Partnering to improve youth mental health

The IMPACT Center is a transdisciplinary collaboration among three leading research institutions dedicated to improving mental health for youth in low-resourced community settings

A partnership-driven, transdisciplinary approach

The IMPACT Center brings together experts from complementary disciplines to optimize evidence-based practice implementation for youth in low-resourced community settings, such as community mental health centers and schools. This transdisciplinary approach adds substantial value to our research aims, as the issues of implementation science and mental health services research cannot be resolved by a sole discipline, nor can single investigator-led projects be expected to transform mental health care.

The IMPACT Center’s inter-institutional leadership structure leverages complimentary experience and expertise in implementation science, effectiveness research, and measure development and evaluation. This partnership provides an opportunity for broader IMPACT Center influence through each institution’s unique community networks, as well as methods testing and refinement.

Practical research for better health

Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) is the non-proprietary, public-interest research center within Kaiser Permanente Washington, a nonprofit health system based in Seattle, Washington. Kaiser Permanente Washington provides coverage and care for about 720,000 people in Washington and Northern Idaho.

KPWHRI’s research produces timely, relevant findings that help people everywhere stay healthy and get the care they need, with a mission to improve health, well-being, and health equity for all communities through collaborative research and evaluation.

For Washington, for the world

The University of Washington (UW) is one of the nation’s premier educational and research institutions, where it maintains an extensive research enterprise with core resources for basic, clinical, and health services research both domestically and abroad.

The University and its affiliate institutions provide an excellent environment for training and research characterized by recent growth, diversity and excellence in all types of health-related research and education. The University has been the top public university in federal research funding every year since 1974 and among the top five universities, public and private, in federal funding since 1969.

Artes, Scientia, Veritas (“Arts, Knowledge, Truth”)

The University of Michigan is one of the great public research universities of the United States and a leader in higher education.

Since 1817, the University has provided a national model of a complex, diverse, and comprehensive public institution of higher learning that supports excellence in research, provides outstanding undergraduate, graduate, and professional education, and demonstrates a commitment to service through partnerships and collaborations that extend to the community, region, state, nation, and around the world.

Center Co-Director, Project 1 Co-Lead
Cara C. Lewis, PhD

Dr. Cara C. Lewis is a senior investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute and affiliate faculty in the Department of Health Systems and Population Health in the School of Public Health and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the School of Medicine at the University of Washington. She is interested in developing strategies to improve the integration of evidence-based practices, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, into real-world settings, such as community mental health centers and primary care clinics. 

Dr. Lewis is an international leader in implementation science, serving as past president of the  Society for Implementation Research Collaboration (SIRC). In 2020, SIRC and Sage Publications launched a new journal,  Implementation Research and Practice, with Dr. Lewis serving as co-founding editor-in-chief. In 2021, she was recognized as one of the world’s top 25 researchers publishing in the journal Implementation Science. She has also served as expert faculty for the Implementation Research Institute, scientific advisory board member for AcademyHealth’s 10th Annual Conference on Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health, panelist for the National Institutes of Health implementation science study section, and adviser to 2 national implementation science centers (Ireland and Australia).

As IMPACT Center Co-Director, Dr. Lewis provides direction and oversight of all study activities and analyses and leads the administrative oversight of the award with MPI Dr. Dorsey. She will be responsible for communicating with NIMH and coordinating administrative and strategic Center activities.

Center Co-Director, Project 2 Lead
Shannon Dorsey, PhD

Dr. Shannon Dorsey is a Professor and Associate Chair of Graduate Studies in the Department of Psychology, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Global Health and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington. Her research is on evidence-based treatment (EBT) for children and adolescents, with a particular focus on dissemination and implementation of EBT domestically and globally. Her work has often focused on trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT), with hybrid research designs that include both effectiveness and implementation science questions. 

Her research has focused on training and supervision strategies to deliver TF-CBT and other EBT, with a particular focus on under-resourced settings. Her current research includes an NIMH-funded implementation study examining questions related to scale up of mental health treatments delivered via task-sharing in health and education in Kenya (via community health volunteer and teacher delivery) and implementation practices and policies that predict implementation success.

As IMPACT Center Co-Director, Dr. Dorsey oversees all aspects of the Center with MPI Dr. Lewis, including strategic scientific oversight, exploratory and pilot research project support, communication across investigators, dissemination of Center methods and resources to the practice and scientific communities, development and delivery of training (with Co-I Lyon), and future planning.

Methods Core Co-Lead
Bryan J. Weiner, PhD

Dr. Bryan J. Weiner is a Professor in the Departments of Global Health and Health Systems and Population Health at the University of Washington (UW). An organizational psychologist, his research over the past three decades has focused on the implementation of evidence-based interventions in general health care, and in cancer care specifically. He joined the UW faculty in 2016 to become the Director of the Department of Global Health  Implementation Science Program. In 2019, Dr. Weiner became MPI of the NCI-funded  OPTICC Center, with co-MPIs Drs. Lewis and Hannon.

As IMPACT Center Methods Core Co-Lead, Dr. Weiner leads methods development, product development, and training efforts. In coordination with Co-Lead Dr. Klasnja, he develops and refines methods for barrier identification and prioritization, develops methods for matching implementation strategies to target barriers, participates in the IMPACT Center Steering Committee, and contributes to strategic leadership and ensuring that future planning activities continue to integrate cutting-edge developments in implementation science.

Methods Core Co-Lead
Predrag “Pedja” Klasnja, PhD

Dr. Pedja Klasnja is an Associate Professor in the School of Information at the University of Michigan and an Affiliate Researcher at KPWHRI, who focuses on the development and evaluation of digital health interventions. Dr. Klasnja studies how technology can help people to better manage their health by making and sustaining health-promoting changes, and more effectively collaborating on health management with their healthcare providers. He is particularly interested in intervention optimization and methods for iterative and efficient development and testing of new interventions.

As Methods Core Co-Lead, Dr. Klasnja is responsible for leading the methods and product development along with Dr. Weiner (e.g., toolkits, massive open online courses), and associated training in the Methods Core innovations, notably Challenge 2 (Match Strategies to Prioritized Determinants) and Challenge 3 (Optimize Strategies).

Senior Advisor
Gregory Simon, MD, PhD

Dr. Gregory Simon is an investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, a psychiatrist in Kaiser Permanente’s Behavioral Health Service, and a faculty member of the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine and the University of Washington. Dr. Simon’s research focuses on improving access to and quality of mental health care, especially for mood disorders and people at risk for self-harm and suicide. His specific areas of research include improving adherence to medication, increasing the availability of effective psychotherapy, personalization of treatment for mood disorders, evaluating peer support by and for people with mood disorders, prediction of suicidal behavior, population-based suicide prevention programs, and racial/ethnic disparities in mental health care. Dr. Simon currently leads the Mental Health Research Network (MHRN) a NIMH-funded cooperative agreement supporting population-based mental health research across 14 large health systems.

As a Senior Advisor, Dr. Simon meets quarterly with Drs. Lewis and Dorsey to discuss IMPACT Center leadership and progress, using MHRN as a model to provide support in optimizing structures, processes, and products.

Senior Advisor
Patricia A. Areán, PhD

Dr. Patricia Areán is a professor in the University of Washington Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and a licensed clinical psychologist. Dr. Areán is a leading behavioral scientist, with expertise in cross-cultural mental health, geriatric psychology, assessment and treatment of depression and anxiety, the use of Human Centered Design for adapting psychosocial interventions and in the use of technology to conduct surveys, user experience research and clinical trials to scale. She is currently co-director of the NIMH-funded ALACRITY Center and directs the CREATIV and the MHATS Digital Laboratories at the UW. Dr. Areán has published on the recognition and treatment of depression and anxiety, methods for recruiting and retaining large and representative numbers of adults into longitudinal research, and acceptability of using digital data for the purpose of screening and treating mental illnesses.

As a Senior Advisor, Dr. Areán provides insight to IMPACT Center Co-Directors regarding future directions of intervention and implementation research.

Scientific Advisory Board
Scientific Advisor
Luke Wolfenden, PhD
Associate Professor
School of Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle
Scientific Advisor
Linda M. Collins, PhD
Department of Social and Behavioral Science, School of Global Public Health, New York University
Scientific Advisor
Briana Woods-Jaeger, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences, School of Public Health, Emory University
Scientific Advisor
Kimberly Hoagwood, PhD
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, School of Medicine, New York University
Scientific Advisor
Lisa Saldana, PhD
Senior Research Scientist
Oregon Social Learning Center
Center Administration
Center Administrator
Michelle Chan, MPA

As Center Administrator, Michelle Chan is responsible for the day-to-day oversight and implementation of project activities in the Administrative Core under the leadership of MPIs Lewis and Dorsey. She will oversee recruitment, selection, and implementation of pilot projects in partnership with the Methods Core. She also coordinates research meetings (i.e. Steering Committees, Advisory Boards), events (i.e. Deep Dive, Symposium) and communication across the Center.

Methods Core Project Manager
Rene Hawkes, BS

As Methods Core Project Manager, Rene Hawkes is responsible for the day-to-day oversight and implementation of project activities in the Methods Core. She coordinates mentoring consultations and workshops for Trainees (i.e., pilot PIs, IRI Fellows, SIRC), and collaborates with the Administrative Core on the IMPACT Center’s data collection, sharing and reporting to NIMH, and a Center-wide evaluation.

Project Manager, IMPACT Project 1
Carolyn Bain, MPH

As the Project Manager for IMPACT Project 1, Carolyn Bain oversees and monitors the budget, develops and monitors timelines, and prepares submissions to the IRB. In addition, she takes an active role in refining, testing, and documenting study protocols and procedures and oversees data collection activities. She writes and submits scheduled progress reports and reports study results for Project 1.

Center Faculty
Project 3 Lead
Aaron R. Lyon, PhD

Dr. Aaron Lyon is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington (UW). He is also Co-Director of the School Mental Health Assessment, Research, and Training (SMART) Center, an implementation research and technical assistance center dually housed in the UW’s School of Medicine and College of Education; Co-Director of the NIMH-funded UW ALACRITY Center, which integrates human-centered design and implementation science; and Director of the Research Institute for Implementation Science in Education (RIISE), a research training program for educational scholars. Dr. Lyon conducts quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research focused on increasing the accessibility and effectiveness of psychosocial interventions for children, adolescents, and families, delivered within contexts that routinely provide care to chronically underserved populations.

In the IMPACT Center, Dr. Lyon serves as a member of Steering Committee to ensure close collaboration with the UW ALACRITY Center. He leads Project 3, which will develop a streamlined and digital version of the Beliefs and Attitudes for Successful Implementation in Schools (BASIS) implementation strategy.

Methods Expert Consultant; IRI training Program Liaison
Byron Powell, PhD, LCSW

Dr. Byron Powell is an Associate Professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. He is Co-Director of the Brown School’s Center for Mental Health Services Research and Associate Director of the Institute for Public Health’s Center for Dissemination & Implementation, where he leads the Methods & Metascience Initiative.

Dr. Powell is President of the Society for Implementation Research Collaboration (SIRC), is Associate Director Designee for the Implementation Research Institute, and serves on the editorial boards for  Implementation Science and  Implementation Research and Practice. As SIRC President, Dr. Powell provides expertise related to strategic planning and outreach for the IMPACT Center, as well as insights into IMPACT’s training and involvement with the Implementation Research Institute (IRI) Fellows as IRI core faculty.

Methods Core Expert Faculty
Lorella Palazzo, PhD

Dr. Lorella Palazzo is a Collaborative Scientist at KPWRI who specializes in optimizing care delivery and improving access to health services. She has extensive experience in analyzing clinical data and evaluating health care improvement efforts. Inspired by her training as a sociologist, Dr. Palazzo is also interested in how social scientists can best collaborate with other health researchers to improve care.

Dr. Palazzo works closely with Dr. Lewis as a Methods Core Expert to apply rapid qualitative methods to generate a comprehensive list of determinants operating in each of the clinics. She also helps prioritize determinants from evidence review, rapid ethnography, and design probe activities as a member of the research team.

Methods Core Lead Analyst
Michael Pullmann, PhD

Dr. Michael Pullmann is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Washington, and provides methodological leadership for both the UW SMART Center and the UW ALACRITY Center in addition to his role with the OPTICC Center. Dr. Pullmann’s research focuses on community-based and participatory approaches in cross-system collaborative efforts. He has a particular interest in illuminating policy decisions through longitudinal approaches to data analyses of large-scale administrative databases, as well as implementation and dissemination efforts. His research has examined the unintended consequences and other ripple effects of implementation strategies in children’s mental health.

As a Methods Core Lead Analyst, Dr. Pullmann leads statistical analyses of IMPACT Center projects and offers centralized analytic capabilities to IMPACT-funded studies. He brings expertise in multilevel growth modeling, psychometric analysis, mediation, and moderation analyses.

Methods Core Expert Faculty
Marlaine Figueroa Gray, PhD

Dr. Marlaine Figueroa Gray is an Assistant Investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute and a medical anthropologist who has extensive experience in field observation, qualitative interviewing, and qualitative data analysis. She has led analyses assessing the perspectives of adolescent and young adult cancer patients, their caregivers, and clinicians and medical decision making and care outcomes for women during pregnancy and for bariatric surgery patients.

As Methods Expert on Project 2, Dr. Figueroa Gray collaborates with Drs. Dorsey and Pullmann on qualitative interviews and analyses in Aim 1.

Methods Core Expert Faculty
Nora Henrikson, PhD, MPH

Dr. Nora Henrikson is a behavioral scientist and Associate Investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute and an Affiliate Associate Professor at the University of Washington School of Public Health Department of Health Services. Dr. Henrikson is the Washington lead for the Kaiser Permanente Research Affiliates AHRQ-funded Evidence-based Practice Center, where she leads systematic reviews that inform the US Preventive Services Task Force guidelines.

As Methods Core Expert, Dr. Henrikson is responsible for leading both the methods development and product development for Stage I method rapid evidence reviews.

Methods Core Expert Faculty
Paula Blasi, MPH

Paula Blasi is a Collaborative Scientist at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWRHI) who works with the Kaiser Permanente Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) on systematic evidence reviews of clinical preventive services for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. She also leads rapid literature reviews for KPWHRI’s Center for Accelerating Care Transformation (ACT Center).

As Project 1 Methods Expert, Ms. Blasi collaborates with Dr. Lewis and Dr. Henrikson to provide expertise in evidence synthesis for IMPACT Stage I methods.

Methods Core Expert Faculty
Rosemary Meza, PhD

Dr. Rosemary Meza is a Collaborative Scientist at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute and a Clinical Psychologist with extensive experience in studying the implementation of evidence-based interventions for youth mental health in low-resource settings in the US and globally. Dr. Meza has a dual focus on studying innovation implementation and methods to improve implementation research. Her work focuses on improving access to quality care through designing and testing improvements to existing resources such as leadership, supervision, and peer support. Dr. Meza has expertise in quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods, and community-engaged research.

As a Methods Core Expert, Dr. Meza works closely with Dr. Lewis to oversee scientific execution of IMPACT-funded studies including deployment of methods, data collection, analysis, and interpretation. She contributes to methods development, refinement, and dissemination through products such as toolkits and training.

Project 1 Co-Lead, Administrative Core Stakeholder Lead
Ruben G. Martinez, PhD

Dr. Ruben Martinez is a Collaborative Scientist at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute. Dr. Martinez is trained as a child and adolescent clinical psychologist. He has clinical expertise in measurement-based care, assessment and treatment of childhood anxiety disorders, and culturally compassionate psychotherapy. His research focuses broadly on improving the implementation and quality of mental health services for underserved youth.

Dr. Martinez has several roles in the IMPACT Center. He works with Drs. Dorsey and Lewis to recruit community practice stakeholder members, who will bring youth/consumer perspective to our Stakeholder Advisory Committee. He also leads Project 1, which develops and refines new, pragmatic methods for implementing mental health innovations in low-resource, community-based settings. He works closely with the Methods Core faculty and the Project 1 team to carry out the deployment of these methods at participating clinics and beyond.

Center Staff
Research Specialist, Administrative Core
Caitlin Dorsey, BAH

Caitlin Dorsey is a Research Specialist III at Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute (KPWHRI). Her work focuses mainly on implementation science, stemming from substance use disorder clinical trials to studying best practices for methods and measurement. She has expertise in conducting rigorous systematic reviews across a multitude of research areas at KPWHRI. Her expertise also extends to qualitative analyses, such as individual and focus group interviews, as well as formative evaluation work.

As a Research Specialist, Caitlin supports the IMPACT Center’s Administrative Core, including curating content for the IMPACT website, tracking certain metrics (i.e., collaborations), and helping prepare presentations.

Research Support Specialist, Administrative Core
Tomeaka Trahan, MBA

Tomeaka Trahan provides support to the Administrative Core for all project activities including ordering and managing supplies, drafting meeting minutes, typing reports and letters, scheduling meetings, making travel arrangements, maintaining a bibliographic database, performing literature searches, and assisting with manuscript preparation.

Ms. Trahan works closely with Center Co-Director Dr. Lewis and Project Manager Ms. Chan in coordinating this project, helping ensure that investigators and project staff are fully informed of the parallel activities between sites and projects.

Programmer, Administrative Core
John Weeks

John Weeks has been working as a data scientist and software engineer for over 20 years, with more than 10 years of experience working with health care data. He has specialized knowledge of research health care common data models, such as the HCSRN VDW and the OHDSI OMOP.

As the IMPACT Center’s programmer, Mr. Weeks will be responsible for co-designing the relational database in coordination with Drs. Lewis, Klasnja, and Meza, and other project team members. The relational database connects all IMPACT Center-accumulated evidence and resources in an easily searchable manner and feeds content into the open-access website.

Research Specialist, Methods Core
Kayne D. Mettert, BA (Hons)

As Research Specialist for the Methods Core, Kayne Mettert provides expertise, mentoring and assistance for the IMPACT Center and its signature and pilot study projects. Responsibilities include conducting the scoping, review, screening, abstraction, and analysis for the rapid evidence review, as well as refining the rapid review protocol.

Research Specialist, Project 1
Abigail Matson, BA

As the Research Specialist for Project 1, Abigail Matson provides the following support: prepping clinics for Rapid Ethnographic Assessment (REA), collecting data, developing and refining the Design Probe Toolkit, assisting with Barrier Prioritization workshop preparation, preparing materials for site visits, and agenda setting.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Project 2
Enoch Sackey, PhD

Dr. Enoch Sackey’s research interests focus on how to optimally use research to improve population outcomes and reduce service inefficiencies that pose endemic challenge to health and social care systems. He is particularly interested in the dissemination and implementation of culturally appropriate interventions aimed at serving traditionally underrepresented populations (especially children and adolescents in low-resource communities) and addressing the following topics: 1) structural inequities and reducing mental health disparities among ethno-racial minorities; 2) disseminating and implementing scalable, sustainable intervention strategies for improving mental health in underserved populations; 3) cultural adaptations of interventions; and 4) social determinants of health and wellbeing.

Dr. Sackey is originally from Cape Coast, Ghana, where he received his BSc in Psychology at the University of Cape Coast. He then went to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) for his MPhil in Human Development. From there, he went to the University of Mississippi for his PhD in Clinical Psychology and received his Pre-doctoral Clinical Psychology Internship training at the Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston Consortium), focusing on trauma and behavioral medicine.

Dr. Sackey will lead IMPACT Signature Project 2 with Dr. Dorsey, focused on optimizing supervisor coaching for peer leadership to support successful implementation of CBT and positive outcomes for youth.

Graduate Student Research Assistant, Project 2
Clara Johnson

As the Graduate Student Research Assistant for Project 2, Clara Johnson works under the direction of Dr. Dorsey and Dr. Sackey to support data collection activities (e.g., notetaking, preparing Qualtrics surveys, downloading and cleaning data collected as part of this project and routine clinical data from Toolkit). Ms. Johnson will contribute to writing manuscripts and disseminating study findings.

Web Designer, Administrative Core
Elspeth Nolen, MSc

Elspeth Nolen is an experienced administrator trained in critical medical anthropology who uses her experience and training to improve the impact and reach of the programs she works with. In addition to designing and managing the IMPACT Center website, Ms. Nolen is the Program Manager and Web Designer for the University of Washington Implementation Science Program led by IMPACT Methods Core Co-Lead Bryan J. Weiner, and is also the Web Designer for the NCI-funded  OPTICC Center.

What are IMPACT methods?