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.


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


Publications powered by Harvard Catalyst Profiles

  1. Bradley-Ewing A, Sullivant SA, Williams DD, Lanzillo E, Aguinaldo L, Wharff E, Horowitz LM, Goggin K. Parent and Adolescent Thoughts About Suicide Risk Screening in Pediatric Outpatient Settings. Arch Suicide Res. 2020 Dec 28; 1-13. View abstract
  2. Aguinaldo LD, Sullivant S, Lanzillo EC, Ross A, He JP, Bradley-Ewing A, Bridge JA, Horowitz LM, Wharff EA. Validation of the ask suicide-screening questions (ASQ) with youth in outpatient specialty and primary care clinics. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2020 Nov 13; 68:52-58. View abstract
  3. Sullivant SA, Bradley-Ewing A, Williams DD, McDonough R, Aguinaldo LD, Wharff EA, Horowitz LM, Goggin K. Prevalence of positive suicide risk screens among adolescents with type 1 diabetes (T1D). J Psychosom Res. 2020 Nov; 138:110247. View abstract
  4. Powell DS, Lanzillo EC, Jay SY, Tanenbaum M, Bridge JA, Wharff EA, Ballard E, Pao M, Horowitz LM. Self-reported Symptoms of Anxiety Predict Positive Suicide Risk Screening in Adolescents Presenting to the Emergency Department. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2020 Sep 09. View abstract
  5. Horowitz LM, Wharff EA, Mournet AM, Ross AM, McBee-Strayer S, He JP, Lanzillo EC, White E, Bergdoll E, Powell DS, Solages M, Merikangas KR, Pao M, Bridge JA. Validation and Feasibility of the ASQ Among Pediatric Medical and Surgical Inpatients. Hosp Pediatr. 2020 Sep; 10(9):750-757. View abstract
  6. Lanzillo EC, Horowitz LM, Wharff EA, Sheftall AH, Pao M, Bridge JA. The Importance of Screening Preteens for Suicide Risk in the Emergency Department. Hosp Pediatr. 2019 04; 9(4):305-307. View abstract
  7. Wharff EA, Ginnis KB, Ross AM, White EM, White MT, Forbes PW. Family-Based Crisis Intervention With Suicidal Adolescents: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2019 Mar; 35(3):170-175. View abstract
  8. LeCloux M, Maramaldi P, Thomas K, Wharff E. Health Care Resources and Mental Health Service Use Among Suicidal Adolescents. J Behav Health Serv Res. 2017 Apr; 44(2):195-212. View abstract
  9. Stanley IH, Horowitz LM, Bridge JA, Wharff EA, Pao M, Teach SJ. Bullying and Suicide Risk Among Pediatric Emergency Department Patients. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2016 Jun; 32(6):347-51. View abstract
  10. McManama O'Brien KH, LeCloux M, Ross A, Gironda C, Wharff EA. A Pilot Study of the Acceptability and Usability of a Smartphone Application Intervention for Suicidal Adolescents and Their Parents. Arch Suicide Res. 2017 Apr-Jun; 21(2):254-264. View abstract
  11. Ross AM, White E, Powell D, Nelson S, Horowitz L, Wharff E. To Ask or Not to Ask? Opinions of Pediatric Medical Inpatients about Suicide Risk Screening in the Hospital. J Pediatr. 2016 Mar; 170:295-300. View abstract
  12. Stanley IH, Snyder D, Westen S, Ballard ED, Teach SJ, Kapetanovic S, Wharff EA, Bridge JA, Ginnis K, Pao M, Horowitz LM. Self-Reported Recent Life Stressors and Risk of Suicide in Pediatric Emergency Department Patients. Clin Pediatr Emerg Med. 2013 Mar; 14(1):35-40. View abstract
  13. Horowitz LM, Bridge JA, Teach SJ, Ballard E, Klima J, Rosenstein DL, Wharff EA, Ginnis K, Cannon E, Joshi P, Pao M. Ask Suicide-Screening Questions (ASQ): a brief instrument for the pediatric emergency department. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012 Dec; 166(12):1170-6. View abstract
  14. Wharff EA, Ginnis KM, Ross AM. Family-based crisis intervention with suicidal adolescents in the emergency room: a pilot study. Soc Work. 2012 Apr; 57(2):133-43. View abstract
  15. Ballard ED, Bosk A, Snyder D, Pao M, Bridge JA, Wharff EA, Teach SJ, Horowitz L. Patients' opinions about suicide screening in a pediatric emergency department. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2012 Jan; 28(1):34-8. View abstract
  16. Wharff EA, Ginnis KB, Ross AM, Blood EA. Predictors of psychiatric boarding in the pediatric emergency department: implications for emergency care. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2011 Jun; 27(6):483-9. View abstract
  17. Mansbach JM, Wharff E, Austin SB, Ginnis K, Woods ER. Which psychiatric patients board on the medical service? Pediatrics. 2003 Jun; 111(6 Pt 1):e693-8. View abstract
  18. Ellison JM, Wharff EA. More than a gateway: the role of the emergency psychiatry service in the community mental health network. Hosp Community Psychiatry. 1985 Feb; 36(2):180-5. View abstract