This is the page for the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology's (JCCAP) Future Directions Forum (FDF). It is held annually in June. Starting in 2018, the Forum will be held in Washington, DC, on the top floor of the American Psychological Association’s home office (www.spireeventsdc.com). Specifically, the JCCAP Future Directions Forum gives early-career scientists the tools to learn about emerging trends in CAMH, and succeed as academics within the “new frontiers” of interdisciplinary team science approaches to research.

FDF Conference Coverage PagesEdit


What is special about this conference?Edit

The field of child and adolescent mental health (CAMH) increasingly leverages knowledge from multiple disciplines to understand, assess, prevent, and treat the mental health concerns of children and adolescents. As a field, CAMH thrives when its constituent disciplines—Psychology, Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Public Health, Public Policy, Social Work, Education, Nursing, and Neuroscience, among others—build bridges to work with one another in an effort to improve the mental health of children and adolescents worldwide. However, these bridges do not build themselves. As a leading journal in CAMH, the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (JCCAP) is in a unique position to leverage its status in the field to build bridges among CAMH disciplines. In fact, JCCAP publishes content with a large, interdisciplinary outreach. Regularly invited articles (i.e., Future Directions) seek to unite affiliated disciplines in CAMH, in that they focus on topics of relevance to the diverse disciplines that comprise CAMH. In an effort to further strengthen these connections, 2017 marked the launch of the JCCAP Future Directions Forum. This annual event showcases interdisciplinary work in CAMH, provides professional development training to early career scientists in CAMH, and raises public awareness of the “best and brightest” of this scientists-in-training. Specifically, the JCCAP Future Directions Forum gives early-career scientists the tools to learn about emerging trends in CAMH, and succeed as academics within the “new frontiers” of interdisciplinary team science approaches to research. The JCCAP Future Directions Forum achieves these goals in three ways:

  1. Through invited addresses and panel discussions focused on the content of Future Directions articles, showcase emerging areas of interdisciplinary work in the field of CAMH
  2. Through workshops and online resources, provide professional development training to all early career scientists who attend the Forum
  3. Through research presentations, early career awards, and social media outreach raise international awareness of CAMH’s most promising early career scientists


Day 1: Professional Development TrainingEdit

The forum includes an opening day completely dedicated to professional development training. The forum registration fee includes a “professional development workshop day” consisting of interactive sessions and panel discussions. Specifically, on Day 1, attendees receive professional development training that consists of live, interactive workshops on such topics as scientific writing style and productivity, peer review, and preparing training grant applications. Day 1 also includes panel discussions on issues of grant funding. Panelists consist of program officers from federal funding agencies with funding priorities that intersect with topics covered at the forum, such as the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and Institute of Education Sciences.

Every year, new attendees of the forum receive exposure to the interactive workshops described previously, as well as attend panel discussions on grant funding. However, returning attendees have the opportunity to continue their education via online resources, and more intensive, personalized on-site sessions at the forum. Using this graduated scaling of professional development, the JCCAP Future Directions Forum seeks to build lasting relationships with its early career attendees, and ensure a growing and sustained attendance at the forum from year-to-year.

Day 2: Showcasing JCCAP’s Future Directions ContentEdit

Addresses: At each forum, leaders in the field who recently published Future Directions articles at JCCAP give formal addresses on the “next steps” of scientific research in their area of expertise. We hold these addresses on Day 2 of the forum. These addresses are based on the content of Future Directions articles written by the speakers.

Panel Discussions: Following each Future Directions Address, panel discussions serve as “brainstorming sessions” for new science that builds on research covered in the address. Attendees “break out” into one of several discussions moderated by faculty with expertise in the Future Directions content. These interactive discussions are organized by areas linked to the Future Directions Addresses (e.g., neuroscience, treatment, cross-cultural research). In advance of the forum, panel leaders identify publicly available resources for new research (e.g., public datasets, funding announcements). In turn, these panel discussions yield “deliverables” in that attendees develop both specific research aims, and concrete strategies for securing data or funding to test the aims. This format sparks “omnidirectional” discussions among panel leaders and attendees about new science along topics linked to the forum addresses. At our panel discussions, forum attendees make the future of science happen!

Days 1-2: Early Career Scientists: Celebrating Promising Research in Mental HealthEdit

Poster Session Socials: Before the forum, early career scientists submit abstracts of their research. At the forum, they make poster presentations of this research during catered social events. In advance of the forum, presenters are prompted via email to upload a single-slide Powerpoint file of their presentation. At the forum, we integrate these files into our own digital system to have them ready to present during the poster session socials. Thus, all poster presentations are digitally presented, saving presenters both time and money. Poster session socials take place during the evenings of the forum. Further, these events provide early career scientists with opportunities for “one-on-one” time with scientists who gave addresses during the forum.

Future Directions Launch Award: Before the forum, a committee of internationally recognized scientists selects several promising early career scientists who are presenting their research at the forum to receive a widely-publicized award: the Future Directions Launch Award. The award recognizes early career scientists conducting research in the Future Directions Address topics covered that year (i.e., one awardee for each Future Directions Address topic). At an award ceremony held during the forum, awardees give TED Talk-style presentations about their work. We stream these presentations live, store them, and link them to a major media dissemination platform (e.g., YouTube). The Future Directions Launch Award serves as a capstone to the academic training of its recipients—a signal to the field and larger public that they are ready to enter academia and begin independent research careers.

Benefits to societyEdit

Over the last 50 years, the field of CAMH has made enormous contributions to society. Our scientists produced accurate, reliable diagnostic tools, allowing clinicians to identify children and adolescents in need of care. Our scientists developed effective treatments, allowing children and adolescents a chance to lead healthy lives. Now, we need a new generation of scientists to solve our field’s most pressing problems. For instance, although some children and adolescents benefit from receiving mental health treatments, roughly 1/3 to 1/2 of all those treated receive little-to-no benefits. Why do these problems persist? A key issue involves our poor understanding of the factors that cause children and adolescents to develop mental health concerns. As a result, we have a lot to learn about why mental health treatments “work,” and for whom these treatments work best. The next generation of scientists in our field needs to solve these problems. However, these problems require the collective action of all disciplines affiliated with CAMH. We need the next generation of scientists in CAMH to learn to build bridges among its constituent disciplines. Further, beyond the “book smarts” they acquire in the classroom, early career scientists need the “street smarts” to succeed in academia. Few of them take a class in writing great journal articles, communicating ideas during a job interview, or writing successful grant proposals. If society’s early career scientists do not “make it,” then progress in CAMH stalls, and we would settle for mental health treatments that help only a fraction of those who receive them. The JCCAP Future Directions Forum meets these needs by providing early career scientists exposure to interdisciplinary research in CAMH, and the fuel to become great academics!

Location Edit

The JCCAP Future Directions Forum is held annually in June. Starting in 2018, the Forum will be held in Washington, DC, on the top floor of the American Psychological Association’s home office (www.spireeventsdc.com).

Further informationEdit

There are "home pages" for the 2017 FDF (which already happened) and the 2018 FDF (which is under active planning already). The four theme pages from FDF 2017 are "underneath" the FDF 2017 home page.

Thanks to Dr. De Los Reyes for the vision and leadership to build the conference; to SCCAP, the American Psychological Association, and the University of Maryland for the support and resources to make the inaugural conference possible, and to the team of research assistants, students, and colleagues that did a wonderful job making the FDF such a success!