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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
Karen Abram is a licensed clinical psychologist and Associate Director of the Health Disparities and Public Policy Program.  She is part of an interdisciplinary team that investigates the interface between the mental health and criminal justice systems, and associated health disparities.  She has special interest in the mental health needs of those involved with the criminal justice system, including trauma, loss, and comorbid disorders. 

For the past 40 years, the Health Disparities and Public Policy Program, co-led by Karen Abram, PhD, has conducted comprehensive studies investigating the interface between the mental health and criminal justice systems, and associated health disparities. The program includes project staff from a wide variety of disciplines, doctoral students from the Clinical Psychology program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and post-doctoral fellows.  The program is currently conducting the Northwestern Juvenile Project, the first large scale, longitudinal study of mental health needs and outcomes of juvenile detainees, and on the Northwestern Juvenile Project: Next Generation study, a longitudinal intergenerational study which aims to identify what predicts positive outcomes in at-risk youth.  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.

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 for Dissemination and Implementation Science website.

 
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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 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

For inquiries about this research, please contact allison.carroll@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 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

750 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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Neil Jordan, PhD
Neil Jordan is a health economist and health services researcher who directs the Mental Health Services & Policy Program. Dr. Jordan’s research emphasizes identifying and implementing high value services and systems of care for persons with complex chronic illness. He has a special interest in the cost and quality of mental health, addiction, and child welfare services.

Neil Jordan, PhD, is a health economist and health services researcher. Dr. Jordan leads the Mental Health Services & Policy Program (MHSPP), which provides research, evaluation, outcomes management, technical assistance, and training that helps improve the lives of individuals and families who receive publicly funded mental health or child welfare services. MHSPP is an interdisciplinary group that includes faculty-level research investigators, data analysts, project coordination, and administrative staff as well as graduate students enrolled in the Clinical Psychology PhD and master’s programs in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Jordan is also a member of the Center for Health Services & Outcomes Research within Northwestern’s Institute for Public Health and Medicine, where he conducts cost-effectiveness, cost-benefit, and implementation cost analysis on federally funded projects supported by the National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Mental Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institute of Justice, and United States Department of Agriculture.

Contact

710 North Lake Shore Drive
Suite 1200
Chicago, IL 60611

For inquiries about this research, please visit the MHSPP website or contact neil-jordan@northwestern.edu.

 
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Cassandra Kisiel, PhD
Cassandra Kisiel is an Associate Director of the Mental Health Services and Policy Program, and she co-leads the Center for Child Trauma Assessment, Services and Systems Integration, a federally funded Center of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). She is part of a team that focuses on building and supporting trauma-informed practices within child welfare and juvenile justice settings. Her research and areas of interest focus on complex, developmental trauma, dissociation, strengths and protective factors, transition age youth, trauma-informed assessment, and evaluation of trauma-informed systems.

Cassandra Kisiel, PhD, works with the Center for Child Trauma Assessment, Services and Systems Integration (CCTASSI) which has been funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as a Treatment and Service Adaptation Center of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). The Center offers national expertise on both assessing and addressing the complex, developmental effects of trauma for system-involved youth and developing trauma-informed, child-serving systems and agencies. The Center's focus includes the development, adaptation, and widespread dissemination of trauma-focused training curriculum and resources within targeted service settings across the country, with a particular emphasis on child welfare, juvenile justice, and behavioral health. The team includes both faculty and project staff from a variety of disciplines, and doctoral and master’s students from the Clinical Psychology Program within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. An innovative feature of the Center’s work includes the development and dissemination of several public awareness films, focused on complex trauma, transition age youth, and race and trauma. The Center's research and evaluation efforts include assessing the use and impact of our resources and training and implementation programs on provider attitude, knowledge, skill, and practice change, and the utility and impact of our resources on family partners and community members. The Center has utilized a variety of techniques, including analysis of large scale data sets to identify trauma-related needs and strengths within our target populations; use of quality improvement data to inform ongoing service needs and the need for adaptations to existing training and implementation approaches; collection of both survey and qualitative data (e.g., focus groups, interviews, other narrative data) from providers and family partners to identify key needs, translate findings into the development of practical resources for providers, and consolidate these findings for dissemination and publication.

 

Contact

710 North Lake Shore Drive
Suite 1200
Chicago, IL 60611

For inquiries about this research, please contact c-kisiel@northwestern.edu or visit the Center's websites https://cctasi.northwestern.edu/ & https://www.cctassifilms.org/

 
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Ashley A. Knapp, MA, PhD
Ashley Knapp directs the Youth Digital Mental Health Lab, which uses human-centered design and implementation research methods to co-design and evaluate digital mental health services with marginalized youth to be implemented in community settings.

Ashley Knapp’s research is focused on youth digital mental health broadly, with a particular interest in designing and implementing accessible, community-based digital tools with marginalized youth and those youth most experiencing inequities. In particular, she is passionate about partnering with minoritized groups who have historically been underrepresented and not included in research to co-design digital tools to fit their needs and deploy those tools in public settings that are easily accessed. Dr. Knapp is currently supported by a NIMH-funded K01 award where she is partnering with a public library and their teen patrons to co-create a digital mental health service for anxiety to be implemented into the library’s teen services. She also uses the integration of human-centered design and implementation research methods in her contribution to other projects, to inform the design of technologies and services implemented across a variety of settings (e.g., healthcare; schools; mental health clinics; community organizations). Personally, she’s quite the homebody and nerds out on all things related to cross-stitching, puzzles, tea, and cats (don’t hate, she has a dog she loves too).

Contact

750 North Lake Shore Drive
Suite 1000
Chicago, IL 60611

For inquiries about this research, please contact ashley.knapp@northwestern.edu, @AshleyAKnapp on Twitter, or visit the Youth Mental Health Lab site for more information

 
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Dennis H. Li, PhD, MPH
Dennis Li conducts dissemination and implementation research to improve delivery of HIV prevention and treatment interventions to help end the HIV epidemic in the US.

We currently have the proper tools to effectively eliminate new HIV infections in the US; however, implementation of these technologies is poor and highly inequitable. Dennis Li, PhD, MPH, and his team aim to help close the gap between research evidence and real-world practice by developing and evaluating strategies to improve delivery and uptake of these tools, particularly among marginalized communities.

The team applies rigorous yet pragmatic dissemination and implementation research methods. Dr. Li is core faculty in the Center for Dissemination and Implementation Science.

The team partners closely with the Chicago Department of Public Health and Chicagoland HIV service agencies to understand and enhance their models of care:

  • Configurations of Linkage, Engagement, And Retention Strategies for HIV (CLEARS-HIV) is characterizing barriers, facilitators, and best practices for care engagement.
  • Assessing a Centralized Care Engagement and Syndemics Strategy for HIV (ACCESS-HIV) is evaluating implementation of the HIV Resource HUB and preparing it for scale-out to other jurisdictions.
  • Collaborative to Enhance Access for Suppression to End HIV (CEASE-HIV) is adapting a model of low-barrier care for people with complex needs to be implemented and evaluated in Chicago clinics.
  • In addition, the team contributes dissemination and implementation science expertise to various intervention trials and other initiatives.

Contact

633 North Saint Clair Street
Suite 20-040
Chicago, IL 60611

For inquiries about this research, please contact dennis@northwestern.edu or visit the Center for Dissemination and Implementation Science site for more information.

 
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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. The program conducts school- and community-based intervention research in partnership with school and community leaders. The program 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.

At the Lurie Children’s Center for Childhood Resilience (CCR), Tali Raviv 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) 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, STRONG uses 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
Suite 13-084
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 1221
Chicago, IL 60611

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

 
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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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