Gretchen Watson, PhD
Gretchen LeFever Watson, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist whose research and intervention projects have received international scholarly and media attention. She has appeared on national TV and radio programs such as CNN, the PBS News Hour, and NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show. Her research has been discussed in popular magazines across the U.S. and the U.K.
Dr. Watson was among the first to document drug overtreatment for ADHD in the U.S. and to demonstrate that disruptive conduct can be successfully reduced through school-wide behavioral interventions.
In addition to positions as a hospital psychologist, medical school faculty member, and university professor, Dr. Watson served as Director of Patient Safety and Performance Excellence for a large healthcare system. For ten years, she served as President of Safety and Leadership Solutions, a consulting firm for organizational safety and change management. In 2019, her book Your Patient Safety Survival Guide: How to Protect Yourself and Others from Medical Error was republished as a paperback (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers).
- Infant and child development
- Public health psychology
- Patient and organizational safety
- Organizational change management
- Community and leadership development
- Georgetown University Medical School, Postdoctoral training in pediatric and child psychology
- University of Illinois, Chicago, M.A. in clinical psychology; Ph.D. in clinical and developmental psychology
- Boston University, B.A. in Psychology
- Licensed Clinical Psychologist
· 2012 CIVIC Leadership Institute Graduate, Hampton Roads, Virginia
· 2012 Health Care Hero Award, Inside Business
· 2008 International List of 100 Trusted Scientists, BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal)
· 2005 Sabbatical, Eastern Virginia Medical School
· 2003 Virginia Beach Community Schools, Superintendent’s Quality Award
· 2002 Virginia Beach Community Heroes, Partnership in Education
· 2002 Lexington Institute, Fellow
· 1986 National Institute of Mental Health Clinical-Developmental Fellowship
· 1985 Achievement in Research Award, University of Illinois
· 1982 Phi Beta Kappa, Boston University
· 1982 Graduated summa cum laude with distinction in psychology, Boston University
· 1977 Rotary Scholarship, Germany
· American Psychological Association (APA), 1995-
· American Society for Safety Engineers, 2016-2018
· American Educational Research Association (AERA), 2006-2008, Member Society for Prevention Research (SPR), 2000-2005
· American Public Health Association (APHA), 1999-2004
· International Society for Ethical Psychiatry & Psychology (ISEPP), 2013-2018
· Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA), 2000-2004, Member American School Health Association (ASHA), 1999-2004
· Society of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics (SDBP), 1991-2004, Member Society for Research in Child Development (SCRD), 1987-1991, 2006-
· Virginia Board of Psychology, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, 1994-2006, 2010-14, 2019-
· Virginia Head Start Association (Health Advisory Committee): 1998-2004
· Virginia Psychological Association: 1994-2002, 2013-2017
· Tidewater Academy of Clinical Psychologists: 1994-2002, 2013-2017
· Virginia School Health Steering Committee: 1996-1998
· Research Task Force, Center for Child Abuse: 1995-1997, Chair School Health Advisory Board Virginia Beach: 1999-2004
· Virginia Beach Health Partners: 1998-2000
· San Diego Hope Infant Advisory Committee: 1990-1993
· San Diego Interagency Collaboration Council: 1990-1993
Community College Consortium for Health IT
· $16,275,833 federal funding
Refining the Finest
· $1,250,000 federal funding
Boost ‘Em in the Back Seat: A Safe Ride Program
· $99,992 federal funding
Epidemiologic Study and Clinical Validation of ADHD
· $750,000 federal funding; part of a $2.25 million multi-site award
Promoting Responsible Actions through Intervention and School-wide Education
· $450,000 federal funding
School Health and Academic Resilience for Everyone
· $250,000 state funding
School Health and Academic Resilience for Everyone
· $147,000 local funding
School Health Initiative for Education
· $331,000 private funding
Evaluation of High-Risk Infant Tracking Systems
· $60,000 private funding
Development of a School Health Information System
· : $130,000 state funding
Survey of Teacher Perspectives in Chronic Physical and Mental Health
· $2,000 local funding
Health Needs of School-Aged Children
· $4,000 local funding
Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
Watson, GL (2016). The hospital safety crisis. Sociology, 53(4), 339-347.
Watson, GL, Arcona, AP, & Antonuccio, DO. (2015). The ADHD drug abuse crisis on American college campuses. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, 17(1), 5-21.
Watson, GL, Arcona, AP, Antonuccio, DO, & Healy, D. (2014). Shooting the messenger: The case of ADHD. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 44(1), 43-52.
Burke, G, LeFever, GB, Sayles, SM. (2009). Zero events of harm: building and sustaining a system-wide culture of safety at Sentara Healthcare. Managing Infection Control, Nursing & Patient Care (February), 44-50.
Kavale, KA, Kauffman, JM, Bachmeier, RJ, & LeFever, GB (2008). Response-to-intervention: Separating the rhetoric of self-congratulation from the reality of specific learning disability identification. Learning Disability Quarterly, 31, 135-50.
Kavale, KA & LeFever, GB. (2007). The Dunn and Dunn learning-style model: Critique of the Lovelace Meta-Analysis. Journal of Educational Research, 101 (2), Nov-Dec, pp. 94-97.
LeFever, GB, Arcona, AP, Antonuccio, D. (2003). ADHD among American school children: Evidence of overdiagnosis and overuse of medication. Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 2(1), 49-60.
LeFever GB, Villers MS, Morrow, AL, Vaughn ES. (2002). Adverse Educational Outcomes Among Children Diagnosed and Treated for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Psychology in the Schools, 39(1), 63-72.
Morris AD, Zaritsky AL, LeFever GB. (2000). Evaluation of ethical conflicts associated with randomized controlled trials in critically in children. Critical Care Medicine, 28(4), 1152-1248.
LeFever, GB, Dawson, KV, Morrow, AL. (1999). The Extent of Drug Therapy for Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder among Children in Public Schools. American Journal of Public Health ,89(9), 1359-1364.
LeFever GB, Butterfoss FD, Vislocky NF. (1999). High attention deficit disorder (ADHD) prevalence: Catalyst for development of a School Health Coalition. Family and Community Health, 22(1), 52-63.
Watson, GL (2017; 2019). Your Patient Safety Survival Guide: How to Protect Yourself and Others From Medical Errors, Lantham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. (Peer-reviewed book)
Non Peer-Reviewed Articles and Reports
Watson, GL (2017). Misplaced blame in vaccination deaths. The Virginian-Pilot, Opinion July 2.
Watson, GL (2017). Making hospitals safer, healthier. The Virginian-Pilot, Opinion January 29.
Watson, GL (2017). Improving patient safety, hospital profits. The Virginian-Pilot, Opinion April 3.
Watson, GL (2016). ADHD concerns surface again. The Daily Press, Opinion September 10.
Watson, GL (2016). The deadly dangers of ADHD drugs. The Virginian-Pilot, Opinion October 2.
Watson, GL. (2014). Attention deficit surprises. The Virginian-Pilot, Opinion June 1.
Watson, GL (2014). The human side of shipyard safety. The Virginian-Pilot, Opinion November 30.
Watson, GL. & Arcona, AP (2014). 8 Ways to Respond to Student ADHD Drug Abuse. Campus Safety, April/May, pp. 34-37.
Watson, GL. (2014). Time to Re-Open Debate about ADHD Trends, Campus Safety Implications. University Business Magazine, April 23, Professional Opinion, https://universitybusiness.com/time-to-re-open-public-debate-about-adhd-trends-safety-implications-for-college-campuses/.
Watson, GL & Arcona, AP. (2014). Setting and practicing ground rules for effective human performance programs. EHS Today: The Magazine for Environment, Health, and Safety Leaders, March 24, https://www.ehstoday.com/employee-engagement.
Watson, GL. Re-open debate about ADHD rates. The Daily Press, Opinion, December 17, 2013.
Watson (LeFever), GL. (2013). The science of behavioral safety 101: A little praise goes a long way, EHS Today: The Magazine for Environment, Health, and Safety Leaders, July.
LeFever, GB. (2010). Chasing zero events of harm: An urgent call to expand safety culture work and consumer engagement. Healthvie.com, Nursing and Patient Care. February issue, Nursing & Patient Care.
Pestian JP, Sheppard VS, Hannon PM, Kelly CS, Chase DA, LeFever GB. (1998). Assessment of Child and Adolescent Hospitalizations in Virginia. Technical Report prepared as a collaborative project with Virginia Department of Health and the Center for Pediatric Research with funding from MCJ-51T012-02-0.
Pestian JP, Sheppard VS, LeFever GB. (1998). Analysis of Child Mental Health Hospitalizations in Virginia. Legislative Report Presented to Virginia Department of Health, Richmond.
LeFever GB, Villers MS, Sheppard VB. (1999). Program evaluation and recommendations for Virginia’s High-Risk Infant Tracking Program. Center for Pediatric Research, Norfolk, Virginia. Technical Report # 99-02.
LeFever GB. The Social Origins of Temperament. Doctoral dissertation. University of Illinois; Chicago, 1987.