LSU Health New Orleans Expert Invited to Testify at Congressional Hearing on Youth Mental Health Crisis in America

NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Joy Osofsky, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Public Health and Head of the Division of Pediatric Mental Health at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, will share her expertise at the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee at 10:00 a.m. ET on Thursday, June 8, 2023, in Room 430, Dirksen Senate Office Building. Sen. Bernie Sanders (Independent – VT) chairs the committee, and the ranking member is Sen. Bill Cassidy, MD (Republican – LA). The hearing will be live-streamed on the HELP Committee’s website.

The hearing will feature testimony from two panels. Dr. Osofsky is one of three panelists on the second one. The committee is interested in her perspective on youth mental health and promising interventions. The committee is also seeking policy recommendations to improve access to care and quality of care to better support the mental wellbeing of American teens.

According to the committee, in 2021, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Children’s Hospital Association, which collectively represent more than 77,000 physicians and more than 200 children’s hospitals, joined together to declare a “national emergency” in the mental health of children and young people in the United States. Today, suicide is one of the leading causes of death for young people in the U.S., and estimates show more than 60% of children who are struggling with depression do not get any mental health care. Meanwhile, as record numbers of young people need mental health care, some 158 million Americans – nearly half the population – live in a mental health care desert and about 80% of the country faces a severe shortage of child psychiatrists.

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 Dr. Joy Osofsky is the Paul J. Ramsay Endowed Chair in Psychiatry, Barbara Lemann Professor of Child Welfare, Professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Public Health, and Head of Pediatric Mental Health at LSU Health New Orleans. She received her PhD in psychology from Syracuse University and was a faculty member at Cornell University and Temple University. She then took additional child and adult clinical training at Boston Children’s Hospital, the Menninger Foundation, and Topeka Institute for Psychoanalysis. While she was at the Menninger Foundation, she was also a Clinical Professor on the faculty at University of Kansas before joining the LSU Health New Orleans faculty.

Dr. Osofsky served as a member of the Pew Commission for Children in Foster Care and was a member of the National Academy of Sciences Conference on Child Maltreatment. She has published widely and authored or edited eight books on trauma in the lives of children. She has had leadership roles following disasters as Clinical Director for Child and Adolescent Services for Louisiana Spirit following Hurricane Katrina and co-Principal Investigator for the Mental and Behavioral Health Capacity Program following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.  Dr. Osofsky has served as Co-Principal Investigator for three National Child Traumatic Stress Network Centers since 2003 and has also received funding from NIMH, OJJDP, and several private foundations. She received the Sarah Haley Award for Clinical Excellence for her work with trauma from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, the Lourie Award for leadership and outstanding contributions to the health and welfare of children and families, and the Zero to Three Lifetime Achievement Award.


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