Nexus Health Systems welcomes Monica LaBrie, PhD, BCBA, LBA, to the team at Nexus Children’s Houston. Dr. LaBrie takes on the role of Program Director for the Behavioral Health Services offered at the pediatric hospital located in the Westchase District.
The new behavioral health program under the leadership of Dr. LaBrie enables the hospital to help children and young adults ages four to twenty-one who have medical conditions that would prevent admission to traditional inpatient behavioral programs. In fact, Nexus Children’s Hospital is now one of the only facilities in the area that successfully treats patients with serious behavioral issues, including aggression, that have underlying diagnoses such as autism, cognitive impairment and acquired and traumatic brain injury.
“Working with kids has always been a favorite part of my experience,” said LaBrie. “I’m looking forward to combining that love with my enjoyment of working in an inpatient setting.”
Dr. LaBrie is a Board Certified Behavioral Analyst. She has worked with children with autism and other behavioral challenges and adults with intellectual disabilities for over 12 years. She recently earned her PhD in Educational Psychology, which helped spur her career change to inpatient pediatric behavioral health.
“I was searching for a position where I could utilize all my experience as a behavioral analyst coupled with my background in educational psychology,” explained LaBrie. “When I found the position at Nexus Children’s Hospital, I knew it was the perfect fit.”
As director of a new program, LaBrie is responsible for developing the Behavioral Health Services Department, establishing policies and procedures and training staff. She will also oversee the Changes Health & Wellness Program for children with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), a rare genetic disorder that affects learning and behavior.
“I’m really looking forward to fine tuning our nationally-renowned PWS program,” said LaBrie. “Adding a behavioral management component, so that the program follows best practices for working with this patient population, will only improve upon our incredible outcomes. As the only inpatient program for children with PWS, we provide an environment where children and families can learn behavior management strategies and coping skills.”
LaBrie went on to explain the new behavioral health services will help children with all kinds of behavioral diagnoses have a more productive inpatient hospital stay.
“Many times, children with behavior issues are actually kicked out of other facilities, which means they don’t receive the care they need,” said LaBrie. “When these children arrive at Nexus Children’s Hospital, their parents don’t expect them to be successful. Because I and other trained staff members can decrease and manage their behaviors, they are able to progress and receive proper care.”
Nexus Health Systems President Erin Cassidy shared how important it is having a licensed behavior analyst and PhD-level psychologist at the helm of the new department.
“Dr. LaBrie brings valuable knowledge to Nexus Children’s Hospital,” said Cassidy. “Her skills and capacity to train other staff members will help shape our patients’ stays into more positive ones and will give parents confidence in our abilities to handle their children’s challenging behaviors.”