Frequently asked questions

The Child Mind Institute (CMI) is an independent nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders. Our teams work every day to deliver the highest standards of care, advance the science of the developing brain and empower parents, professionals and policymakers to support children when and where they need it most.

CMI is launching the Healthy Brain Network (HBN) initiative to provide the scientific community with a large online database of health information that can be used to improve the diagnosis of psychiatric disorders from an objective biological perspective. To this end, the database will bring together brain imaging, genetics, and biological samples with standardized psychiatric, behavioral, cognitive, and lifestyle information. This work will form the foundation for future efforts and will allow for possible long-term follow-up to help predict risk and outcomes.

One of the biggest hurdles in identifying and treating psychiatric or learning disorders in children and adolescents is that it can be difficult for a clinician to get a clear idea of what is going on with a child. And assessing response to treatment is problematic. The field of child psychiatry would benefit tremendously from biological diagnostic tests and measures of treatment response, similar to ones used in other branches of medicine.

Children ages 5-21 in the New York City metropolitan area.

Our coordination center is located in Staten Island at 1 Teleport Drive, which is easily accessible using the S46 and S96 buses. The Manhattan office, at 445 Park Avenue (56th Street), is near both the Lexington Ave./59th St. subway station with N/Q/R/4/5/6 train service and the 5th Ave./53rd St. station with E/M train service.  Over the next few years, we hope to open additional sites throughout the city.

The MRI scans are conducted at Rutgers University Brain Imaging Center in Newark, New Jersey.  The facility is located closest to the Washington St. light rail station, and either the Newark Penn or Broad St. train station.  For those participants who drive to their appointment, a parking garage with direct access to the facility via a pedestrian crosswalk is located at 200 University Ave.  Participants are compensated for their travel expenses to visit the facility.

This phase of the study consists of an evaluation of your child’s physical and mental health. You will complete an initial screening questionnaire to rule out anything that might disqualify your child from participating. After your child has been cleared to participate, we will schedule an appointment for your child to give a blood sample, take a brief fitness test, and complete questionnaires about emotions and behaviors, a computerized neuropsychological test, an IQ and achievement test, and an EEG. Some participants will also have the opportunity to participate in a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. An MRI is a safe way of taking detailed pictures of the brain using a large magnet. There is no known medical risk associated with an MRI. The MRI can be loud, so participants wear special noise-cancelling headphones.

You will complete a few brief questionnaires about family health history and your child. You will also need to provide informed consent on the first day of your child’s visit, which a member of our research team will walk you through.

Although each individual is different, we expect that the evaluation process will take approximately 12 hours to complete. There is flexibility with the schedule, and it can be completed in two to four visits. To accommodate busy family schedules, we are able to see participants in the evenings or on weekends. Due to the requirements for the blood draw, at least one appointment will need to be in the morning, prior to your child eating breakfast.

In addition to receiving $100 ($75 for you and $25 for your child) a trained clinician will discuss the results of your child’s evaluation with you (see below). Those participants who attempt the MRI scan will receive an additional $50. Breakfast is provided on visits that include the fasting blood draw.

A few weeks after participation, you will have the option of receiving a detailed feedback session with a clinician in our offices. The clinician will review the results of your child’s evaluation and provide advice and treatment recommendations, if applicable. The clinician will also provide you with a referral for treatment in your community if necessary.

All personal health information, including all test results, will be kept completely confidential and stored securely. All information collected during the study will be separated from participants’ identifying information such as name, birth date, and address. Data that are shared with research scientists are anonymous and will have none of your child’s identifying information included.

Contact our Coordination Center at (347) 934- 2880 or fill out the form below.