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Mental and Behavioral Health Services and Implementation

For decades, the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences has conducted groundbreaking epidemiologic studies that accelerate the delivery of evidence-based interventions and innovative programs that improve mental health and reduce substance misuse and addiction.

Our epidemiologic studies identify risk and protective factors needed to address the unique mental health and substance use needs of patients and community populations. Our services research translates evidence-based interventions into practice by improving access, affordability, organization and financing. The department’s implementation research investigates system-level strategies to deliver evidence-based interventions through a variety of service systems: healthcare, public schools, other governmental institutions and community organizations.

 
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Karen Abram, PhD

The Health Disparities and Public Policy Program co-led by Abram conducts large-scale epidemiological studies of traditionally underserved populations. Funded by the National Institute of Health, the Department of Justice, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies, Health Disparities and Public Policy focuses on studying the health needs of racial and ethnic minorities and persons who are impoverished, homeless or incarcerated.

The interdisciplinary group co-led by Karen Abram, PhD, includes faculty-level research investigators, research assistants, interviewers, statistical programmers, data processors, administrative and support staff, as well as graduate students enrolled in the Clinical Psychology PhD and master’s programs in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Results from their research studies have provided the needed empirical data to guide U.S. policy: Findings have been cited in Supreme Court amicus briefs, congressional hearings and surgeon general’s reports. We are currently conducting two studies: the Northwestern Juvenile Project and the Northwestern Juvenile Project: Next Generation. Begun in 1995, the Northwestern Juvenile Project is the first large-scale longitudinal study of psychiatric disorders, antisocial and criminal behaviors and adult outcomes of juvenile detainees. Next Generation is the first intergenerational study of this special population. The group is investigating the characteristics that promote resilience among the children of the original participants in the Northwestern Juvenile Project. By identifying the strengths of children, their parents, social networks and communities, they will determine what experiences promote mental health, healthy relationships and educational attainment. 

Contact

710 North Lake Shore Drive
Suite 900
Chicago, IL 60611

For inquiries about this research, please contact healthdisparities@northwestern.edu.

Visit the Health Disparities and Public Policy Program webpage.

 
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Sara Becker, PhD

Sara Becker is a licensed clinical psychologist and implementation scientist dedicated to bridging the gap between research and practice. Dr. Becker studies both patient-focused dissemination (e.g., direct-to-consumer marketing, scalable interventions) and provider-focused implementation (e.g., multi-level implementation approaches, workforce development) strategies. The overarching objective of her work is to increase both the demand for and supply of effective treatments in community and clinical service settings. To date, Becker has been PI/MPI of ten projects from NIH, PEPFAR, SAMHSA, and AHRQ, all of which have been dedicated to advancing the uptake of evidence-based behavioral health services.

Sara J. Becker, PhD, is the Inaugural Director of the Center for Dissemination and Implementation (D&I) Science, one of the interdisciplinary centers of Northwestern's Institute for Public Health and Medicine (IPHAM). The vision of the Center is to advance equitable access to evidence-based public health and medical interventions by: accelerating the impact of research across the translational continuum; training the next generation of D&I public health researchers and practitioners; and serving as a hub of pragmatic D&I science research at the Feinberg School of Medicine, locally, domestically, and globally.

Current Projects:

  1. Project MIMIC (Maximizing Implementation of Motivational Incentives in Clinics) – With Bryan Garner of Ohio State University, Dr. Becker is co-leading a 5-year R01 evaluating multi-level strategies to implement contingency management, an evidence-based addiction treatment, in 30 opioid treatment programs.
  2. ARCH - With Caroline Kuo of American University and Goodman Sibeko of University of Cape Town, Dr. Becker is co-leading a 5-year P01 project testing a train-the-trainer strategy to cascade Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment targeting risky alcohol use throughout HIV service organizations in South Africa.
  3. Parent SMART – Dr. Becker is leading an R37 (eligible for up to 10 years of funding) testing a technology-assisted intervention for parents of adolescents in residential substance use treatment.
  4. Project MIMIC2 – Dr. Becker is leading a 5-year P50 project component that represents a follow-up to Project MIMIC. This iteration uses a stepped wedge trial to test a refined multi-level implementation strategy across 10 opioid treatment programs.
  5. New England Addiction Technology Transfer Center – With Rosemarie Martin of the Brown University School of Public Health, Dr. Becker is co-leading a SAMHSA-funded center which annually provides training and technical assistance to over 2,100 front-line addiction treatment providers.

Contact

633 North Saint Clair Street
Suite 2000
Chicago, IL 60611

For inquiries about this research, please contact cdis@northwestern.edu or visit the center site.

 
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Allison J. Carroll, PhD

Allison Carroll is a clinical health psychologist and a core faculty member in the Building Relationships/Research for Implementation and Dissemination to Generate Equitable Systems (BRIDGES) Program. Her research focuses on implementing effective behavioral interventions to promote psychological, behavioral, and physical wellbeing.

Allison Carroll, PhD, is part of the BRIDGES team (https://bridges.northwestern.edu/) and is a collaborator on a number of research studies focused on implementation science, community-engagement, behavioral interventions, chronic disease prevention and management, and health equity. Some projects with which she is involved include:

 

Contact

750 North Lake Shore Drive
Suite 1000
Chicago, IL 60611

allison.carroll@northwestern.edu

For inquiries about this research, please contact bridges@northwestern.edu or visit the Bridges Program webpage.

 
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Richard Epstein, PhD, MPH

Richard Epstein primarily focuses on improving care for children and families of children who have experienced adversity, have special healthcare needs or are involved with publicly funded child welfare or mental health services.

Richard Epstein, PhD, MPH, is a licensed clinical psychologist and applied pediatric health services investigator. He has expertise using administrative data from health and human services systems such as medical claims and child welfare records to examine issues related to implementation and outcomes of healthcare and other human services. Epstein also has expertise conducting systematic and comparative effectiveness reviews of existing literature on interventions for pediatric populations. Whether analyzing administrative data or reviewing extant literature, the goal of his research is to help identify effective ways to organize, manage and provide high quality care to children and families of children who have experienced adversity, have special healthcare needs or are involved with publicly funded child welfare or mental health services.

Contact

710 North Lake Shore Drive
Suite 900, Room 902
Chicago, IL 60611

For inquiries about this research, please contact richard.epstein@northwestern.edu.

Visit the Mental Health Services and Policy Program website.

 
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C. Hendricks Brown, PhD

The vision of the Building Relationships/Research for Implementation and Dissemination to Generate Equitable Systems (BRIDGES) Program is to improve health outcomes for all. Brown's team is composed of Feinberg faculty, trainees, postdoctoral students and research staff with a shared interest in:

- Developing and collaborating in application of innovative research methods and tools to conduct rigorous implementation research.
- Developing and delivering trainings on implementation research, implementation methodology and implementation practice.
- Fostering partnerships between communities, researchers and service delivery systems.
- Supporting improved delivery, evaluation and sustainment of health services.

The BRIDGES team led by C. Hendricks Brown, PhD, participates in a diverse set of research projects and initiatives, including:

Contact

710 North Lake Shore Drive
Suite 1000
Chicago, IL 60611

For inquiries about this research, please contact bridges@northwestern.edu or visit the Bridges Program webpage.

 
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Tali Raviv, PhD
Tali Raviv's research program focuses on promoting mental health and resilience for children and communities impacted by poverty, toxic stress and trauma, and racism. We conduct school- and community-based intervention research in partnership with school and community leaders. Our work examines the effectiveness, implementation, dissemination and sustainability of school- and community-based interventions, with the goal of improving access to culturally relevant and evidence-informed prevention, early intervention, and mental health treatment programs and reducing health disparities. I also have a specific interest in school-based program development and evaluation.

Lurie Children’s Center for Childhood Resilience (CCR) is dedicated to promoting access to mental health services for youth. CCR develops, evaluates, and disseminates programs to promote systems change, increase access and reduce mental health disparities.Current Projects:The Resilience Education to Advance Community Healing (REACH) Statewide Initiative is supported by Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER II) from the U.S Department of Education. REACH goals are: 1) To prepare educators and schools to support student mental health and resilience via trauma-informed policies and practices; 2) to foster educators’ personal and professional resilience and self-care; and 3) to assist districts in creating school mental health structures and data-riven approaches to addressing trauma and building resilience. CCR is partnering with the American Institutes of Research and Loyola University Chicago to conduct a mixed-methods analysis of the REACH implementation and outcomes.National Center for Safe Supportive Schools (NCS3; https://ncs3.org) is a SAMHSA-funded center within the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). The mission is to provide states, districts, and schools with the knowledge and tools to implement culturally responsive, trauma-informed policies and practices that promote equity and well-being.The Stress and Coping Toolkit is a series of brief lessons and activities implemented by 6th, 7th, and 8th grade teachers to build student coping skills and mental health awareness, promote positive social connections, and enhance resilience in the face of ongoing stress. The toolkit was developed in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, and we are examining feasibility, acceptability, and initial utility.Strengthening Transition Resilience of Newcomer Groups (STRONG). In partnership with Loyola University Chicago and Chicago Public Schools, we are using a group randomized mixed-methods design to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of the STRONG school-based intervention (Hoover, 2018) in promoting mental health and resilience among newcomer students.

 

Contact

680 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611

For inquiries about this research, please contact traviv@lurieschildren.org

 

 
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Heather Risser, PhD

Heather Risser leads the Family CARE Parenting Lab's research focuses on violence prevention, child welfare, parenting and access to parenting and mental health promotion services for underserved children and families. Risser leads her team in providing training, evaluation and technical assistance to over 35 community-based organizations.

The Family CARE Parenting Lab led by Heather Risser, PhD, provides families and communities with a variety of resources, training and technical support to promote child, family and community wellness. Their team includes community stakeholders, family advisory members and university staff and students. Their projects are listed below:

Family Navigation
The Foster Parent Family Navigation Program aims to build foster parent capacity to 1) recognize their child’s mental health needs, 2) find and enroll the child in evidence-based treatment; 3) manage their child’s mental health treatment and 4) support treatment goals in the home and community.

Parental Emotion Regulation Skills
Harnessing e-Learning for Parental Emotion Regulation Skills (HELPERS) aims to build parent capacity to manage stress and negative emotion to improve the effectiveness of their parenting.

Specialized Foster Parent Support
There are several related aims to the overarching Foster Parent Support project. First, they asses prospective and current foster parent perspectives to identify opportunities to provide resources to sustain placement for children with high levels of need. Second, they work with foster-parent-serving agencies to provide resources for foster parents.

Community Partner Training and Technical Support
They provide training and technical support to 30 community partners across Illinois to support violence prevention and intervention.

Health Equity in Persons with Disabilities
They are engaged with several community partners in identifying strengths, needs and resources for Black adults living with disabilities accessing community services.

Contact

710 North Lake Shore Drive
Suite 1200, Room 1221
Chicago, IL 60611

For inquiries about this research, please contact heather.risser@northwestern.edu.

 
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Emily Rogalski, PhD

Emily Rogalski is a clinical and cognitive neuroscientist and the associate director of the Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease at Feinberg. She directs three research programs:

  1. Neuroimaging of Aging, Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias
  2. Primary Progressive Aphasia Research Program (which includes the Communication Bridge non-pharmacological intervention program)
  3. The multisite SuperAging Research Initiative

Emily Rogalski, PhD, the Ann Adelmann Perkins and John S. Perkins Professor of Alzheimer's Disease Prevention, has a successful history of consistent foundation and NIH funding spanning more than 15 years. Her research uses a multimodal and interdisciplinary approach and primarily focuses on two aging perspectives: primary progressive aphasia (PPA), in which neurodegenerative disease invades the language network, and SuperAging, in which individuals are seemingly resistant to the deleterious changes in memory associated with “normal” cognitive aging.

SuperAging Research Initiative: SuperAgers are 80+ year-olds with episodic memory function that is at least as good as cognitively average individuals in their 50s and 60s. Rogalski operationalized and established the SuperAging phenotype and leads the NIA-funded multisite SuperAging Research Initiative.

PPA Research Program: Rogalski's PPA research spans more than 15 years and has focused on characterizing the clinical and anatomical features of PPA, ascertaining the drivers of disease progression and identifying potential genetic and developmental risk factors. This work has also led to fundamental changes in the understanding of language network organization.

Care, support and non-pharmacologic intervention: Another important goal of Rogalski's research is to optimize access to high-quality non-pharmacological care for individuals with Alzheimer’s and related dementias (ADRD). She has developed educational programs, one of the first support groups for individuals living with PPA and, more recently, the Communication Bridge Intervention, which is designed to maximize communication and quality of life for individuals living with PPA and their carepartners. She currently leads an NIH Phase 2 randomized, clinical trial testing the efficacy of the Communication Bridge Intervention.

Multisite study leadership: Rogalski serves in leadership roles for two NIA-funded P30 awards and is the Neuroimaging Biomarker Core Leader for Northwestern’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) and the Pilot/Exploratory Studies Co-Core Leader for Northwestern’s Pepper Center. She is also a site PI for multi-center NIH initiatives, including the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) and Longitudinal Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Study (LEADS).

Contact

300 East Superior Street
Tarry Building
Chicago, IL 60611

For inquiries about this research, please contact e-rogalski@northwestern.edu.

Visit the Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease website.

 
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Linda Teplin, PhD

The Health Disparities and Public Policy Program co-led by Teplin conducts large-scale epidemiological studies of traditionally underserved populations. Funded by the National Institute of Health, the Department of Justice, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies, Health Disparities and Public Policy focuses on studying the health needs of racial and ethnic minorities and persons who are impoverished, homeless or incarcerated.

The interdisciplinary group co-led by Linda Teplin, PhD, includes faculty-level research investigators, research assistants, interviewers, statistical programmers, data processors, administrative and support staff, as well as graduate students enrolled in the Clinical Psychology PhD and master’s programs in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Results from their research studies have provided the needed empirical data to guide U.S. policy: Findings have been cited in Supreme Court amicus briefs, congressional hearings and surgeon general’s reports. We are currently conducting two studies: the Northwestern Juvenile Project and the Northwestern Juvenile Project: Next Generation. Begun in 1995, the Northwestern Juvenile Project is the first large-scale longitudinal study of psychiatric disorders, antisocial and criminal behaviors and adult outcomes of juvenile detainees. Next Generation is the first intergenerational study of this special population. The group is investigating the characteristics that promote resilience among the children of the original participants in the Northwestern Juvenile Project. By identifying the strengths of children, their parents, social networks and communities, they will determine what experiences promote mental health, healthy relationships and educational attainment. 

Contact

710 North Lake Shore Drive
Suite 900
Chicago, IL 60611

For inquiries about this research, please contact healthdisparities@northwestern.edu or visit the Health Disparities and Public Policy Program webpage.

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