Improving adolescent mental health care

Molly Adrian '01


Molly Adrian ’01

Clinical Psychologist, Child Psychiatry, Seattle Children’s Hospital
Acting Assistant Professor, University of Washington
Seattle, Washington

Toward the end of high school, I was determined to leave my Midwest roots and discover the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. After visiting the beautiful campus and interacting with friendly undergraduates (eerily similar to the “Minnesota nice” culture I had grown up in), I knew Puget Sound was my home away from home.

I was certain I would become a marine biologist, but I became interested in the principles of the science of development in Professor Alyce DeMarais’ course Genetics and Developmental Biology. After graduation, I went to work at Seattle Children’s Hospital as a rehabilitation aide, and then as an educational pediatric mental health specialist. It was there that my career path really became clear. Working with youth who were hospitalized illustrated the great need for improvements in our ability to understand and intervene with psychopathology. Consequently, I decided to pursue a doctorate in clinical and developmental psychology.  

Part of my job involves working directly with families to help improve their situations, and the other component involves research that may help change systems and the practice of clinicians to ensure that the best treatments are given to youth when they need them. The most exciting part of my work is hoping that these efforts will help improve prevention and intervention efforts for youth at risk. I am fortunate enough to have multiple exciting projects, collaborating with an amazingly bright and gracious team of behavioral scientists, including psychologists, epidemiologists, and psychiatrists. 

I think two of the most important aspects of my education at Puget Sound were developing strong analytical/communication skills as well as initiating long-lasting, supportive interpersonal relationships. I rely on both of these skills each day and they are critical to success in my work.   

I continue to maintain strong relationships with people I met at Puget Sound. My husband, Brooks Einstein ’02, simultaneously inspires and grounds me. And my dear friend Marion Peters Denard ’01 has been influential in many aspects of my life since we met outside of Anderson/Langdon in August 1997. I credit her for helping me survive many important milestones, including a 10-page research paper for Professor Suzanne Barnett one very long night in October 1997.

Brooks and I have a 1-year-old daughter, Caroline. Although doing just about anything is an adventure with the two of them, my favorite activities are sailing, hiking, eating at new restaurants, and playing tennis. I have a lot of interests outside of work!

Photo courtesy of Molly Adrian ’01