RISE Scholars

Ashley Butler, PhD
Baylor College of Psychology
RISE Cohort 4


I am an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) and a clinical child psychologist at Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH) in Houston, TX. The first component of my work focused on identifying factors in the health system and where children live and play (social determinants) that contribute to children’s health disparities. For example, this work has identified negative neighborhood characteristics that may contribute to higher rates of children’s mental health conditions. My work has also demonstrated the potential of shared decision making between parents and providers for enhancing children’s mental health functioning, yet lower shared decision making between providers and racial/ethnic minority parents of children with chronic physical or mental health conditions.

The second area of my research has concentrated on developing and evaluating interventions to address disparities in children’s health outcomes. Most recently, this research has focused on pilot testing the feasibility and preliminary outcomes of an intervention that aims to build parents’ leadership skills, increase effective parenting practices, and enhance better parental mental health to overcome the negative effects of chronic poverty and low socioeconomic status on children’s mental health. The intervention is led by trained parent-peers and delivered to minority parents in pediatric primary care practices. I have recently begun to focus on studies to understand whether this intervention approach may also prevent obesity in young minority children. The long-term goal so this research is to use Implementation Science methodologies in large-scale evaluations of interventions that aims to prevent obesity within primary care settings that largely serve racial/ethnic minority families. Overall, a common thread throughout my work consists of engaging and collaborating with diverse stakeholders, including academic researchers, members of disadvantaged communities, health care providers, and local non-profit organizations to design interventions with high potential for successful implementation and uptake in primary care practices that provide care to underserved racial/ethnic minority families.

In addition to my research activities, I provide clinical services within the Psychology Service of Texas Children’s Hospital and provide education within our psychology training programs. Additionally, I participate in several regional and national organizations and groups. I am a member of The Collaborative Action on Child Equity within the Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center on Health Disparities at Morehouse School of Medicine and anadvisory board member of The Faith, Family, and Health Collaborative at MD Anderson Cancer Center. I serve on the Task Force on Disparities and Diversity within the Association of Psychologists in Academic Health Centers. I am also a member of the Committee on Children, Youth, and Families within the American Psychological Association.