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Bright, Melissa

Assistant Scientist
Faculty, Institute for Child Health Policy

Phone: (352) 265-2564

1329 Building, Suite 5232
PO Box 100177
Gainesville, FL 32611



  • Ph.D., Developmental Psychology, The University of Georgia
  • M.S., Developmental Psychology, The University of Georgia
  • B.A., Psychology, University of North Florida

Melissa bright CV (PDF)

Professional Biography 

Dr. Melissa Bright is an Assistant Research Scientist in the College of Medicine, Department of Health Outcomes and Policy and the Institute for Child Health Policy at the University of Florida. Her research program focuses on childhood adversity (e.g., maltreatment, household dysfunction, caregiver mental illness) and the pathways from adversity to poor health. She is particularly interested in the physiological mechanisms underlying the link between adversity and health as well as developing tools to identify, manage, and prevent adverse events through pediatric practice. Additionally, Dr. Bright is interested in child advocacy and how victims of child maltreatment are served through Florida’s Guardian ad Litem Program.

Dr. Bright currently oversees the contracted evaluation for the Florida KidCare Program and conducts adversity-related research studies of children enrolled in Medicaid and SCHIP.


  • Child maltreatment
  • Foster youth
  • Health disparities
  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Child development
  • Child health outcomes

Additional Affiliations

  • Honorary Research Associate
  • Social and Mental Aspects of Serious Illness
  • Murdoch Children’s Research Institute of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Recent News


  • Bright, M.A., Hinojosa, M.S., Knapp, C., Alford, S., Bonner, B., Fernandez-Baca, D., & Ralston, D. Adverse childhood experiences and health outcomes in childhood/adolescence: co-morbidity of physical, mental, and learning disorders. Psychosom Med.2014;76(3):A-9.




  • Transition to Medicaid Managed Care: Impact on Health Quality for Foster Youth
  • Adverse Childhood Healthcare Experiences Maternal and Child Health Workgroup
  • Florida Kidcare Program Evaluation, 2015-2018
  • Florida Kidcare Program Evaluation, 2012-2015