Marsha Gerdes is a psychologist with a specialty in early childhood development. She has worked at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for over 20 years. Her current roles at Children’s Hospital include senior psychologist of PolicyLab, director of the Building Better Behavior, and co-director of the Neonatal Follow-up Program. Dr. Gerdes is also co-investigator on a number of research studies including the National Children’s Study and studies on developmental screenings, parenting support to mothers with depression, and the neurodevelopmental sequelae of infant cardiac surgery.
Much of Dr. Gerdes’ research focuses on the identification of interventions to improve the neurodevelopmental outcomes of infants and children with medical complications and genetic abnormalities. Within the field of low-birth weight, Dr. Gerdes served as the assessment coordinator for the Infant Health and Development Program. Currently, Dr. Gerdes is involved in a research study examining the neurodevelopmental outcomes of children with congenital heart defects that specifically studies the role of polymorphisms of apolipoprotein E as an additional risk factor for these children.
Dr. Gerdes’ research also more broadly focuses on preventive interventions for young children at risk. For the last six years, Dr. Gerdes directed the Building Better Behavior program, a school readiness initiative at Children’s Hospital’s four urban primary care centers. Developed in partnership with the School District of Philadelphia, as part of the United Way of Southeast Pennsylvania’s Early to Learn initiative, Dr. Gerdes set up a program that placed developmental specialists in each primary care center to provide parent coaching and support. Dr. Gerdes is also the co-investigator on a project to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of the American Academy of Pediatrics policy on developmental screening in urban primary care settings. Lastly, she is also a collaborator on a Maternal and Child Health Bureau supported project on improving parenting skills for depressed caregivers of young children through the delivery of the Incredible Years intervention.
Dr. Gerdes provides ongoing clinical support through Children’s Hospital’s Neonatal Follow-up Program where she works with the families of children six-months to five-years-of-age that are at high risk for developmental disabilities and other perinatal or neonatal illnesses.
Parenting and family supports
Tailored preventive pediatric care
D’Agostino, J., Gerdes, M., Hoffman, C., Manning, M.L., Phalen, A., Bernbaum, J. (2013) Provider use of corrected age during health supervision visits for premature infants. Journal of Pediatric Health Care. 27 (3). 172-179.
Goff, D.A, Luan, X., Gerdes, M., Bernbaum, J., D’Agostino, J., Rychik, J., Wernovsky, F., Licht, D.J., Nicolson, S.C., Clancy, R.R., Spray, T.L., Gaynor, J.W. (2012). Younger gestational age is associated with worse neurodevelopmental outcomes after cardiac surgery in infancy. The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. 143(3). 535-42.
D'Agostino, J. (2010). An evidentiary review regarding the use of chronological and adjusted age in the assessment of preterm infants. Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing, 15 (1), 26-32.
Gerdes, M, Flynn, T. Clinical assessment of neurobehavioral outcomes in infants and children with congenital heart disease. Progress in Pediatric Cardiology 2010;29(2):97-105.
Gaynor WJ, Nord AS, Wernovsky G, Bernbaum J, Solot CB, Burnham N, Zackai E, Heagerty PJ, Clancy RR, Nicolson SC, Jarvik GP, Gerdes M. Apolipoprotein E genotype modifies the risk of behavior problems in preschool children following neonatal and infant cardiac surgery. Pediatrics 2009;124(1):241-250.
Fuller S, Nord A, Gerdes M, Wernovsky G, Jarvik G, Bernbaum J, Zackai E, Gaynor JW. Predictors of impaired neurodevelopmental outcomes at one year of age after infant cardiac surgery. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2009;36:40-8.
Ballweg JA, Ittenbach RF, Bernbaum J, Gerdes M, Dominguez TE, Zackai EH, Clancy RR, Gaynor JW. Hyperglycaemia after Stage I palliation does not adversely affect neurodevelopmental outcome at 1 year of age in patients with single-ventricle physiology. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2009;36(4):688-93. Epub 2009 Aug 20.
Danzer E, Gerdes M, Bebbington MW, Sutton LN, Melchionni J, Adzick NS, Wilson RD, Johnson MP. Lower extremity neuromotor function and short-term ambulatory potential following in utero myelomeningocele surgery. Fetal Diagn Ther. 2009;25(1):47-53.