Pediatric Epilepsy & Behavioral Medicine Lab

The Pediatric Epilepsy and Behavioral Medicine Lab at MUSC is run by Dr. Janelle Wagner, a pediatric psychologist and Research Associate Professor, and Dr. Gigi Smith, a pediatric nurse practitioner and full Professor. The lab focuses on the integration of medical and behavioral aspects of pediatric epilepsy by incorporating family epilepsy management, thus targeting comprehensive care of youth with epilepsy and their caregivers.

As principal investigators, Dr. Wagner and Dr. Smith have been funded by the National Epilepsy Foundation (EF), Parents Against Childhood Epilepsy (PACE), the Pediatric Partnership for Epilepsy Research, and the Henkin Family Foundation. Their projects have encompassed predictors of depressive symptoms and examination of coping skills and self-efficacy for seizure management in youth with epilepsy; development of a depression screening tool specific to pediatric epilepsy (NDDI-E-Y); development and pilot-testing of a cognitive-behavioral self-management intervention targeting the enhancement of primary and secondary coping skills in youth with epilepsy and their caregivers (Coping with Epilepsy: COPE); and examination of care giving processes in parents of youth with epilepsy. In 2007, they received William R. Turk Research Award in Pediatric Epilepsy.

Dr. Wagner and Dr. Smith have also participated as co-investigators on three epidemiological studies of epilepsy health related outcomes and comorbidities funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC; principal investigator: Dr. Anbesaw Selassie).

Dr. Wagner and Dr. Smith collaborate with other researchers across the US who focus on behavioral aspects of pediatric epilepsy, including a previous national validation of the PedsQL Epilepsy Modules. They are currently co-investigators on a project funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research (principal investigator: Dr. Avani Modi, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center). This multi-site, randomized, controlled trial will examine the benefit of a “stepped up care” approach to adherence tailored to the needs of families of children with epilepsy. They are also involved in leadership positions within the American Epilepsy Society (AES), International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), and Pediatric Epilepsy Research Consortium (PERC). Publication of their findings appears in respected peer reviewed journals (see selected publications below). Finally, they provide research mentorship to nursing and psychology graduate students and volunteer undergraduate research assistants.

Selected Publications:

  1. Wagner JL, Mueller M, Kellermann T, Griffin M, Smith G, Soliven M, Guilfoyle SM, Junger KF, Mucci G, Huszti H, Barrett L, Zupanc M & Modi AC. (in press). Vulnerabilities to anti-epileptic drug side effects in youth with epilepsy. Epilepsy & Behavior.
  2. Wagner JL, Modi AC, Guilfoyle SM, Junger KF, Weyand C, Smith G, & Mucci G. (in press). Current behavioral health screening practices in pediatric epilepsy. Epilepsy & Behavior.
  3. Smith G, Wagner JL, Plueger. (in press). Epilepsy. American Nurse Today.
  4. Modi AC, Guiterrez-Colina AM, Wagner JL, Smith G, Junger K, Huszti H, & Mara CA (2019). Executive functioning phenotypes in youth with epilepsy. Epilepsy & Behavior, 90, 112-118.
  5. Michaelis R, Tang V, Goldstein LH, Reuber M, LaFrance WC, Lundgren T, Modi AC, Wagner JL. (2018). Psychological treatments for adults and children with epilepsy: Evidence based recommendations by the ILAE Psychology Task Force. Epilepsia, 59, 1282-1302.
  6. Michaelis R, Tang V, Wagner JL, Modi A, LaFrance WC, Goldstein LH, Lundgren T, & Reuber M. (2018). Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis of the impact of psychological treatments for people with epilepsy on health-related quality of life. Epilepsia; 59, 315-332.
  7. Smith G, Modi AC, Johnson E, Shegog R, Austin JK, & Wagner JL. (2018). Self-management factors and instruments in pediatric epilepsy: A critical review. Epilepsia, 59, 509-522.
  8. Modi AC, Junger KF, Mara C, Kellermann T, Barrett L, Wagner JL, Mucci GA, Bailey L, Almane D, Guilfoyle SM, Urso L, Hater B, Hustzi H, Smith G, Herrmann B, Perry MS, Zupanc M, & Varni, JM. (2017). Validation of the PedsQL Epilepsy Module: A pediatric epilepsy-specific quality of life measure. Epilepsia, 58, 1920-1930.
  9. Modi AC, Wagner JL, Smith AW, Kellermann T, & Michaelis R. (2017). Review and guide for the implementation of behavioral clinical trials in epilepsy. Epilepsy & Behavior, 74, 104-113.
  10. Kellermann T, Mueller M, Carter EG, Brooks B, Smith G, & Wagner JL. (2017). Prediction of specific depressive symptom clusters in youth with epilepsy: NDDI-E-Y vs Neuro-QOL SF. Epilepsia, 58, 1370-1379.
  11. Wagner JL, Modi A, Johnson E, Shegog R, Escoffery C, Bamps Y, Austin J, Schultz R, Mapel Lentz S, Smith G. (2017). Self-management interventions in pediatric Epilepsy: What is the level of evidence? Epilepsia, 57, 743-754.
  12. Wagner JL, Smith G, Wilson L, & Selassie A. (2016). Behavioral health in young adults with epilepsy: Implications for transition of care. Epilepsy & Behavior, 65, 7-12.
  13. Wagner JL, Kellermann T, Mueller M, Smith G, Brooks B, Arnett A, Modi AC. (2016). Development and validation of the NDDI-E-Y- a depression screening tool for pediatric epilepsy. Epilepsia, 57, 1265-1270.
  14. Selassie A, Wilson D, Wagner J, Smith G, Wannamaker B. (2015). Population-based comparative analysis of risk of death in children and adolescents with epilepsy and migraine. Epilepsia, 56, 1957-1965.
  15. Wagner JL, Brooks B, Smith G, Kellermann T, St Marie K, Wilson D, Wannamaker, B & Selassie, A. (2015). Determining patient needs: A partnership with South Carolina Advocates for Epilepsy (SAFE). Epilepsy & Behavior, 51, 294-299.
  16. Wagner JL, Guilfoyle S, Rausch J, Modi A. (2015). Psychometric validation of the pediatric symptom checklist in a pediatric epilepsy population. Epilepsy & Behavior, 51, 112-116.
  17. Smith G, Wagner JL, Edwards J. (2015). Part 2- Nursing care and evidence-based Treatment. American Journal of Nursing, 115, 6, 34-44.
  18. Smith G, Wagner JL, Edwards J. (2015). Epilepsy update, Part 1: Refining our understanding of a complex disease. American Journal of Nursing, 115, 5, 40-47.
  19. Wagner JL, Smith G, Wilson L, & Selassie A. (2015). Prevalence of neurodevelopmental and mental health comorbidities in youth with epilepsy and migraine: A response to identified research gaps. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 57, 45-52.
  20. Smith G, Wagner JL, Andrews J, Austin J, Mueller M, Carter E, & Griesemer K. (2014). Caregiving in pediatric epilepsy: Results of focus groups and implications for research and practice. Epilepsy & Behavior, 34, 34-41.
  21. Wagner JL, Levinsohn P, Onofer C, Fletcher L, Zupanc M, Ucheba G, & Browne M. (2013). National Center for Project Access: A framework for implementing recommendations from the Institute of Medicine’s report on the epilepsies. Epilepsy & Behavior, 29, 121-127.
  22. Wagner JL, Smith G, Ferguson PL, & Fedele D. (2013). Preliminary psychometrics of the Neurological Disorders Depression Inventory for Epilepsy-Youth (NDDI-E-Y). Journal of Child Neurology, 28, 1392-1399.
  23. Wagner JL, Ferguson P, & Smith G. (2012). The relationship of coping behaviors to depressive symptoms in youth with epilepsy: An examination of caregiver and youth proxy report. Epilepsy & Behavior, 24, 86-92.
  24. Wagner JL, Smith G, & Ferguson P. (2012). Self-efficacy for seizure management and depressive symptoms in youth with epilepsy: caregiver and youth perspectives. Seizure: The European Journal of Epilepsy, 21, 334-339.
  25. Wagner JL, Smith G, Ferguson P, van Bakergem, K & Hrisko S. (2010). Pilot study of an integrated cognitive-behavioral and self-management intervention for youth with epilepsy and caregivers: Coping Openly and Personally with Epilepsy (COPE). Epilepsy & Behavior, 18, 3, 280-285.


Dr. Janelle Wagner

Janelle L. Wagner, Ph.D.

Dr. Gigi Smith photo

Gigi Smith, Ph.D., RN