who: Libby Hunt

Graduation Year: 2021

Program: Child Studies and Human Development, M.A. Candidate

Nick: Tell me about your path — what brought you to Tufts, and what were you doing prior to enrolling?

Libby: My journey to graduate school was a little all over the place. I worked in a number of different fields between undergrad and grad school – I’ve been a server, a paralegal, an office manager, and more. Working in offices wasn’t really feeding my soul, so I started taking night classes in psychology (I was an English major in undergrad). Through those courses I became really taken with early childhood development – I was (and am) particularly interested in the impact of screens on social, emotional, and cognitive development, so I sought out a program that would help me pursue those interests. I was drawn to E-P because it is a development-specific program, and because the department’s mission resonated with my own.  

Nick: What types of research and/or applied work are you involved with at E-P?

Libby: Throughout my first year at E-P I worked as a research assistant in the DevTech research group. I was fortunate to participate in a few different types of research projects, most relating to the group’s KIBO robotics kits and how they can be implemented in K-2 classrooms. I conducted numerous ethnographic observations and gained experience in data collection. I also helped craft a curriculum for DevTech’s coding app, ScratchJr. In the fall (COVID-19 permitting) I will be interning at the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children’s Hospital, and starting my thesis research. 

Nick: How would you describe your experience as a Master’s student at E-P so far?

Libby: I feel so thankful that this is the school and the program I ended up in. I have felt so supported by the faculty, who go above and beyond to encourage our interests and help create opportunities for growth. In each course I’ve taken thus far, my foundation of developmental theory has strengthened, my perspective has broadened, and my goals for the future have become more focused. I’m also grateful to be part of a small cohort of excellent individuals who represent a broad array of interests an experiences. Throughout our first year we have learned as much from one another as we did our professors.  

Nick: Do you have any advice, tips or words of wisdom to incoming E-P students?

Libby: It’s a good idea to look at the faculty page of the website, and seek out the faculty whose research most aligns with your interests, but also be open to talking to everyone. Every professor is willing to meet with you, and everyone has worthwhile advice to offer. Try to get involved in a lab within the department – it will give you research experience and insight on where your passions lie. Attend workshops (Sasha Fleary’s workshop on being a 9-5 academic changed my life) and social events hosted by the department/masters student association. Talk to other students – second-year masters students and PhD students have all been where you are now, and are happy to answer any questions you might have/share their own experiences. Finally, and I can’t stress this enough, take care of yourself and take pride in your work. Grad school is no joke – get sleep, drink water, stay active, and know that you deserve to be here. 

Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight: Master’s Candidate Emma Weihe

Each month, our Outreach Team highlights a current student who is innovating to positively advance the department’s mission while excelling in their studies at Tufts.

This month, Outreach Coordinator Nick Woolf interviewed second-year Master’s student Emma Weihe to learn more about her time at Tufts and passion for bringing performing arts to children with special needs.

Who: Emma Weihe

Graduation Year: 2020

Program: Child Studies and Human Development, M.A. Candidate

Emma Weihe, Class of 2020

Nick: Tell me about your path — what brought you to Tufts, and what were you doing prior to enrolling?

Emma: During my time at The Ohio State University, where I went to undergrad, I was involved in the Shakespeare and Autism Project, which utilized a specific type of drama therapy as a way to teach social skills for children on the autism spectrum. I fell in love with the work and wanted to pursue this further, but I didn’t quite know how. I was drawn to Tufts, and specifically EP, because of the program’s flexibility and interdisciplinary nature. I knew I wanted to integrate performing arts and child development, especially with children with special needs, and I knew that there were plenty of resources at Tufts and Boston that would help me figure out what I needed to do.

Nick: What types of research and/or applied work are you involved with at E-P?

Emma: I worked in Eileen Crehan’s lab over the summer and helped with her research on sex education with autistic adults. As for applied work, I am currently interning with Partners for Youth with Disabilities (PYD) in their Access to Theatre (ATT) program. This group uses theatre to develop social, communication and self-advocacy skills for young adults with disabilities in the greater Boston area. Additionally, I am currently planning to collaborate with a local high school’s drama club to create a sensory-friendly performance for audience members who may benefit from a more relaxed setting.

Nick: What was the genesis for/inspiration behind your internship this past summer? How has the experience been continuing there during the school year?

Emma: Access to Theatre has two main programs: one in the school year that focuses more on concrete skill-building, and the Summer Institute where participants create a variety show from scratch over the course of two weeks. I had heard of this program at a conference I attended, so they were on my radar, but it wasn’t until I was connected with the people at ATT that I realized that I could get involved. The Summer Institute was a whirlwind two weeks, but in that time, I was able to observe skilled teaching artists and work with wonderful participants as we created our show together. It was important that it was a collaborative experience, because I was able to learn about the disabled experience and forming a positive identity around that label.

Being at ATT in their summer program was quite helpful in transitioning to the weekend programming. I am familiar with the main facilitators, some of the participants, and a number of the activities used in each workshop. This familiarity allows me to stay in the moment and focus on the activities and how the participants engage with them.

Nick: How would you describe your experience as part of Applied Track at E-P so far?

Emma: I love the opportunity to be a part of the applied track. It is so important to bring the real world into academic life. Often, especially as grad students, we can get sucked into bubble of academia that we lose touch with our own experiences or the people we want to help. Interning and creating a capstone rather than a thesis really helps to keep these ideas at the front of my mind as I continue through school.

Nick: Do you have any advice, tips or words of wisdom to current E-P students?

Emma: Go out and explore! Go to conferences. Try projects that might not work. Reach out to faculty at other schools in the area. You’re here to learn, why not use all the opportunities afforded to you?

Student Spotlight

Ph.D. Candidate Chevy Cook Brings Mentorship to the Military

Each month, our Outreach Team highlights a current student who is innovating to positively advance the department’s mission while excelling in their studies at Tufts.

This month, Outreach Coordinator Nick Woolf interviewed Ph.D. candidate Chaveso “Chevy” Cook to learn more about his time at E-P and his new non-profit, Military Mentors. He was also recently selected into the Institute for Nonprofit Practice’s Community Fellows Program, a pretigious one-year program that I invests in the next generation of nonprofit and community leaders dedicated to social change.

Who: Chaveso “Chevy” Cook

Graduation Year: 2021

Program: Child Studies and Human Development, Ph.D. Candidate

  • Doctoral focus on character development.
  • Advised by Professor Richard Lerner in the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development.
Chevy Cook, Class of 2021

Nick: Tell me about your path — what brought you to Tufts, and what were you doing prior to enrolling?

Chevy: I grew up in a stereotypical 80s, low SES, black neighborhood around drugs and violence. We knew “the code of the streets”, which meant not trusting authority figures, never snitching, and loyalty to your homeboys. Fast forward to college and I ended up attending the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, which touted very different paradigms; ideas like “a cadet will not lie, cheat, steal nor tolerate those who do”, “duty, honor, country”, and character. It changed my life and who I was. I then entered the Army, eventually returning to West Point to teach freshman psychology. After returning to the Army again for a few years I was hired for a senior teaching position, so West Point sent me to get a PhD. I now have 16 years of service in the Army, with about a dozen in the special operations community.

Nick: What types of research and/or applied work are you involved with at E-P?

Chevy: I study character development, specifically the development of cadets at my alma mater, USMA. I am the lead qualitative research assistant for Project Arete (Greek for ‘excellence’), a partnership between Tufts and USMA. It is a multi-year, multi-method, longitudinal study of the character development of West Point cadets. I also apply my studies of human development directly into my nonprofit to better shape our approach.

Nick: What was the genesis for/inspiration behind your new non-profit?

Chevy: The challenge for us is that while our military forces are uniquely trained and equipped, service members are each unique developmentally and continually need to be honed professionally. There services tend to saddle the individual with his/her own self-development, however, and hope that mentor relationships fill any gaps. Unfortunately, most of these relationships lack authenticity and developmental rigor. We find the same challenges across the corporate world. Mentoring just becomes another ask on a long to-do list; more detrimental than beneficial. A mentee of mine recognized this about five years ago and came to me to help him co-found our nonprofit so we could address this challenge. I now am the executive director. 

Nick: What is the non-profit’s mission?

Chevy: Our mission is to redefine the practice of leadership by refining the art and science of mentorship.

Nick: What is your hope in terms of future impact for Military Mentors?

Chevy: Our answer to the challenge I presented above is to stretch the conversation around mentorship to ultimately improve the never-ending developmental cycle involving leaders and leadership. We want to impact the design and implementation of developmental strategies for both leaders (individual knowledge, skills, and abilities) and their leadership (social capacities). The means for doing so currently comes via our blog, social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn), various publications, regular community involvement, keynote presentations (three this fall as of late), organizational consultation, and upcoming podcast.  

Nick: Do you have any advice, tips or words of wisdom to current E-P students?

Chevy: Remain present minded but future focused. Strive to live in the moment whether in class or in the lab, in Davis Square or in your dorms/apartments, connecting with the people around you. But don’t forget that you’re going somewhere, and all efforts aren’t true progress (running 50 yards the wrong way on the football field earns the other team points, for example). Enjoy Tufts but know that it can’t last forever.