University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Department of Pediatrics Partners for Inclusive Communities

Partners for Inclusive Communities is a unit of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Partner’s mission is ”To support individuals with disabilities and families of children with disabilities to fully and meaningfully participate in community life, effect systems change and prevent disabilities.” Therefore, we conduct training, research, education, and service activities directed toward families and children with disabilities and/or at-risk.

Some of these activities can be found on our web site.

Here’s some information regarding the faculty available to work with:

Leanne Whiteside-Mansell, Ed.D, Professor, has more than 69 peer reviewed publications and numerous national presentations related to parenting and child development in at-risk populations. Dr. Whiteside-Mansell’s research program has focused on the family, environmental, and maternal factors linked with poor psychosocial development for young children in families living in poverty and the validation and development of measurement instruments in these populations.  Dr. Whiteside-Mansell has extensive research experience, having served a lead or co-investigator on multiple cross-site, longitudinal studies such as the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation (EHSRE) Study, statistician for multiple CSAP and CSAT cross-site studies (targeting services to women with addiction and their children), and evaluator for several school based studies (e.g., Safe Schools, Healthy Students, multiple programs to integrate mental health services into schools).

She is the lead developer of the Family Map of the Parenting Environment, a semi-structured interview used by early child care providers to identify environmental risk for young children.  Her team is currently developing a similar measure for parents of infants and toddlers and pregnant women.  She is currently leading several projects including a new grant to develop an obesity prevention curriculum for early childcare providers, a project to link community based physicians to early childcare providers conducting developmental screens, and the evaluation of school based interventions in the Hot Springs school district.

Nicola A. Burrow, Ph.D., Associate Professor has a background in Educational Psychology and Research and more than 12 years experience in research involving high risk populations.  She has more than 25 peer-reviewed manuscripts published or in press, and more than 70 presentations on topics related to high risk families and children’s psychosocial outcomes.  She has served as the Principal Investigator (PI) on three intervention studies and two technical assistance projects, and as a co-investigator or evaluator (that is, the research partner on a service or intervention grant) on more than a dozen other studies. Dr. Conners-Burrow has focused her research on understanding factors that place children at risk for poor psychosocial outcomes and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions for these high risk children and their families.  Family risk factors of particular interest include maternal substance abuse and mental health problems and parenting practices.  She has focused expensively on evaluating the effectiveness of intervention programs for pregnant and parenting women with substance abuse and mental health problems and their children. 

She is currently the PI on a study of early childhood mental health consultation in child care settings as well as a project to provide technical assistance to alcohol and drug treatment providers that serve mothers and their children.  She is also currently evaluating the effectiveness of expanded substance abuse and mental health services for individuals in Drug Court.  She has partnered with the state Department of Human Services to evaluate their new initiative, Access to Recovery, which is designed to increase access to substance abuse treatment and recovery support services for targeted populations.  Finally, she collaborates with colleagues in the UAMS Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics to evaluate the impact of the AR BEST program, which is designed to strengthen the service system in the state for children who have experienced trauma.

Lorraine McKelvey, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, has a background in Developmental Psychology.  She has experience in program evaluation research, university-community partnerships, and managing and analyzing longitudinal data.  Dr. McKelvey has been a member of the research consortium of the national Early Head Start Research and Evaluation (EHSRE) project for over 10 years and is actively involved in the study of low-income children and families.  Dr. McKelvey has also been funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study the effects of exposure to family and community violence on children’s cognitive and psychosocial development through adolescence.  Dr. McKelvey has published in the broad areas of parenting, stress, and coping in at-risk families using large-scale longitudinal datasets such as the EHSRE. 

Dr. McKelvey is currently the lead evaluator of the Better Beginning Initiative; the State of Arkansas’ Quality Rating and Improvement System for Early Childhood Programs.  The goal of this project is to determine criteria for rating child care quality and to evaluate the efficacy of the rating system for improving child school readiness outcomes.  Dr. McKelvey is also the PI on a study to evaluate the effectiveness of a home-based parenting intervention for pregnant and parenting adolescents across the state of Arkansas. She also collaborates with colleagues in the UAMS Department of Psychiatry to evaluate the impact of the TIPS for Great Kids! program, which is a parenting education toolkit for professionals working with families of young children.  Dr. McKelvey is also a founding member of the Arkansas Association for Infant Mental Health and co-chairs the Professional Education Committee.


Internship Site Contact:
Leanne Whiteside-Mansell, Ed. D.
Associate Professor
Partners for Inclusive Communities
Arkansas’ University Center on Developmental Disabilities
A Program of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
2001 Pershing Circle, Suite 300
North Little Rock, AR 72114-1841
Phone: 501-682-9933 or 501-682-9900
FAX: 501-682-9901
Cell: 501-256-4199