Welcome our New NIMH T32 Pre and Post-Doctoral Trainees

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to introduce one new post-doctoral trainee, Dr. Rebecca Lengnick-Hall and two new pre-doctoral trainees, Ms. Katherine (Katie) Shires and Ms. Nancy Perez-Flores,  to our NIMH T32 Training in Mental Health Services Research  program.

Dr. Rebecca Lengnick-Hall is an organizational social work researcher who wants to promote and represent the social work perspective in the implementation science and management fields. She received her PhD from the University of Southern California and has master’s level training in social work and public affairs. Her respect for the social work profession drives her research questions, and her policy training pushes her to make her research practical, relevant, and immediately usable.

Rebecca wants to create organizational environments that support EBP implementation and set clinicians up to succeed. She is specifically interested in how organizations must adapt—in both planned an unplanned ways—when a new intervention is introduced. While the dominant perspective is that organizations are the context for implementation, Rebecca believes that organizations are dynamic implementation actors.

Her dissertation, funded by a two-year Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Mental Health, qualitatively explored how 17 organizations in eight service systems adapted over the course of SafeCare implementation. Rebecca now wants to understand how practitioners make decisions about adaptation as an EBP is adopted, implemented and sustained.

Rebecca can be reached at

Nancy Jacquelyn Pérez-Flores, MSW is a first year PhD student at the Brown School. She received her BSW (2018) and MSW (2019) from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign School of Social Work. While completing her master’s degree, she worked as a research assistant at her institution on a community-based project for immigrants in Champaign and Urbana, IL. As a National Institute of Mental Health Pre-Doctoral Fellow, her research interests include the intersection of physical and mental health disparities among racial and ethnic communities, specifically the Latinx community. Nancy wants to eradicate the stigma around serious mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression) in these communities. She hopes to influence policies and impact the social work pedagogy to reduce health and racial inequities. 

Nancy can be reached at

Mary Katherine (Katie) Shires, LMSW, is a first year PhD student at the Brown School. Katie received a BA and MSSW from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. After obtaining her MSSW, Katie worked in community mental health as a school-based therapist, providing therapy to children and adolescents and working alongside families and educators to promote positive outcomes in students’ lives. Katie has also worked as a therapist for women in residential treatment with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders.

As a doctoral student, Katie is interested in researching the ways in which trauma exposure and corresponding mental health issues impact learning and school performance for children and adolescents. In addition, her research interests include examining interventions that strengthen resiliency in children and adolescents with trauma. Through research, Katie’s goal is to promote trauma-informed services in school systems and community agencies to optimize care for children and families.

Katie can be reached at

Please, welcome our newest additions to the Brown School family.

Best regards,

Leopoldo J. Cabassa, Ph. D.
Associate Professor
Director, NIMH T-32 Training Program, Center for Mental Health Services Research
Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis

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