My name is Julia Morneau, and I am a senior at UNC majoring in psychology and minoring in chemistry. Throughout my time at UNC, I have been involved in a variety of research and clinical opportunities that have led me to my goal of becoming a double board-certified pediatrician and child psychiatrist. My passion for working in mental health care began in high school when I started a mental health awareness foundation called Little Minds. I founded Little Minds because I had seen and experienced the impact that the stigma surrounding mental health had on students, parents, and teachers, and I felt that my community was suffering due to the lack of knowledge and dialogue surrounding mental health. Through Little Minds, I draw on the knowledge I’ve gained from my personal experiences as someone living with mental health disorders to inform communities on the importance of mental health, and I provide parents and children with the resources necessary to seek treatment. This initial exposure to the field of mental health has influenced my subsequent journey throughout research and clinical opportunities and taught me the value of both research and clinical care in expanding the quality and accessibility of mental health treatment.
I became involved in psychological research at UNC through a project under Dr. Karen Bluth and Dr. Christine Lathren at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. Specifically, this project investigated how a mindfulness and self-compassion program can cultivate resilience for transgender teenagers that are at risk of self-harm and/or suicide. This project narrowed my interests toward ways that mental health treatments can promote resilience and how this resilience impacts the future trajectory of children as they enter adolescence and adulthood. I later worked at the Child Mind Institute in the summer of 2022 where I helped administer clinical care to children with selective mutism. During this experience, I combined both my clinical interests with research through studying the relationship between ADHD and creativity, and I utilized this research to curate recommendations for how art classrooms can be more inclusive to the creative thinking style of children with ADHD.
Ultimately, I value research that aims to better understand the experience of children living with mental health disorders, and as a future clinician I hope to provide children with comprehensive and evidence-based care that cultivates resilience and sets them on a future path towards thriving. This is one of the many reasons why I am so fortunate to be interning at 3-C Family Services, as they dedicate themselves to providing comprehensive care to children and families by combining clinical care and research.
3-C Family Services is a large private practice that offers a wide range of treatments to promote the social development and mental health of children and adolescents. The organization combines medical and psychological interventions, providing individual therapy, family services, and group sessions. The team of clinicians come from a variety of professional backgrounds, including social work, psychiatry, and clinical psychology. Each clinician brings their unique skill sets and expertise to the organization, allowing them to collaborate and provide the highest quality of care to patients and their families.
My mentor, Dr. Lori Schweickert, is a psychiatrist and the medical director of 3-C Family Services. Under her guidance, I have had the opportunity to participate in a variety of clinical and research activities that have enriched my understanding of child psychiatry and mental healthcare. As part of my role at 3-C, I have served as a scribe for Dr. Schweickert during patient intake evaluations, taking detailed notes that allow her to focus more fully on listening to patients and their families. I also participate in weekly case conferences where I observe and learn from experienced clinicians who collaborate on complex cases and provide each other with support and guidance. Through these experiences, I have gained invaluable knowledge and skills in conducting clinical assessments, developing treatment recommendations, and understanding the diverse needs of children and families. In addition, I have had the opportunity to conduct literature reviews on a range of topics related to mental health, providing me with a deeper understanding of evidence-based treatments and practices. For example, one recent literature review I conducted was on the somatic manifestations of PTSD, and it’s been fascinating to see how this topic of research has expanded over the last 10-20 years.
One large project that I am particularly excited about is the opportunity to co-lead a social skills group for children with ADHD and autism alongside Dr. Thomas Reynolds, an educational specialist in school psychology at 3-C. As someone who is passionate about helping children with developmental and behavioral challenges, I believe that social skills groups play a crucial role in fostering positive outcomes for kids who struggle with social interaction. By working closely with Dr. Reynolds and applying evidence-based curricula, I will have the opportunity to guide children in developing the strategies necessary to engage in social situations with greater confidence and ease. Through this experience, I hope to not only deepen my understanding of the unique needs and challenges faced by children with ADHD and autism but also to witness firsthand the positive impact that effective social skills training can have on children’s overall well-being. We will be measuring the outcomes of the group using resiliency scales, and I look forward to seeing the positive changes and growth that the children will experience through this group.
My internship experience at 3-C Family Services has been an invaluable opportunity for me to gain practical knowledge and experience in the field of mental health care. Through my work with Dr. Schweickert and other clinicians at 3-C, I have been able to combine my interests in both research and clinical care to help provide evidence-based treatment to children and their families. The supportive and collaborative environment at 3-C has allowed me to learn from experts in various fields and to develop the skills and knowledge necessary for a successful career in child psychiatry. I am grateful to Dr. Schweickert, Dr. Reynolds, Emily Dolegowski, Dr. Buzinski, and the other clinicians at 3-C Family Services for this experience, and I am excited to continue learning and growing in the field of mental health care.
One Response to “Combining Research and Clinical Experience to Provide High-Quality Care at 3-C Family Services – with Julia Morneau”
What a fantastic blog post! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Julia Morneau’s experience combining research and clinical work at 3-C Family Services. It’s inspiring to see how she integrates evidence-based practices and her own expertise to provide high-quality care for children and families. The emphasis on collaboration and ongoing professional development is commendable. I appreciate how Julia shares her journey and highlights the importance of staying up-to-date with the latest research in the field. Thank you for sharing this insightful and inspiring story!