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Children's Behavioral Health in Rural Primary Care

Department of Psychology

Research Group

Research Group


Jamie Tedder, M.A., Graduate Student

is a third year student and is currently working on developing her preliminary and dissertation projects. Her research interests lie in the areas of geriatric mental health, rural integrated care, program development, and program evaluation. In keeping with her interests of integrated care and geriatrics, Jaime's preliminary project consists of a literature review of collaborative care models used with the geriatric population. Her dissertation will be a study of the time involvement and cost of treating geriatric patients in primary care.


Matthew Tolliver, B.A.,

Graduate Student

As a second year Graduate Research Assistant for Dr. Polaha, works on a team researching children's behavioral health in the context of rural primary care. He is particularly interested in how factors such as socioeconomic status and rural status might influence the prevalence rates of child psychosocial concerns that present in Appalachian primary care clinics. Matthew is also interested in finding innovative ways to provide effective mental health services to Appalachian residents in ways they find accessible and valuable. When not on campus, Matthew can usually be found roaming the mountains of East Tennessee.


Courtney Lilly, B.S. Graduate Student

received her Bachelor of Science degree from East Tennessee State University in 2011 with a major in Sociology and a minor in Psychology. She is currently in her second year of the clinical psychology Ph.D. program and hopes to one day be a clinician in rural integrated primary care. Her research interests include innovative mental health interventions, particularly through technological venues in rural areas. Her thesis examines technology use in rural Appalachia and how technology use may impact a person's willingness to seek services through technological modalities (videoconferencing, specifically).


Dannel Petgrave, B.A.,

Graduate Student

received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Central Connecticut State University in 2012. He is currently a first-year student working toward a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and plans to pursue an academic career upon graduation. His interests include evidence-based assessment and treatment of childhood disruptive behavior disorders. Particularly, he is interested in the dissemination and feasibility of evidence-based approaches to primary care clinicians and school personnel in rural communities. His thesis will examine the adherence of the American Academy of Pediatric guidelines for ADHD assessment and treatment in rural primary care settings and problems in communication between primary care clinicians and school personnel.


Courtney Smith, M.A.,

Graduate Student

is beginning her first year in at ETSU in Clinical Psychology. She received her Masters degree in Clinical Health Psychology from Appalachian State University in 2012. Currently, she is working as a graduate assistant at ESTU Pediatrics training to be a behavioral health consultant. Additionally at ETSU Pediatrics, she delivers a curriculum to medical students and residents focused on evidence-based treatments to address common behavioral/developmental concerns that present in a primary care setting. Her research interests include: pediatric primary care, integrated collaboration among healthcare professionals, and innovative implementation of evidence-based treatments for rural mental health. As a former Outward Bound instructor, she enjoys spending her free time outside trail running/hiking, rock climbing, and being on any form of water.


Kayla McCarter,

Undergraduate Student

is a senior undergraduate student and is working on completing her senior honors thesis. She plans to pursue medical school after graduation. Her current project aims to examine the financial benefits of an on-site behavioral health consultant for ADHD cases in rural pediatric primary care.


Sarah Reed, Undergraduate Student

is a senior Clinical Psychology major, minoring in Sociology. She is planning to attend graduate school next fall, in hopes of eventually receiving her Ph.D. Currently, she is examining the feasibility of assessing postpartum depression in mothers during well-child examinations. Her research interests lie predominately in evaluating how integrating mental health professionals into primary care can increase quality of care for pediatric populations.

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