2683-Aalsma, Matthew

Matthew C. Aalsma, PhD

Jonathan and Jennifer Simmons Professor of Pediatrics

410 West 10th Street
Suite 1001

Indianapolis, IN 46202
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Dr. Aalsma is the Johnathan & Jennifer Simmons Professor of Pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine. He is Director of the Child Health Services Research Division and the Adolescent Behavioral Health Research Program. Trained as a juvenile forensic psychologist, Dr. Aalsma has focused his research on improving outcomes among vulnerable populations, including youth in the behavioral health and carceral systems. He has authored nearly 150 publications related to the health and well-being of youth, produced through 20 years of continuous extramural research funding (e.g. NIH, AHRQ, HRSA). His current research agenda includes exploring system-wide and individual efforts to improve the utilization of mental and physical health care among children and adolescents. This includes enhancing health risk screening across care settings and testing a variety of strategies to improve connection to evidence-based services for youth at all points in the legal process (diversion to incarceration). Most recently, he and colleagues have sought to improve addiction treatment options as adolescent overdose deaths have risen tremendously in the last several years.

Key Publications

Aalsma, M.C., Dir, A.L., Zapolski, T.C.B., Hulvershorn, L.A., Monahan, P.O., Saldana, L., & Adams, Z.W. (2019). Implementing risk stratification to the treatment of adolescent substance use among youth involved in the juvenile justice system: Protocol of a hybrid type 1 trial. Addiction Science & Clinical practice, 14. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13722-019-0161-5

Aalsma, M.C., Schwartz, K., Haight, K.A., Jarjoura, G.R. & Dir, A.L. (2019). Applying an electronic health records data quality framework across service sectors: A case study of juvenile justice system data. eGEMs (Generating Evidence & Methods to improve patient outcomes), 7(1), 1–10. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/egems.258

Aalsma, M.C., Schwartz, K. & Tu, W. (2018). Improving police officer and justice personnel attitudes and de-escalation skills: A pilot study of Policing the Teen Brain. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 57(7), 415-430. DOI: 10.1080/10509674.2018.1523819


Aalsma, M.C., Zerr, A.M., Etter, D.J., Ouyang F., Lewis A.G., Williams R.L., Hall J.A., & Downs, S.M. (2018). Physician intervention to positive depression screens among adolescents in primary care. Journal of Adolescent Health, 62, 212-218. DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2017.08.023

Aalsma, M.C., Anderson, V.R., Schwartz, K., Ouyang, F., Tu, W., Wiehe, S.E., & Rosenman, M.B. (2017). Preventative care use among justice-involved and non-justice-involved youth. Pediatrics, 140, DOI: 10.1542/peds.2017-1107. PMCID: PMC5990959

McCord Stafford, A., Garbuz, T., Adams, Z.W., Hulvershorn, L.A., Downs, S.M., & Aalsma, M.C. (2020) The natural course of adolescent depression treatment in the primary care setting. Journal of Pediatric Health Care. 38-46 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pedhc.2019.07.002


Dir, A.L., Allebach, C.L., Hummer, T.A., Adams, Z.W., Aalsma, M.C., Finn, P.R., Nurnberger, J.I., & Hulvershorn, L.A. (2019) Atypical cortical activation during risky decision-making in disruptive behavior disordered youth with histories of suicidal ideation. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpsc.2019.10.016

Ferrin, S.N., Grout, R.W., Gilbert, A.L., Wilkinson, T.A., Cheng, E.R., Downs, S.M., & Aalsma, M.C. (2019). Caregiver comfort in adolescents independently completing screening tablet-based questionnaires at primary care visits. Journal of Adolescent Health, 65, 799-804. https://doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2019.07.008

Holloway, E.D., Mootoo, C., Kirbiyik, U., & Aalsma, M. C. (2019). The role of education, participation in departmental decisions, and burnout in social support and consulting networks in juvenile probation departments. European Journal of Probation, 72-95 https://doi.org/10.1177/2066220319868023

Grout, R.W., Cheng, E.R., Aalsma, M.C., & Downs, S.M. (2019). Let them speak for themselves: Improving adolescent self-report rate on pre-visit screening. Academic Pediatrics, 581-588. DOI: 10.1016/j.acap.2019.04.010

Titles & Appointments

  • Jonathan and Jennifer Simmons Professor of Pediatrics
  • Adjunct Professor of Psychology
  • Adjunct Professor, Community and Global Health
  • Children's Health Services Research, Division Director

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