Crystal L. Cederna, Psy.D.

Crystal L. Cederna, Psy.D.

Associate Professor

Dr. Crystal L. Cederna joined the Charles Stewart Mott Department of Public Health in Fall, 2023. Her motivation? In Dr. Cederna’s words: “After serving over 4,000 families, one thing became abundantly clear – the mental health care system needs reform. As it stands, services are hard to access, delivered too late, and not always effective. Much like medical health care, mental health care needs to be preventive and promoting to the fullest extent possible. When issues can’t be prevented altogether, then mental health services need to be delivered in the right place, at the right time, in a way that’s aligned with what kids and families need. I moved to the C.S. Mott Department of Public Health to conduct the research, develop the right partnerships, and provide the clinical care needed to move the needle in these much-needed directions.”

Dr. Cederna is a licensed psychologist with clinical expertise in developmental-behavioral pediatrics, medical education, clinical psychology, and pediatric psychology. She historically directed behavioral health services (7 years) and a pediatric psychology fellowship (5 years); and served as an associate director of a pediatric residency program (8 years). Presently, she provides expert pediatric psychology care to kids and families at the Hurley Children’s Clinic and directs the developmental-behavioral pediatrics rotation for pediatric residents of the Hurley Medical Center / MSU CHM Pediatric Residency Program.

As of winter 2024, Dr. Cederna has delivered 54 national and 17 state or regional peer-reviewed presentations, workshops, and trainings. She’s published 13 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, developed 10 unique and innovative training curricula, and served as a mentor to many. Community-informed and community-engaged, Dr. Cederna participates (as a listener!) in focus groups with parents and youth, provides outreach to local folks concerned with child mental health, serves on the advisory council for Ele’s Place, and delivers live-time talks with heavy question-and-answer time to deepen community-wide mental health literacy.

Moving forward, Dr. Cederna envisions developing partnerships that allow kids to access evidence-based, culturally responsive interventions in the spaces and places they live and play – schools, community centers, spiritual support spaces, and more. Alongside such efforts, Dr. Cederna is also invested in expanding the mental health workforce to familiar adults when mental health needs are detected early (a.k.a., before doctoral level, fellowship-trained specialty care is needed to address the problem). By applying a research lens to her work, Dr. Cederna aims to monitor the outcomes of her efforts, making adjustments over time, and ultimately contributing to advancing the science of mental health practice while reforming the policies that shape it.

Favorite Quote: “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou

Selected Publications

Bonifacio, K., Cederna-Meko, C. L., Ellens, R. E., & El-Alam, N. (January, 2023). Beyond clinical care: The role of pediatric psychology in supporting postpartum depression screening in primary care. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings. PMID: 36627416. 

Cederna-Meko, C. L., Ellens, R. E., & Dennis, S. (November, 2021). Chapter 9: Unique considerations for psychologists in pediatric critical care. In Stucky, K. J. & Stevenson-Jute, J. (eds.). Critical Care Psychology and Rehabilitation: Principles and Practice. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780190077013.

Cederna-Meko, C. L., & Ellens, R. E. (March, 2020). Chapter 36: CL psychologist’s role in medical education.In Carter, B. & Kullgren, K. (eds.). Clinical Handbook of Pediatric Psychological Consultation in Pediatric Medical Settings. (book chapter). Springer Publishing. ISBN-13: 978-3-030-35597-5.

Cederna-Meko, C. L., Ellens, R. E., Burrell, K., Perry, D., & Rafiq, F. (September, 2016). An exploration of behavioral health productivity and billing practices within pediatric primary care. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 41(10), 1133-1143. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsw063. PMID: 27498983.          

Selected Media Coverage

Cederna-Meko, C. L., O’Connell, L., Sadler, R., Jankowski, E., Tomkins, L., & Fleming, S. (August, 2017). It takes a village: The story, research, & response to the water-based lead exposure in Flint, MI. Collaborative symposium presented at the annual convention of the. Washington, DC.


CV: Available upon request by emailing

Scholarly Interests

  • Child mental health access and workforce expansion
  • Population-based preventive and health-promoting behavioral health interventions
  • Medical education and learner wellness 


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  • Address:
    Charles Stewart Mott Department of Public Health
    College of Human Medicine
    Michigan State University
    200 East 1st Street
    Flint, MI 48502

Honors and Awards

2022, Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) Excellence in Psychology Training Award 

2019, Psychology Specialty Award, Michigan State University Flint Area Medical Education Research Forum

2019, Faculty Investigator of the Year, Hurley Medical Center/Michigan State University College of Human Medicine


Psy.D., Clinical Psychology,
University of Indianapolis
Concentration Area: Clinical Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine

M.A., Clinical Psychology,
University of Indianapolis

B.S., Psychology,
Northern Michigan University
Minor: Ethics