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.

Mylien Duong

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

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.

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.

Affiliate Appointment

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).

SMART Center Research Staff
(From left to right: Ethan Hendrix, Kristine Lee, Kate Benjamin, Shanon Cox, Elissa Picozzi,Jodie Buntain-Ricklefs, Semret Nicodimos, Kelly Thompson, Chayna Davis, Liz Parker, Jessica Coifman, not pictured: Heather Cook, Casey Chandler, Lillian Nguyen)

Kelly Thompson, MSW – Director of Research Projects
(current projects: EDGE, ACCESS)

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, SBIRT, 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.

Semret Nicodimos, PhD – Research Consultant
(current projects: BASIS, BASIS-T, MENDR)

Semret is has a Research Consultant with a joint appointment with the UW SMART Center and the Division of Public Behavioral Health and Justice Policy (pbhjp). She earned her master’s degree in epidemiology in the School of Public Health at UW.  She has over 5 years of experience in evaluation research methodologies for social, educational and behavioral interventions. In addition, she has experience in population-based research in variety of settings including Public Schools, School-Based Mental Health and Family Treatment Courts. She loves working with data and has expertise in managing large-scale and complex datasets as well as conducting high-level analytics.

Liz Parker, PhD, MHS – Data Scientist
(current projects: SEE)

Elizabeth is a social scientist with expertise in quantitative and community-based methods. Dr. Parker received her PhD and MHS in behavioral sciences and health education at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where she also completed her post-doctoral fellowship. Her research focuses on children’s mental health services, child welfare, substance use, and intentional/unintentional injury prevention. Much of her efforts are focused on research methodology and quantitative analyses.

Kate Benjamin, BA – Project Coordinator
(current projects: ASSESS, BRISC)

Kate is both a Project Coordinator at the UW SMART Center and works on a study on Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the UW Psychology Department. Kate's research interests include vulnerabilities to depression and anxiety during childhood, treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, and culturally appropriate adaptations of evidence based therapies. She would like to work with children and use her proficiency in Spanish to work with the Spanish-speaking population. She intends to pursue a PhD in child clinical or counseling psychology.

Shanon Cox, BA – Project Coordinator
(current projects: BASIS, BASIS-T, TAC, AIMS)

Shanon is currently a Project Coordinator at the UW SMART Center, and a graduate student at the University of Washington in the Applied Child and Adolescent Psychology Master's program.  Shanon's primary interest is in the development and implementation of evidence-based practices and interventions, primarily those for school aged children and adolescents suffering from PTSD and other trauma related disorders

Ethan Hendrix, BA – Project Coordinator
(current projects: EDGE, SEE)

Bio coming

Kristine Lee, BA – Project Coordinator
(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 – Research Assistant
(current projects: EDGE, SBIRT, 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 – Research Assistant
(current projects: BOLT, SEE, 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 – Research Assistant
(current projects: RELATE, SBIRT, 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 – Research Assistant
(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.