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Leigh Ridings PhD

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  • Assistant Professor
  • College of Nursing
  • Department of Nursing
Academic Focus
  • Child traumatic stress and Parent/Caregiver mental health after traumatic events
  • Improving mental health resource availability in pediatric healthcare settings
  • Digital mental health solutions
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Leigh Ridings, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Nursing and Psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. She received her BS from the University of Kentucky and PhD from Oklahoma State University with an emphasis in clinical child psychology. She completed her internship at Baylor College of Medicine and her postdoctoral research fellowship at MUSC. Dr. Ridings is the Associate Director of Child and Family Services for the Trauma Resilience and Recovery Program (TRRP) at MUSC, an interdisciplinary service that provides evidence-based mental health screening, education, and treatment for children and adults hospitalized for traumatic injury.


Dr. Ridings’s research focuses on developing, rigorously testing, and scaling innovative, cost-efficient, evidence-based health technology resources to improve access and quality of care for trauma-impacted families in real-world settings (e.g., trauma centers, emergency departments, community mental health agencies). Her research has included the use of mixed-methods designs to increase access to evidence-based mental health services and improve treatment outcomes across family, provider, and director levels to enhance public health impact. She serves as PI or Co-I on several federally funded projects that aim to improve service quality and access for individuals impacted by traumatic events through development and dissemination of technology-based and mobile health resources. Dr. Ridings is PI of an active K23 career development award funded through the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to develop, systematically evaluate, and clinically test a technology-enhanced intervention to accelerate the emotional and behavioral health recovery of caregivers of children under age 12 hospitalized for pediatric traumatic injury. The K23 builds on a number of other complementary clinical and research initiatives she has led in pediatric traumatic injury assessing existing mental health services in US pediatric trauma centers, key stakeholders’ perceived need for resources to address gaps in services, and mental health service implementation barriers and facilitators.