Core Faculty

Aaron Lyon, PhD

Aaron Lyon, Ph.D., is SMART Center Director, Associate Professor in the UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and a licensed clinical child psychologist. Dr. Lyon’s research focuses on increasing the accessibility, efficiency, and effectiveness of community- and school-based interventions for children, adolescents, and families. He is particularly interested in (1) the identification and implementation of low-cost, high-yield practices – such as the use of measurement-based care – to reduce the gap between typical and optimal practice in schools; (2) development of individual- and organization-level implementation strategies to promote adoption and sustainment of evidence-based psychosocial interventions within a multi-tier systems of support (MTSS) framework; and (3) user-centered design of health-information technologies to improve service accessibility and effectiveness. Dr. Lyon is currently Principal Investigator on grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Justice, Institute of Education Sciences and various local and national foundations in the United States.

Eric Bruns, PhD

Eric Bruns, PhD is a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the University of Washington School of Medicine. Dr. Bruns’s research focuses on public child-serving systems, and how to maximize their positive effects on youth with behavioral health needs and their families. Toward this end, Dr. Bruns focuses primarily on two areas with high public health significance. The first is intensive care coordination models for youths with serious emotional and behavioral challenges (SEBC). In this area, Dr. Bruns co-directs the National Wraparound Initiative (, the National Wraparound Implementation Center (, and the UW Wraparound Evaluation and Research Team (, and has led multiple federally-funded research and intervention development projects aimed at defining and evaluating impact of intensive care coordination models. The second area is school mental health services. In this area, Dr. Bruns is Associate Director of the UW SMART Center, where he leads the Center’s Technical Assistance Core and directs its Department of Education-funded Post-doctoral Research Training Program. He has served as PI or Co-I on six Institute for Education Sciences (IES)-funded research studies, on topics such as development and efficacy testing of an efficient engagement, triage, and brief assessment approach for school clinicians, intensive Tier 3 intervention-models for high school students with SEBC, and methods for addressing racial disparities in school discipline.

Carol Davis

Carol Ann Davis, EdD., is a Professor in Special Education and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies in the College of Education.  Her early work as a teacher of children with chronic and persistent behavioral challenges, including students with ASD and developmental disabilities has guided her research as a researcher and teacher educator in higher education. Her research has focused on developing and providing effective and appropriate services to students with chronic behavior challenges through 1) validating effective intervention strategies for students with the most chronic behavior issues, 2) developing systems and processes to assist with the implementation of these practices in classrooms and schools, and 3) evaluating team-based models to assist with implementation. This work has led to the use and integration of the implementation science literature to analyze our models and develop implementation strategies to assist with the continued work of designing and implementing effective strategies and models of service delivery for students with chronic behavioral challenges.  More recently, her projects have focused on the development of technology tools as a way to embed implementation strategies to facilitate the use of evidenced-based practices in classrooms. iBESTT is a technology tool that assist schools in implementing Tier 3 behavior supports in classrooms and TeamPal is a tool that facilitates fidelity of coaching in schools to implement evidence-based practices.

Janine Jones

Dr. Janine Jones’ research focuses on providing culturally responsive school based interventions that address the socio-emotional health of students of color.   Her work is framed around the belief that providing culturally responsive services and promoting resilience within the cultural context creates the path toward serving the “whole child.” Her current projects focus on culturally responsive interventions including the following areas: 1) cultivating resilience through ethnic identity, 2) nature-based education as cultural immersion, and 3) art-based mindfulness in schools.  All three projects investigate the impact of interventions on school engagement and sense of belonging in students of color. She also consults with school personnel on culturally responsive practices that enhance teacher/student relationships and reduce some of the barriers associated with intractable opportunity gaps for students of color in schools. Her ultimate goal is to bridge the gap between research and practice by developing culturally responsive and innovative approaches to emotional and behavioral intervention for all children. Dr. Jones is an Associate Professor and Director of the School Psychology program at the University of Washington, a Licensed Psychologist and a Nationally Certified School Psychologist.

Jill Locke, PhD

Jill Locke, Ph.D., is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences at the University of Washington and core faculty at the SMART Center. Dr. Locke received her Ph.D. in Education from UCLA and completed her postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on the: 1) presentation of social impairment in children with autism in schools; 2) identification and implementation of evidence-based practices for individuals with autism in real-world settings; and 3) factors that predict successful implementation of evidence-based practices in schools. She is currently the principal investigator of an NIMH Career Development Award that uses mixed methods to examine the individual and organizational factors that predict successful implementation and sustainment of evidence-based practices for children with autism in public schools, and the PI of a pilot grant to study the feasibility and acceptability of a peer-mentoring program for college students with ASD. Her research has highlighted the importance of collaborating with community stakeholders such as public schools and the reality of working within the constraints of large, publicly funded systems, their timeline (e.g. school calendar year), and with their personnel. Also, here is a link to my profile on the SPHSC website:

Elizabeth McCauley, PhD

Elizabeth McCauley, Ph.D., is Acting Director, Child Psychiatry UW/Seattle Children’s and Professor, UW Psychiatry Department, adjunct in Pediatrics and Psychology. Dr. McCauley’s research has focused on the development, prevention and intervention of depression and behavioral health problems in young people. She has developed and/or tested a number of prevention and intervention strategies in clinical, primary care settings and schools.  Dr. McCauley has worked with Seattle Public Schools/Public Health-King County for the last 18 years to provide training and consultation to school-based mental health care providers. As part of that work, she has been PI on series of foundation and federally funded projects, both longitudinal and interventional studies, focused on enhancing mental health services in the schools. She is a founding member of the UW School Mental Health Assessment, Research, and Training (SMART) Center. 

Michael Pullmann

Michael Pullmann, PhD leads the SMART Center analytic Data Core. His research has focused on community-based and participatory approaches in cross-system collaborative efforts to serve youth and families with complex needs, with an emphasis on education and mental health. He provides methodological leadership on multiple projects, with a particular interest in illuminating policy decisions through longitudinal approaches to data analyses of large scale administrative databases, and on more small scale implementation and dissemination efforts.

Larissa Gaias, PhD

Larissa Gaias is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the School Mental Health Assessment, Research, & Training (SMART) Center at the University of Washington. Dr. Gaias’ program of research focuses on child and adolescent development in schools and other informal education contexts. In particular, she focuses on how schools can better support the academic achievement, socio-emotional development, and behavioral health of marginalized youth, including students of color and youth affected by violence, both within the United States and internationally. Her work uses a prevention science lens to develop, implement, and evaluate school-based programs and policies to reduce disproportionality and enhance equity in educational and behavioral outcomes.

Stephanie Brewer, PhD

Stephanie Brewer is a postdoctoral fellow at the School Mental Health Assessment, Research, & Training (SMART) Center at the University of Washington. Dr. Brewer's research aims to promote equitable access to high-quality mental health services for all children and adolescents. To accomplish this goal, Dr. Brewer focuses on school-based mental health and integrates perspectives from implementation science and cultural adaptation of interventions. She is particularly interested in (1) developing school-based interventions that are easy to implement, contextually relevant, and culturally responsive; and (2) improving the implementation of contextually relevant, culturally responsive EBTs in schools. Dr. Brewer was awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (F32) to better understand what modifications are made to EBTs in real-world practice contexts, thereby allowing for future projects to optimize the implementation of EBTs in accessible service settings such as schools.


Affiliate Appointment

Mylien Duong, PhD

Mylien Duong is a child clinical psychologist by training. With support from the Institute of Education Sciences, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and private foundations, her research focuses on developing and evaluating interventions that promote social-emotional and academic success and prevent and treat mental health problems. She believes that every child deserves the opportunity to excel and thrive, and that access to opportunity should not be determined at birth. Her aim is to develop empirically-supported interventions that are responsive to the needs of ethnic and economic minority youth. Even the most effective interventions cannot benefit children and adolescents if they are not implemented. She aims to develop interventions that are brief, that fit within the routines and rituals of schools, and that can be delivered by personnel without specialized mental health training

Kelly Whitaker

Kelly Whitaker, PhD was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the School Mental Health Assessment, Research, & Training (SMART) Center at the University of Washington. Dr. Whitaker's whose program of research in child and adolescent behavioral health focuses on developing, implementing, and evaluating integrated behavioral health interventions. Through three overarching areas of research: intervention, implementation, and prevention research my work is focused on the following three specific topics: (1) investigation of disparities in access and utilization of school health and behavioral health services; (2) multi-level factors related to implementation and effectiveness of school-based health and behavioral health interventions; and (3) protective factors related to suicide prevention for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) adolescents.

Clayton Cook

Clayton Cook, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota. He believes that schools are the ideal setting to orchestrate and deliver a range of services that prevent, identify and/or treat social, emotional, and behavioral problems that serve as barriers to academic and life success. His specialty within school-based mental health is investigating practices that facilitate the implementation of a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS). His research focuses on helping practitioners (teachers, administrators, mental health providers) improve the delivery of school-based services to youth in schools, as demonstrated by a range of improved outcomes, including gains in academic achievement, improvements in social-emotional functioning, reductions in punitive disciplinary practices, and remediation of disparities for minority youth. Currently, funding from several agencies (Institute of Education Sciences, National Institute of Justice, and ) supports his research to investigate a range of topics, including (a) development of measures of the organizational context of schools that impact the uptake and use of evidence-based practices, (b) the impact of a strength-based intervention for middle school students who are at risk to engage in school violence, (c) conducting root cause analyses to develop specific plans to remediate African American male disproportionality, and (d) tailoring interventions to enhance the precision and effectiveness of interventions. 

Ann Vander Stoep

Ann Vander Stoep, Ph.D., is a child psychiatric epidemiologist with a joint faculty appointment as an Associate Professor in the University of Washington, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Department of Epidemiology and an adjunct appointment in the Department of Global Health. Dr. Vander Stoep is co-director of the Developmental Pathways Research Program.  The centerpiece of DPRP is a longitudinal epidemiological study of depression and co-occurring disruptive behavior problems in 520 young people.  The Developmental Pathways Project has 8 waves of data that span the developmental period from early adolescence to young adulthood. She also collaborates with clinician/faculty members to develop, implement and evaluate innovative school and community-based child mental health programs. Over the past five years, she has designed and executed a series of workshops in mental health research methods, grant writing and publication writing with faculty and trainees at the University of Nairobi in Kenya.  Dr. Vander Stoep teaches epidemiological methods applied to issues in public mental health in the Department of Epidemiology and quantitative research methods in the Community-Oriented Public Health Practice Program.  She mentors masters and doctoral students, post-doctoral fellows, and junior faculty who have an interest in child mental health research.

Molly Adrian

Dr. Adrian is a clinical child psychologist focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying risk for self-injurious behaviors. She is particularly interested in augmenting adolescents’ emotion regulation competencies in service of preventing mental health problems generally, and self-injurious behaviors specifically. Dr. Adrian’s school-based research includes adapting dialectical behavior therapy skills components to be incorporated into 9th grade health classes, and improving school based screening for student safety by aggregating student-generated social media data, applying machine learning strategies to predict risk for acute safety events.  Her current work is supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Seattle Children’s Guild Foundation, and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. 

Elizabeth Sanders

Dr. Sanders' teaching and research interests are focused on appropriate use of statistical methods in educational research, with greatest emphasis on research using experimental design. Both her teaching and research are greatly informed by questions that arise from collaborations with other researchers. She has partnered with multidisciplinary research teams across a host of study designs and an array of content areas. Study designs have ranged from small correlational studies using surveys as outcomes to full-scale curriculum efficacy trials across large numbers of schools. Project content areas have included literacy acquisition and interventions (L1 and L2 learners, and children with cognitive disabilities); school and classroom behavior interventions; cognition and social outcomes for children with disabilities; and connections between teacher knowledge/beliefs and their students’ outcomes (e.g., elementary literacy curricula, high school science and math curricula, and engineering education).

Kelly Thompson, MSW – Director of Research Projects

(current projects: EDGE, ACCESS, TAC)

Kelly is a clinical social worker with a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan. Kelly has been involved in school based research since 2001 after a practice in community mental health. She teaches practice skills to social work students at Seattle University and is primarily interested in the effective delivery of intervention and supervision and implementation that seeks to bridge the research to practice gap in mental health.

Jodie Buntain-Ricklefs, MPH, MSW - Research Lead

Managing Director of Community Outreach

(current projects: EDGE, RELATE, TAC, ACCESS)

Jodie graduated with an MPH in Maternal and Child Health and Health Services and an MSW in Community and Organizational Services from the University of Washington. Jodie has worked for over 15 years with K-12 schools throughout the US in the areas of research, prevention, and program development. She has provided technical assistance, training and consultation to school teams on a wide range of area working within diverse school communities. Prior to working with schools, Jodie worked in the area of outpatient community mental health.

Jessica Coifman, MPH - Research Lead

Managing Director of Field Operations

(current projects: SEE, BOLT, ASSESS, PREP)

Jessica graduated with a MPH in Social & Behavioral Sciences from the University of Washington. She has worked in an array of positions promoting positive health outcomes and advancing social justice issues in various non-profit, health and academic settings. Over the past 10 years, she has been involved in social and behavioral research studies on such topics as youth suicide prevention, improving HIV medication adherence in homeless populations, and reducing social isolation for LGBTQ older adults.  She is particularly interested in identifying and bolstering support systems for youth at-risk for suicide in their transition from adolescence to young adulthood, and therefore is delighted to be working towards innovations in mental health services implementation in schools.

Chayna Davis, PhD – Research Lead

Managing Director of Data & Analytics

(current projects: BRISC, OASIS, IOA)

Chayna graduated with a PhD in Psychology and a training certificate in Quantitative Behavioral Genetics from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and completed a postdoc in Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. Chayna has over 15 years of experience in scientific research, evaluation, data management and analysis, and has worked in a variety of disciplines including, pharmacogenetic testing, smoking cessation, public health genetics, and biobehavioral nursing. She is excited to be a part of this multi-disciplinary team working towards the development and implementation of evidence-based practices in school based mental health.

Kristine Lee, BA – Project Coordinator 2

(current projects: BRISC, RELATE)

Kristine graduated from the University of San Francisco with a B.A. in Psychology and minor in Child and Youth Studies. With a background in pediatric medicine research and her longstanding passion for the educational system and schools, she is now a Project Coordinator for the BRISC and RELATE research studies. Kristine is interested in better understanding how to successfully implement school-based mental health services within educational settings and how to provide better access to mental health services for marginalized racial/ethnics groups. She aims to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology, focusing on the cultural influences on socio-emotional development in children and adolescents. In her free time, she enjoys reading books and spending time with her family.

Casey Chandler, BA – Project Coordinator 2

(current projects: EDGE, TAC, ASSESS, BRISC)

Casey completed her undergraduate studies at Berkeley and plans to pursue a graduate program in Psychology. She has previously worked at the Social Development Research Group and is interested in a range of research topics in the areas of Cognitive Psychology, Neuroscience, and Anthropology.   

Heather Cook, MA – Project Coordinator

(current projects: BOLT, BRISC)

Heather joins us from the UW College of Education where she received a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Special Education with a focus in Applied Behavior Analysis.  In addition to her research endeavors, Heather has supported families in the greater Seattle area through designing and implementing home programming for children on the Autism spectrum, and plans to pursue an advanced degree in Child Clinical Psychology.

Lillian Nguyen, BS – Project Coordinator

(current projects: RELATE, BRISC)

Lillian is an avid advocate for equity in education and is immersed in collaborative efforts that improve the academic, social, and mental wellbeing of students from marginalized backgrounds. She received her B.S. in Psychology and Liberal Studies from Santa Clara University and hopes to further her education in school/educational psychology by pursuing a PhD. Her research interests include social identity threat, diversity/multiculturalism, belonging, and motivation through community-based research methods.

Elissa Picozzi, BS – Project Coordinator

(current projects: BRISC, OASIS, IOA)

Elissa is currently a Research Assistant at the UW SMART Center. She graduated from Whitman College with a major in Physics-Mathematics and worked as a Coordinator for a bilingual elementary school program. In her free time, Elissa volunteers with the Frye Art Museum Creative Aging Program.

Cara Doolittle, BA – Research Assistant

(current projects: TAC)

Bio forthcoming!

Sharon Kiche, MPH – Research Assistant

(current projects: TAC, PREP, BRISC)

Sharon graduated with a MPH in Global Health and a certificate in Global Health of Women, Adolescents and Children from the University of Washington. Sharon has previously helped provide a continuum of free care involving culturally sensitive and competent community education on HIV, other STIs as well as pregnancy counseling and testing services, cessation of drug use and medical case management. She contributes to a study that is working on implementing Spirometry programs in developing countries. She also supports a number of studies focused on the implementation and dissemination of evidence based mental health treatments for children and adolescents as part of the UW SMART Center.

Erin McRee, BA – Research Assistant

(current projects: BOLT, BRISC, SEE)

Erin recently graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in English. She plans to pursue a graduate degree in Applied Psychology and is interested in research surrounding organizational and social psychology. In her free time, Erin enjoys reading, spending time with friends and family, and paper quilling.