SPARK Center: Supporting Parents and Resilient Kids

The SPARK Center has a long history of providing innovative, comprehensive care to children. The SPARK Center is carrying this legacy forward as an interdisciplinary site for several of Boston Medical Center’s specialty services. Located within the enterprising neighborhood of Mattapan, the SPARK Center offers a serene, private, and welcoming space for children and their caregivers.

The SPARK Center is committed to providing exceptional care to children and families through a client-centered, compassion-driven, and culturally sensitive approach. An investment in the SPARK Center goes directly toward improving service delivery for children and families with the greatest needs. Please consider a donation to our program by clicking the button below. You can then select to direct your gift to the SPARK Center. 

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Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric Programs

Early Childhood Therapy Program – The Early Childhood Therapy Program provides a range of dyadic therapy services to families with young children who are experiencing behavioral or emotional challenges within the context of developmental disorders and/or significant life stressors, including exposure to traumatic events.

Developmental Testing and Follow-up – Developmental Testing and Follow-up at the SPARK Center is an extension of services provided at the main campus. Our team of developmental behavioral pediatricians, psychologists, and nurse practitioners sees children with a variety of developmental issues, including autism, ADHD, learning difficulties, and behavioral or emotional challenges. We also provide ongoing follow-up care for children and families.

The Good Grief Program – The Good Grief Program provides a range of supportive services to children who have experienced an important loss. The team of clinicians at Good Grief works with families to understand the impact of their loss, collaboratively address their needs, and provide individualized supports and services to children and youth as they grieve.  

The Autism Program – The Autism Program at Boston Medical Center assists and empowers autistic individuals and their families through direct patient support, provider education, and community-based outreach. We strive to meet the needs of the community in Boston and its surrounding areas in a culturally competent manner by offering high quality and comprehensive care to all.

The Autism Behavior Clinic – The Behavior Clinic at BMC was developed with the goal of providing free, short-term behavior consultations to patients and their families. Patients referred to the clinic typically engage in significantly challenging or potentially dangerous behaviors at home and in the community. Families meet with a Nurse Practitioner and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) for 4-6 visits for consultation and parent coaching. The Autism Behavior Clinic team works collaboratively with families to develop individualized strategies to best support each patient.

Infectious Disease Programs

The Maternal-Child ID Program at The SPARK Center – The Maternal-Child ID Program follows pregnant HIV- positive women throughout their pregnancy and later their infants of up to two years of age. The program also provides primary care and subspecialty care/consult referrals to children and youth through 24 years of age. These patients are followed by an interdisciplinary team, including Infectious Disease and OBGYN physicians, nursing, a Pharm D, a social worker, and a medical case manager with the goal of providing wrap-around care to increase better health outcomes. Patients are not only able to access their primary care needs in the comfort of The SPARK Center but also receive additional social service assistance such as education, counseling, referral.  In addition, the program provides our on-site Food Pantry which provides fresh and frozen goods such as fruits, vegetables, shelf stable foods and meats to our low-income families. Since starting a monthly clinic at SPARK, our patients have consistently shared their appreciation of the easier access neighborhood location and for some, the role the SPARK center played in their formative years as a child affected by HIV.

 

Clinical Training at the SPARK Center

The pediatric specialty programs at the SPARK Center offer clinical internships dedicated to providing comprehensive, integrated clinical service for children and families impacted by medical, emotional, and behavioral challenges. Students will have the opportunity to work within a multidisciplinary team of hospital professionals including mental health counselors, social workers, psychologists, developmental-behavioral pediatricians, nurse practitioners, resources specialists, and others. The internship provides intensive training in clinical assessment, therapeutic intervention, and consultation. Students will have the opportunity to provide individual and dyadic (child-caregiver) therapy and will gain exposure to evidence-based practices like Child-Parent Psychotherapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, and Grief and Trauma Intervention. Additionally, students will provide holistic support to families through ongoing and acute consultation with caregivers and other collateral agencies (e.g., schools, PCP). Students will be actively involved in developmental assessments with children related to referral questions such as autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, and other behavioral or emotional concerns. To support the internship experience, students will participate in weekly didactics, clinical formulation and presentation seminars, as well as individual and group supervision.

The SPARK Center accepts master’s and doctoral students each academic year (September – May/June). Interested applicants should submit their cover letter, resume/CV, and letters of recommendation to Maureen.patterson@bmc.org. Application materials for the upcoming academic year must be submitted by January 2nd to be considered.  

Training

Psychology Practicum Training

Volunteers

The SPARK Center is seeking volunteers that can provide a warm, welcoming, and supportive presence to visiting children and families. If you are interested in learning more about ways to get involved with the Good Grief Program, please connect with the Volunteer Services Department at Boston Medical Center.

Contact Us

617.414.0502
255 River Street
Mattapan, MA 02126

Refer a patient

Call our department to schedule a referral appointment
617.414.0502

Alexander Friedman, MPH
Alex.Friedman@bmc.org
617.414.4247

Alyssa Orinstein King, PhD
Alyssa.King@bmc.org
617.414.0512

Maureen Patterson-Fede, LICSW
Maureen.Patterson@bmc.org
617.414.3628