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Researcher | Research Overview

Dr. Elizabeth Wharff’s research has focused on prevention of suicide through the development and testing of screening and intervention protocols designed to reduce suicide risk in child/adolescent populations.  Additionally, she has worked to improve the quality of care in emergency mental health by researching pediatric anger management, and emergency room boarding.

Dr. Wharff developed the Family Based Crisis Intervention (FBCI) for suicidal adolescents that has been shown to reduce suicidality and prevent psychiatric hospitalization.  FBCI is a single session intervention performed in the Emergency Department, designed to provide treatment at the time of crisis, instead of relying on psychiatric hospitalization. The intervention’s modules include treatment with both the child/adolescent and the family members in the Emergency Department. Dr. Wharff and her research team have also developed a smartphone application (app), with complementary modalities for the child/adolescent and the caregiver, that is designed to provide rapid access to a personalized set of therapeutic skills for the potentially suicidal adolescent. Dr. Wharff’s team has also worked with several other sites nationally to develop suicide screening tools.  They developed and validated the ASQ (Ask Suicide Questions) screen, a 4-item questionnaire, to screen both medical and psychiatric patients being admitted to the Emergency Department. This screening tool is now being tested in inpatient medical/surgical and outpatient primary care settings.

Researcher | Research Background

Dr. Elizabeth Wharff is a Clinician Researcher in Psychiatry.  She is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School.


Researcher | Publications