Implementation Research Institute (IRI)
Print This Page
Font Size

Skip navigation links
Apply to the Institute
Core Faculty
IRI 2010
IRI 2011
IRI 2012
IRI 2013
IRI 2014

2013 Fellows


Sangeeta C. Ahluwalia, PhD, MPH

Dr. Ahluwalia is a Research Health Scientist at the VA Greater Los Angeles Center of Excellence for the Study of Healthcare Provider Behavior and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the UCLA  Fielding School of Public Health. Her primary research interest is in improving communication processes around advance care planning and end of life between patients, caregivers and clinicians. Her goal is to enhance emotional well-being and preparation for the end of life, and to help patients and families achieve peace and closure through a greater focus on quality of life. She is particularly interested in the application of hybrid models of implementation science to achieve this goal. Her current work includes the development and implementation of the group visit approach to advance care planning among patients with heart failure and implementation and evaluation of a structured family meeting process in the ICU.

Theresa S. Betancourt, ScD, MA

Theresa S. Betancourt, ScD, MA, is Associate Professor of Child Health and Human Rights in the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard School of Public Health and directs the Research Program on Children and Global Adversity (RPCGA) at the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights.  Her central research interests include the developmental and psychosocial consequences of concentrated adversity on children and families, resilience and protective processes in child and adolescent mental health and applied cross-cultural mental health research. She has extensive experience in conducting research among children and families in low resource settings particularly in the context of humanitarian emergencies. She is the Principal Investigator of a prospective longitudinal study of war-affected youth in Sierra Leone and is developing and evaluating a Family Strengthening Intervention for HIV-affected children and families in Rwanda. She has written extensively on mental health and resilience in children facing adversity including recent articles in Child Development, The Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Social Science and Medicine and PLOS One.



Alicia Bunger, MSW, Ph.D.

Alicia Bunger is an Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University’s College of Social Work.  Before joining the OSU faculty, she received a Ph.D. from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, and completed a two year NIMH-sponsored post-doctoral fellowship at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.  Dr. Bunger’s research examines inter-organizational dynamics, social networks among clinicians, and implementation of evidence-based practices within children’s behavioral health organizations and systems.  She is Principal Investigator for an evaluation of a five year system demonstration project (Gateway CALL) funded through the USDHHS Administration for Children and Families to improve access to evidence-based behavioral health services for child welfare-involved youth in Franklin County (OH).  As an IRI participant, she will focus on the role of social networks in regional scale-up of evidence based practices.

Amy Drahota, PhD

Amy Drahota, Ph.D. is an Assistant Research Professor in the department of psychology at San Diego State University. She holds a bachelor of arts in psychology from Gonzaga University and a doctorate of philosophy in educational psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Drahota’s research centers on the adaptation, dissemination and implementation of evidence-based practices (EBPs) for youth with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in community settings. Dr. Drahota leads an NIMH funded grant (K01 MH073213) involving a formal academic-community collaboration to develop and pilot the Autism Model of Implementation, a systematic process hypothesized to facilitate adoption, implementation and sustainment of EBPs in ASD community-based agencies. Additional interests include developing standardized methods for adapting EBPs to fit community contexts and fidelity monitoring and performance feedback. Her previous work includes an NIMH funded (F31 MH093477) randomized controlled trial to test the efficacy of an anxiety cognitive behavioral therapy manual adapted for children with ASD.

Bryan Garner, PhD

Bryan Garner received his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Texas Christian University in 2006 and is currently a Research Scientist at Chestnut Health Systems.  In 2008, Dr. Garner received a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA; R01-AA017625) to conduct a large cluster randomized experiment testing the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of using pay-for-performance (P4P) as a method to improve treatment implementation and effectiveness.  Effectiveness results were published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine (Garner et al., 2012) and cost-effectiveness are forthcoming.  In 2010, Dr. Garner received a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA; R01-DA030462) to study the impact, predictors, and mediators of therapist turnover within the context of implementing evidence-based practices (EBPs).  Most recently, however, Dr. Garner serves as a co-investigator on a NIAAA grant designed to examine the sustainability of EBPs in real-world treatment settings (R01-AA021217).  Building upon his existing implementation research experience, Dr. Garner will focus his IRI efforts on developing a proposal focused on improving the long-term sustainment of EBPs via an organizational intervention called Phased Implementation Enhancement (PIE). 

Vivian Go, PhD

Dr. Go is an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  Her research focuses on the design, implementation and evaluation of behavioral HIV prevention interventions among marginalized populations, including injecting drug users (IDUs) and men who have sex with men (MSM). A primary research interest of Dr. Go’s has been the integration of qualitative and quantitative methods in studies utilizing laboratory-based endpoints.  Recently, she has collaborated with several international working groups on developing standardized measures of HIV-related stigma and sexual concurrency.

Erick Guerrero , PhD


Dr. Guerrero is an Assistant professor at the University of Southern California, School of Social Work. He is originally from Mexico City, but he spent 13 years in Chicago, where he completed his doctoral education at the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration. He also received doctoral training at Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management.


Prior to his academic appointment, Dr. Guerrero accumulated 13 years of experience as a counselor and program manager in behavioral health. He has integrated his clinical experience into his research training in management and organizations to consult for national and international organizations on diversity management and organizational development.


Professor Guerrero has taught courses on organizational theory and policy implementation, as well as in research methods for social workers. He is currently the co-director of the Management, Organizations and Policy Transformation research cluster at USC- School of Social Work. His research interests focus on three areas related to building capacity to improve standards of care for vulnerable populations; (1) Latino disparities in behavioral health services, ( 2) Implementation of culturally responsive and evidence-based practices, and (3) Integration of behavioral health and primary care services.   


Dr. Guerrero has received numerous emerging scholar awards from national and international associations and his work has been funded by federal and institutional grants. Currently, one of his studies funded by Los Angeles County, Department of Public Health examines the capacity of the substance abuse treatment system to implement culturally responsive practices to treat low- income ethnic minorities with co-occurring disorders. Dr. Guerrero is also the Principal Investigator in a 5-year study recently funded by the National Institute of Health. This study seeks to identify how changes precipitated by the Affordable Care Act impact the capacity of community-based substance abuse treatment organizations to expand service delivery (mental health and HIV prevention) in racial and ethnic minority communities and eliminate outcome disparities among African American and Latino clients. The public health relevance of these projects include providing critical information to federal and state insurance administrators, policy makers, and community-based providers who seek to develop evidence-informed policies and practices to respond to health care reform and parity legislation and promote health equity.  1. Funded by LA County Dept of Health to lead a study on implementation of cultural competence in publicly funded substance abuse treatment programs.2. Leading a study on integration of mental health in primary care in the V.A. System in L.A. County.3. Funded by Zumberge Grant  (USC) to lead a study on implementation of co-occurring substance use and mental health disorder treatment in mental health organizations. 4. Recently awarded (May, 2013), NIDA R21 on implementation of mental health and HIV prevention services in substance abuse treatment to eliminate outcome disparities under healthcare reform


Rachel Haine-Schlagel, PhD

Dr. Haine-Schlagel received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Arizona State University and completed post-doctoral training in child mental health services research at the Child & Adolescent Services Research Center (CASRC) through the University of California, San Diego and Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. She is currently an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Psychology at San Diego State University and an Investigator at CASRC. Her research focuses on understanding and promoting consumer activation and participation in child and family mental health services. Dr. Haine-Schlagel is the Principal Investigator on an NIMH-funded Career Development Award to develop and pilot a consumer activation toolkit to promote parent participation in publicly-funded clinic-based services. Next steps in her program of research are to adapt and test her consumer activation toolkit in additional settings (e.g., schools, primary care) and to extend her focus on consumer activation through direct-to-consumer marketing of evidence-based practices to create consumer demand or pull for EBPs.


Keng-Yen Huang, PhD, MPH

Keng-Yen Huang, PhD, MPH. is an Assistant Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine. Dr. Huang's research interests include investigating mechanisms of health disparities; testing cost-effective family and system approaches of preventive strategies to address health disparities; and broadening evidence-based program implementation and dissemination in underserved child populations both in the US and in the international contexts.  She is a principal investigator and co-investigator on numerous early childhood prevention and developmental research projects that focus on Asian American, African American and Latino children in the US and children in Uganda.  In her current NIMH funded R21 project, she is studying effective strategies to implement a school-based mental health prevention program in Uganda. As an IRI follow, Dr. Huang plans to further develop and test effective and sustainable strategies to disseminate and implement evidence-based child health promotion program for children in low-resources communities.

Victoria Ngo, PhD

Victoria Ngo is clinical psychologist and Behavioral Scientist at the RAND Corporation in Los Angeles. She has extensive expertise in developing, evaluating, and capacity building for evidence based treatments, including cognitive behavioral therapy for depression, anxiety, and trauma in diverse communities. She has led the implementation and dissemination of cognitive behavioral therapy intervention for several large scale community-partnered collaborative care projects for depression and anxiety in the United States targeting low-income, ethnic minority populations (Community Partners in Care and Reach Nola) and was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health to evaluate the adaptation and implementation of CBT for resource poor contexts in the U.S. (Los Angeles and New Orleans). For the past twelve years, she has been working in Vietnam to develop research and clinical training capacity and infrastructure and co-directed the NIH-funded Vietnam Children’s Mental Health Research Training Program, which established the first graduate training program in clinical psychology in the country. She also served as the Lead Scientific Consultant on a project focused on building clinical capacity for treatment of depression within the primary care system in Vietnam and is now integrating depression care into micro-finance services for poor rural Vietnamese women. Additionally, she is also developing depression programs for HIV clinics in Uganda.  Dr. Ngo has also taken leadership roles in minority mental health policy efforts in the U.S., including membership in the State of Tennessee Mental Health Planning Council Cultural Competence Committee (2001-2004), and chairing the State Cultural Competence Committee Service System Task Group in 2004, which produced a strategic plan for the state of Tennessee. Internationally, she is also involved in the NIH Grand Challenges in Mental Health Initiative, which seeks to promote and support mental health services in low and middle income countries.


Heather Tassig, PhD

Dr. Heather Taussig is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She is also the Associate Director of Clinical Research at the Kempe Center, where she has directed the Fostering Healthy Futures Program (FHF) since 2000. Dr. Taussig’s primary clinical and research interests focus on developing positive youth development programming, especially mentoring, to improve outcomes for children who have experienced maltreatment and foster care placement. She has conducted two NIH-funded randomized controlled trials of FHF and future plans include extending its reach through community-based implementation as well as the development of a mentoring program for teenagers. Dr. Taussig has also conducted longitudinal research on risk and protective factors, child welfare outcomes, and policy issues related to child maltreatment and foster care.

Dr. Taussig serves as the PhD Faculty Representative for the Department of Pediatrics and sits on the Biobehavioral and Behavioral Sciences Study Section at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. She served on Colorado Governor Ritter’s Task Force on Foster Care and Permanence and participates in several community collaboratives. Dr. Taussig is an international awardee for her work on child abuse and neglect from the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. 

Emily C. Williams, PhD, MPH


Dr. Williams is a core investigator at the VA Puget Sound Northwest Center of Excellence for Health Services Research & Development (HSR&D) and an Assistant Professor of Health Services at the University of Washington.  She holds a bachelor of arts in political science from Lewis & Clark College, a master’s degree in public health from Boston University, and a doctoral degree in health services from the University of Washington.  Dr. Williams is a health services researcher with interests and experience in three overlapping domains: 1) health behavior and mechanisms that drive behavior change, 2) implementation of evidence-based care, and 3) vulnerable populations, stigmatized conditions, and disparities.

Her primary research focus has been on implementing evidence-based care for unhealthy alcohol use—alcohol screening and brief intervention—in medical settings.  For the last 10 years, Dr. Williams has specifically contributed to research aimed at implementing evidence-based care for unhealthy alcohol use in the nationwide Veterans Health Administration (VA). Her contributions to this work have included quantitative evaluations of performance measures and electronic clinical decision support systems as a method of implementing evidence-based alcohol-related care, as well as identification of disparities in receipt of care across patient sub-groups. Her ongoing research, funded by two VA implementation grants, is aimed at improving the quality of alcohol-related care being offered in VA.  This research uses observational and interview-based qualitative methodology to understand the “front-line” perspective and training needs of clinical staff and providers who now offer preventive alcohol-related care as facilitated via electronic clinical decision support systems in the VA.  This ongoing research suggests that interventions aimed at overcoming attitudinal barriers to behavior change among frontline providers are likely critical to ensuring availability of high quality evidence-based alcohol-related care. Recently funded by a 5-year VA Career Development Grant, Dr. Williams is now focused on developing skills in implementation science in order to develop interventions to address provider (user-) level attitudinal barriers to provision of high-quality alcohol-related care.  Her ultimate goal is to conduct research aimed at improving access to high-quality evidence-based care for patients with addictions and other stigmatized disorders, such as HIV.