Helen L. Egger, MD, known for her seminal work in preschool mental health and developmental epidemiology, has been named chair of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and director of the internationally renowned Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center. With her appointment, NYU Langone continues its expansion of clinical and research endeavors in all areas of pediatric medicine. Dr. Egger will start in her new position on September 12, 2016.
Dr. Egger joins NYU Langone from Duke University Medical Center, where she most recently served as Chief of the Division of Child and Family Mental Health and Developmental Neuroscience and Vice Chair for Integrated Pediatric Mental Health in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Egger also held secondary appointments in the Departments of Pediatrics and Psychology and Neurosciences.
“We are very excited to welcome Dr. Egger to NYU Langone to lead our world-renowned Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Child Study Center,” says Robert I. Grossman, MD, the Saul J. Farber Dean and CEO. “Her expertise as a clinician and researcher, along with her experience developing strong, integrated mental health services for children, will be a tremendous asset in driving innovation and improving care for this vulnerable population.”
Dr. Egger’s appointment comes at an exciting time for NYU Langone, as the medical center prepares to expand its pediatric services with the opening of the Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital in 2018, a new multidisciplinary facility. The expansion will lead to even stronger ties between NYU Langone’s network of comprehensive pediatric clinical care and mental health services.
Making Her Mark in Preschool Mental Health Assessment and Other Disciplines
Among her many contributions to the field of childhood mental health, Dr. Egger is recognized for creating the Preschool Age Psychiatric Assessment, the first comprehensive, parent-report diagnostic interviewing tool for assessing the mental health of preschool-age children—internationally recognized as the gold standard for psychiatric assessment of this age group. In her role as a research scientist, Dr. Egger has focused on the developmental epidemiology and neuroscience of anxiety and mood disorders in children ages two to five. Her research uses brain imaging to examine dysfunctions of the neural circuitry in children with early onset anxiety disorders.
After co-founding and co-leading the Duke Initiative on Information and Child Mental Health, Dr. Egger’s research has expanded into the realm of digital health, data science, and global mental health. She has created innovative tools to gather and analyze information about a child’s behaviors, emotions, and development using computer vision and machine learning. One result of this initiative is an Apple ResearchKit app called Autism and Beyond, which tests the reliability of smartphone questionnaires and video analysis of facial expressions as possible screening tools for autism and other disorders of early childhood in children’s homes and communities.
Currently, she is leading the development of a new app, Picky Eating & Beyond. In collaboration with the Duke Global Health Institute, these apps are being released globally. Dr. Egger and her team’s work was featured in the March 2016 Apple Keynote.
Education and Training Highlights
An alumna of Yale University, Dr. Egger graduated cum laude from Yale University School of Medicine. After an internship at Georgetown University Medical Center, she completed her adult and child psychiatric residencies and post-doctoral research in Mental Health Services Systems and Research & Developmental Epidemiology at Duke University Medical Center.
Dr. Egger is a board member of Zero to Three, a national non-profit organization focusing on improving the health and development of infants, toddlers, and their families. Dr. Egger’s research has been supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Department of Defense, the National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, The Duke Endowment, the Marcus Foundation, a Pfizer Faculty Scholar’s Grant in Clinical Epidemiology, and the National Alliance for Autism Research/Autism Speaks.
“I am honored to join NYU Langone and work alongside such passionate and well-regarded colleagues in the field,” Dr. Egger says. “I very much look forward to seeing the fruits of our shared mission for innovation and increased access to child mental health care.”