Implementation Research Institute (IRI)
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2012 Expert Faculty

Expert Faculty - providing leadership for part of the June 2012 IRI

Laurel Copeland, MPH, Ph.D. 
Dr. Copeland trained in research methodology focusing on the development and evaluation of health behavior interventions at the University of Michigan School of Public Health while working on community-based alcohol survey research and large database studies in the Veterans Health Administration (VA) Health Services Research & Development program in Ann Arbor.  After she joined VERDICT Health Services Research & Development in San Antonio in 2004, a VA career development award enabled her to expand her analyses of healthcare utilization by VA patients with schizophrenia, and to extend her research to other psychiatric disorders with and without co-occurring substance use disorders (bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder), and to look at psychiatric comorbidity in epilepsy, diabetes, and surgery patients.  Her methodological expertise leads to inclusion on studies of diverse clinical samples (obesity, pneumonia). Current projects examine health services use by new veterans from OEF/OIF, older veterans with schizophrenia, and mental health patients undergoing surgery.  She has a dual appointment with the Scott & White Healthcare System and the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System at Temple, Texas, encompassing Research (75%), Clinical (0%), Mentoring (12.5%), Administration (12.5%).  

Lisa Dixon, MPH, M.D.
Lisa Dixon, M.D., M.P.H.  has recently moved to the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University where she directs the Center for Practice Innovations. Until April, she was a Professor of Psychiatry, Director of the Division of Services Research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry and Acting Director of the VA Capitol Health Care Network Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center Dr. Dixon is an established health services researcher with continuous funding from NIMH, VA and foundations since 1992. Her grants have focused on improving the quality of care for individuals with serious mental disorders with a particular emphasis on services that include families, reducing the negative impact of co-occurring addictions and medical problems, and improving treatment engagement and adherence. She is currently the Principal Investigator of the NIMH-funded Recovery After Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) Implementation Evaluation.  Dr. Dixon’s work has joined individuals engaged in self-help, outpatient psychiatric care, as well as clinicians and policy makers in collaborative research endeavors. In addition, Dr. Dixon is the current editor of a column in Psychiatric Services dedicated to Public-Academic partnerships. She has published more than 170 articles in peer-reviewed journals and received the 2009 American Psychiatric Association Health Services Senior Scholar Award as well as the Wayne Fenton Award for Exceptional Clinical Care. In addition, Dr. Dixon has a long standing interest in education, and was Director of Education and Residency Training of the University of Maryland-Sheppard Pratt Residency training program at its inception. She practices psychiatry at a local community mental health center and has been a Vice Chair of the University of Maryland IRB for nine years.

Howard H. Goldman, M.D., Ph.D. 
Dr. Goldman is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Goldman received joint M.D. - M.P.H. degrees from Harvard University in 1974 and a Ph.D. in social policy research from the Heller School at Brandeis University in 1978. He is the author or co-author of 300 publications in the professional literature. Dr. Goldman is the editor of Psychiatric Services, a mental health services research and policy journal published monthly by the American Psychiatric Association. He has been on the editorial boards of several other journals, including the American Journal of Psychiatry and the Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics. Dr. Goldman directed the MacArthur Foundation Network on Mental Health Policy Research for a decade ending in 2009. He served as the Senior Scientific Editor of the Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health from 1997-1999 for which he was awarded the Surgeon General’s Medallion.  During 2002 and 2003 Dr.Goldman was a consultant to the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health.  In 1996 he was elected to membership in the National Academy of Social Insurance, and in 2002 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine. 

Peter Hovmand, Ph.D. 
Dr. Hovmand is the founding director of the Social System Design Lab (SSDLab) at the Brown School of Social Work. The mission of the SSDLab is to advance the science and field of system dynamics practice in human services including social work, education, health, and public health.

Dr. Hovmand holds degrees in electrical engineering, mathematics, and social work. His research focuses on how organizations and communities can successfully implement and sustain innovations to improve outcomes with application areas in mental health services, community responses to domestic violence, health services, obesity prevention, and natural resources. To advance this research, he develops and draws on methods from electrical engineering and computer science, specifically system dynamics computer modeling and simulation, and participatory methods such as group model building.

Other interests include ordinary language philosophy, philosophy of mathematics, epistemology of social science, and feminist theory. He advises students interested in learning and applying system dynamics and systems thinking, and co-teaches a joint social work-engineering course with Dr. O’Sullivan, “A System Dynamics Approach to Designing Sustainable Social Policies and Programs.”

He is co-founder and chair of the diversity committee for the System Dynamics Society and a member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, System Dynamics Society, Society for Social Work Research, and Society for Community Research and Action.

Sylvia Hysong, Ph.D.

JoAnn Kirchner, MD
The primary focus of Dr. Kirchner's research has been in developing evidence based practices that support the provision of mental health and substance use treatment in non-specialty mental health settings.  These settings have included primary care practices, schools, and other community settings.  She has had continuous funding to support this work throughout her academic career. She has had the extraordinary opportunity to see clinical programs that she evaluated early in her career in efficacy and effectiveness trials (e.g., PRISMe) become the national standard of care within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and an emerging practice in non-VA  settings as well.  Coincidental with the evidence that supported primary care based mental health programs, implementation science was recognized as a critical area of health services research.  Thus, she was able to further facilitate the implementation of primary care based mental health programs by studying their implementation in the Cost and Value of Evidenced-Based Solutions for Depression Study and ultimately develop and evaluate implementation strategies to support implementation in her currently funded work, Blended Facilitation to Enhance Primary Care Mental Health Program Implementation.

In 2009, she became the Director of the VA Mental Health Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (MH QUERI) and initiated a rigorous strategic planning process which directly involved her clinical and operational partners as well as Veteran consumers and community stakeholders. One of the two goals of MH QUERI is to promote bi-directional partnership between implementation science researchers and key stakeholders. They are now in the first year of implementation of their new strategic plan. 

Lawrence Palinkas, Ph.D.

Dr. Palinkas is the Albert G. and Frances Lomas Feldman Professor of Social Policy and Health in the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California. He also directs the School’s Behavioral Health Research Cluster and holds secondary appointments as Professor in the Departments of Anthropology and Preventive Medicine at USC and as Adjunct Professor of Medicine and Family and Preventive Medicine at UCSD.

A medical anthropologist, his primary areas of expertise lie within preventive medicine, cross-cultural medicine, and health services research. Dr. Palinkas is particularly interested in behavioral health, health disparities, implementation science, community-based participatory research, and the sociocultural and environmental determinants of health and health-related behavior with a focus on disease prevention and health promotion. His research has included studies of psychosocial adaptation to extreme environments and manmade disasters; mental health needs of older adults; cultural explanatory models of mental illness and service utilization; evaluation of academic-community research practice partnerships; and the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based practices for delivery of mental health services to children, adolescents and underserved populations. This work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA, NIH, the MacArthur Foundation, and the William T. Grant Foundation. Current research encompasses mental health services, immigrant health and global health. He also provides expertise to students and colleagues in the use of qualitative and mixed research methods.

Among his scholarly achievements are the Antarctic Service Medal by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Navy in 1989; deputy chief officer of the Life Sciences Standing Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research in 2002; chair of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute's External Advisory Council in 2003; and membership on committees of the National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Palinkas is an elected fellow of the American Anthropological Association and Society for Applied Anthropology and the author of more than 270 publications.

Leif I. Solberg, MD
Dr. Solberg is a family physician who is currently Associate Medical Director for HealthPartners Medical Group and Clinics (an 800 physician multi-specialty group practice), senior staff for HealthPartners (an 850,000 member health plan), and Director for Care Improvement Research for HealthPartners Research Foundation in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  He is also a clinical professor at the University of Minnesota Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI), a Minnesota collaborative for quality improvement that has become a national leader.  He is internationally known for his research on organizational aspects of quality improvement and implementation, chronic disease care (including depression), and clinical preventive services delivery.  He has published over 200 papers and books/book chapters in these areas and his main interest is in learning how to improve the quality of care provided in the primary care setting.  Currently he is PI of a major National Institute of Mental Health-funded implementation study of a statewide initiative to improve primary care for patients with depression and is on the AHRQ Stakeholder Advisory Group.

Rachel Tabak, Ph.D.
Dr. Tabak is a Research Assistant Professor at the Prevention Research Center in St. Louis and the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis.  Dr. Tabak's research interests include: childhood obesity prevention and evaluation and dissemination of policy and environmental interventions to promote healthy nutrition and physical activity behaviors.  She has a Doctorate in Nutrition Intervention and Policy with a minor in Epidemiology from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Fred Wulczyn, Ph.D.
Dr. Wulczyn is a Senior Research Fellow at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. Dr. Wulczyn brings a diverse range of academic and public sector experience to his research.  He is a founding staff member of Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, one of the premier child welfare research centers in the world.  His public sector experience includes a decade long post with the New York State Department of Social Services.  Today, he splits his time between Chapin Hall and the United States Department of Health and Human Services where he is a special advisor to Commissioner Bryan Samuels, who oversees the U.S. child welfare system.

Dr. Wulczyn's principal areas of expertise focus on child welfare broadly defined, with an emphasis on child maltreatment and foster care.  From a disciplinary perspective, Dr. Wulczyn's work borrows heavily from epidemiology, sociology, systems science, and human development.  Having worked in Ethiopia, Romania, and New South Wales, Australia, his work with administrative data is widely recognized for its rigor and applicability in policy and practice settings.  Of particular importance, he is one the foremost experts in the U.S. on public sector finance of child welfare programs.

Dr. Wulczyn is the founding director of the Center for State Foster Care and Adoption Data, a collaborative effort involving Chapin Hall, the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators and the University of California at Berkeley. With placement records for more than 2 million children from 30 states, the Center houses the oldest and largest repository of fully longitudinal foster care data in the world.  Scientists at the Center combine a vigorous research and development program with a substantial training and technical assistance capacity.  Over the past several years, the R & D agenda has focused on outcomes for children in foster care, structured decision making, child and adolescent needs assessment (CANS), life course development of children in the child protective system, social-ecological factors and their impact on the demand for child welfare services, simulation modeling within a complex adaptive systems framework, and racial disparity.  The technical assistance arm of the Data Center supports the research to policy/practice link.  To support those efforts, Center staff have developed in-house software applications that are used to distribute access to public agency data warehouses.  The suite of applications includes financial modeling, geo-spatial capabilities, agent-based simulations, and record linkage.

Dr. Wulczyn's own work has, over the last few years, focused on ecological context, innovative financial models, and real-time performance monitoring.  With respect to performance monitoring and finance, he helped the Tennessee Department of Children's Services revise the methods used to account for more $200 million in annual expenditures for in-home and placement services.  With respect to ecological analysis, Dr. Wulczyn is one of the first scholars to revisit how social ecological constructs are used in studies of foster care placement.  In his current capacity as Special Assistant to Commissioner Samuels, Dr. Wulczyn is also leading a redesign of the methods used by the federal government to monitor the performance of state child welfare agencies.

In 2005, Dr. Wulczyn was awarded the Peter Forsythe Award, given annually by the American Public Human Services Association and the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators.  The award is given for leadership in public child welfare.  In 2011, Dr. Wulczyn was awarded the Flynn Prize, which is awarded bi-annually to a scholar whose work combines innovation, rigor, and impact in relation to vulnerable populations.  Twice his work has been recognized by the Innovations in Government program at Harvard University.  In May of this year, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Marywood University for his work on behalf of vulnerable children and families.

NIH Staff

David Chambers, Ph.D.
Chief, Dissemination Research Program
National Institute of Mental Health
Dr. David Chambers is Chief of the Services Research and Clinical Epidemiology Branch (SRCEB) of the Division of Services and Intervention Research at the National Institute of Mental Health.  He arrived at NIMH in 2001, where he continues to manage a portfolio of grants that study the integration of scientific findings and effective clinical practices in mental health within real-world service settings. Since 2006, David has also served as Associate Director for Dissemination and Implementation Research, leading NIH initiatives around the coordination of dissemination and implementation research in heatlh, and has served as Institute representative to the Federal Action Agenda Senior Partners Workgroup, which directs the Federal response to the President’s Freedom Commission Report on Mental Health. At the IRI, he will explore implementation research from the national perspective. He will also be discussing grant mechanisms with the Fellows.