Pitt Psychiatry Projects Thinking in Speech & LemurDx Receive Pitt Innovation Challenge Awards

Congratulations to Barbara Baumann, PhD, and Oliver Lindhiem, PhD, whose projects have each been selected to receive Pitt Innovation Challenge (PInCh) Awards!

The Pitt Innovation Challenge competition is supported by the Clinical and Translational Science Institute and is designed to generate innovative solutions to challenging health problems by mitigating risk and providing financial and administrative support to move ideas forward. 

Thinking in Speech 

Dr. Baumann and her colleagues received a PInCh Award for Thinking in Speech, a cognitive therapy that helps children with autism independently cope with everyday events that cause stress, by developing their ability to use “inner speech” (the voice in our heads we use to think) to cope with challenges. Thinking in Speech helps individuals with autism develop the executive functions needed to solve social, emotional, and academic problems, verbalize their thought processes to learn what they’re thinking, and finally, to help them internalize their thoughts (develop inner speech). This approach helps children with autism gain problem-solving skills that can be adapted to a variety of new situations and settings. “Thinking in Speech was developed in the community by Nathan Speech Associates and we’re excited to partner with them to study its effectiveness,” said Dr. Baumann.


Dr. Lindhiem and the LemurDx team received a PInCh Award for their smartwatch application that uses sensor technology to measure hyperactivity, with the goal of improving the accuracy of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) diagnoses. This technology, worn by children for up to one week, affords new opportunities to develop objective and accurate measures of hyperactivity, a difficult-to-measure core component of ADHD. LemurDx began as a collaboration between Pitt and Carnegie Mellon University, and the team has since partnered with a local Pittsburgh tech company and received early funding from the National Institutes of Health. “The PInCh competition was a great opportunity to showcase a project our team is very excited about,” said Dr. Lindhiem.