Fontanella_Cynthia_724x840Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health
Maddock/Morrow Endowed Scholar, Nationwide Children’s Hospital

College of Medicine
Wexner Medical Center

Office Location
1670 Upham Drive
Columbus, OH 43210

Cynthia A. Fontanella, PhD, is a Professor at the Ohio State University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Principal Investigator in the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research within the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the Maddock/Morrow Endowed scholar. Her research focuses on characterizing demographic and clinical profiles of suicidal youth within “boundaried” settings, understanding patterns and trends in utilization and quality of health and mental health care for suicidal youth and how this affects outcomes, and strategies for suicide prevention in various health care settings.. Her work leverages “big data” and big data analytics to answer important clinical and health policy questions related to mental health service use, quality of care, and youth suicide at the national level.

She has published in leading academic journals such as Jama Pediatrics, JAMA Network Open, Pediatrics, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and American Journal of Preventive Medicine, and her work has been cited in national media outlets including CNN, NPR, and the New York Times. She is currently the MPI on a NIMH center grant on youth suicide prevention (P50MH127476-01) and has a strong record of NIH funded research currently serving as MPI or PI on 4 NIH grants totaling approximately 22 million dollars. 


MSS: Bryn Mawr College
PhD: University of Maryland
NIMH Postdoctoral Fellowship: Rutgers Institute of Health Care Policy and Aging Research

Research Interests

  • Youth Suicide Prevention
  • Mental health services for children and adolescents
  • Quality of care

Current Research Projects

  • Stepped Approach to Reducing Risk of Suicide in Primary Care
  • Improving Quality and Outcomes for Low Income Children with Depression in the U.S.
  • Impact of Cannabis Legalization on Cannabis Use Disorders, Serious Mental Illness, Suicide, and All-Cause Mortality among Adolescents and Young Adults in the Medicaid Program

Active Funding

  • P50MH127476-01 (NIMH: 2022-2027)
  • R01HS028413-01A1 (AHRQ: 2022-2025)
  • R01DA055121 (NIDA: 2023-2028)
  • R01MH133406-01 (NIMH: 2023-2026)

PubMed articles