CDRP Annual Symposium Speaker: Melissa Kull, PhD

The Center for Chronic Disease Research and Policy is proud to feature a talk by Melissa Kull at our 11th Annual Symposium: Strengthening Adolescent Health and Health Policy on October 30. Dr. Kull will deliver the talk, “Mental Health Trends Among Youth at Risk for and Experiencing Homelessness in the United States.” REGISTER HERE.

Dr. Melissa Kull is a Senior Researcher at Chapin Hall. Her research aims to improve the systems that address family and youth homelessness, particularly in the domains of screening and referral processes, and supporting systems serving children and families to use evidence-based programs and resources. She incorporates mixed methods, measurement, and program evaluation expertise to support projects targeting solutions for ending family and youth homelessness and sustaining partnerships between education, early learning, and housing and homelessness systems. Prior to joining Chapin Hall, Dr. Kull worked for the Bureau of Children, Youth, and Families in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which focused on designing, implementing, and evaluating mental health programs for children, youth, and families across the city. She holds a doctorate in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology from Boston College, a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Development from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology from New York University.


How did you become interested in child and adolescent mental health? 

I’m a developmental psychologist by training, so my interest in mental health stemmed from my research on the role of housing and neighborhoods on young people’s social and emotional development. After completing my doctorate, I worked in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in a role focused on conducting research on child and youth mental health as well as implementing and evaluating school- and community-based mental health services for children, youth, and families across the City.

What do you think are the greatest problems youths face regarding their mental health today? 

One of the problems associated with youth mental health today that I’m focused on in my work is the challenges youth are facing inside of their families, regarding conflict, violence, rejection, and trauma that are associated with both youth homelessness and mental health problems. For young people who identify as queer, these issues are particularly salient, especially when coupled with emerging statewide policies preventing access to gender-affirming care and other critical resources and supports.

What will you discuss in your upcoming talk?

My talk will describe youth homelessness as a public health challenge and explain the evidence base linking youth homelessness and mental health. I’ll present findings from a research partnership I’ve led with that National Runaway Safeline, the country’s nationally-designated communication system for youth experiencing homelessness, looking at trends in mental health needs among young people in crisis from 2019 to 2022. I’ll also discuss potential policy solutions and opportunities.

What are you looking forward to at the CDRP symposium this year? 

I’m very excited to attend the other lectures focused on resilience, trauma, and violence, which are central issues in understanding adolescent mental health using a public health lens.


CDRP 11th Annual Symposium: Strengthening Adolescent Mental Health and Health Policy

October 30, 8:30AM-3PM

Gordon Center for Integrative Sciences 3rd Floor Atrium

Read more about the symposium on UChicago BSD News

Register to attend

Submit a poster for the poster session