Providence Saint John’s Child & Family Development Center experts awarded Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s 2017 Clinical Scholars Fellowship

October 30, 2017

Two Providence Saint John’s Child & Family Development Center clinical psychologists, Lara Sando, PhD and Matthew Ruderman, PhD, have been selected by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to join the 2017 class of Clinical Scholars, a national program led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Sando and Ruderman will join a diverse, national group of health care professionals—from pediatricians to pharmacists — who collaborate and innovate to solve persistent health challenges. Together, the fellows will help advance a Culture of Health—one that places well-being at the center of every aspect of life.  

As part of their proposal, Preschool Wellness Consultation: A Whole Body Solution to a Whole Body Problem, Dr. Sando and Dr. Ruderman are looking to tackle the challenge of unaddressed psycho-neurobiological health concerns in early childhood by creating an innovative holistic program that integrates the domains of psychology, social work, nursing, nutrition, psychiatry and occupational therapy to address the whole child.

Dr. Sando and Dr. Ruderman—partnering with their third Clinical Scholars team member, Maya Lindemann, RN, of Santa Monica-Malibu School District (SMMUSD)—will lead a team of six mental health professionals from Providence Saint John’s Child & Family Development Center to coordinate a range of mental health and wellness services for up to 500 SMMUSD preschool students in their classroom environments offering screenings, social-emotional curriculum for the class and small group and one-on-one interventions. 

“Working in local hospitals, community settings and universities, health care providers and practitioners witness the effects of health inequities firsthand. The 2017-20 cohort of RWJF Clinical Scholars fellows are taking on ‘wicked problems’ in health and addressing the root causes of disparities with bold, unique, interdisciplinary approaches,” says Dr. Giselle Corbie-Smith, Clinical Scholars co-director and Kenan Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina.

Clinical Scholars is one of a number of leadership development programs supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. These programs continue RWJF’s legacy of supporting the development and diversity of leaders. Initially focused on health and health care,  the programs have been expanded, because the foundation knows that building a Culture of Health requires all of us in every sector, profession and discipline working together. The next application period for many of these programs will open in early 2018. Additional information is available at