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  • Debra Lobato, PhD

    • Director of child psychology at Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital

    • Professor of psychiatry and human behavior (Clinical) at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

    • Associate Director of the division of clinical psychology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

    Background Information

    Debra Lobato, PhD, joined the staff of Rhode Island Hospital in 1984. She is the director of child psychology at Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital and professor of psychiatry and human behavior (clinical) at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She also serves as the associate director of the division of clinical psychology in the medical school. She is the founder and director of SibLink, an internationally recognized program for siblings of children with chronic illness and developmental disability.

    Lobato is active in the development of integrated medical and behavioral health services to address pediatric problems. She co-directs the bio-behavioral research and clinical services in the division of pediatric gastroenterology in the department of pediatrics at Hasbro Children's Hospital, and maintains active clinical leadership and service within the departments of psychiatry and pediatrics.

    Lobato participates on numerous committees and was one of the founding members of the Clinical Psychology Diversity Committee. She has been particularly committed to advancing research and training on issues of culture, diversity, and health disparities. Lobato has been awarded the Brown Medical School Distinguished Teacher Award and Excellence in Teaching Award for her outstanding teaching and supervision of medical school interns, residents, and postdoctoral fellows in clinical psychology, psychiatry, and pediatrics.

    Research Interests

    Lobato's research focuses on the needs of children and families affected by chronic illness and disability. She has received support from the National Institute of Health, the Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Foundation, the Hassenfeld Foundation, and the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown. Recent studies have examined how cultural factors affect family and sibling relationships and adjustment to disability, and how siblings participate in the care of children with a variety of chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, and GI disorders. Lobato is currently leading a multi-site study examining how psychological and behavioral factors, such as depression and adherence, impact care and outcomes in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease. 

    Lobato graduated magna cum laude from Queens College of the City University of New York in 1976 with a bachelor's degree in psychology. She earned her master's and doctorate degrees in psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

    Selected Publications

    • Lobato, D., Kao, B., Plante, W., Seifer, R., Grullon, E., Cheas, L., Canino, G. Psychological and school functioning of Latino siblings of children with intellectual disability. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry,52 (6), 696-703. NIHMSID#249304.

    • Kao, B., Lobato, D.,Grullon, E., Cheas, L., Plante, W., Seifer, R., & Canino, G. Recruiting Latino and nonLatino families in pediatric research: Considerations from a study on childhood disability. Journal of Pediatric Psychology,36 (10), 1130-1143.

    • Brent, M., Lobato, D., & LeLeiko, N. (2008). Empirically supported psychological treatments for pediatric gastrointestinal disorders. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 47, 1-9.

    • Lobato, D., Kao, B., & Plante, W. (2005). Latino sibling knowledge and adjustment to chronic disability. Journal of Family Psychology, 19, 625-632.

    • Lobato, D. & Kao, B. (2005). Family-based group intervention for young siblings of children with chronic illness and developmental disability. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 30, 678-682.

    • Lobato, D., & Kao, B. (2002). Integrated parent-sibling group intervention to improve sibling knowledge and adjustment to chronic illness and disability. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 27, 711-716.

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