Child FIRST – Focus on Innovation and Redesign in Systems and Treatment


Program Director

 

Bruce F. Chorpita, Ph.D. (he/him/his) is Professor of Psychology and Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles. He received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University at Albany, State University of New York and held a faculty position with the Department of Psychology at the University of Hawaii from 1997 to 2008. From 2001 to 2003, Dr. Chorpita served as the Clinical Director of the Hawaii Department of Health’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division, where he led a reform initiative that doubled the effect size and cost effectiveness of mental health outcomes for all youth served by the state system. He has published more than 280 scientific papers, many of which focus on strategies for improving efficiency and quality in children’s mental health systems, and he is the lead author of the MATCH-ADTC protocol, an evidence-based treatment that outperformed multiple other evidence-based treatments in two randomized effectiveness trials in three different states. His ongoing research is aimed at improving the effectiveness of mental health service systems for children through innovation in mental health treatment design, clinical decision-making, information-delivery models, and service system architecture. He has been awarded more than $25M in research funding, from the National Institute of Mental Health, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, the William T. Grant Foundation, as well as multiple state and county mental health systems, and is a Past President of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. Dr. Chorpita served as the lead developer for the intensive treatment component of PRIDE, a project designed to develop, test, and disseminate effective treatments and training models for lay counselors to address anxiety, depression, and anger problems in adolescents in India. With support from the William T. Grant Foundation, he is the PI for the Reaching Families multisite trial (Becker, Co-PI), an investigation of strategies to improve the use of evidence in supervision and clinical decision making and to improve family engagement in mental health services in low income communities in Los Angeles public schools as well as in multiple counties in rural South Carolina. In 2021, Dr. Chorpita has been serving as a National Academy of Sciences Committee Member for Accelerating Behavioral Science Through Ontology Development and Use, which involves working to establish a committment to a shared conceptualization and set of terms and relationships within behavioral science, which can set the stage for improved scientific discovery, evidence retrieval and applicaiton (e.g., through clinical knowledge appliances), and automated reasoning.

Program Staff

Carolina Lechuga is the lab manager for Child FIRST Lab. She is majoring in Psychology at UCLA and is expected to graduate in 2022. 

Graduate Students

Dana Saifan (she/her/hers) received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2014. She is interested in the implementation of evidence-based mental health services in public systems of care, to address health disparities and to better serve culturally and socioeconomically diverse youth affected by trauma.

Meredith Boyd (she/her/hers) completed her B.A. with Departmental Honors and Neuroscience Certificate at Indiana University in 2015. Following graduation, she worked as the research coordinator for Dr. Cara Lewis’s NIMH funded R01 that compared a standardized versus tailored approach to implementing measurement-based care at 12 clinics in one of the largest community mental health agencies in the country. Meredith’s research interests center on strategies for improving the quality of mental health care received in community mental health settings with recent research projects focused on optimizing clinical supervision. Meredith primarily works on the Reaching Families Study in the Child First Lab. In her free time, Meredith enjoys biking around the city and hiking with her dog.

Sophie Arkin (she/her/hers) received her B.S. in psychology from the University of Georgia in 2013 and her M.A. in psychology from New York University in 2016. She previously worked as a lab manager in the Experimental Therapeutics Division at Columbia University Medical Center, examining social and cognitive deficits in psychotic disorders through neuroimaging and eye-tracking techniques. Her research interests include improving community mental health care systems by examining and targeting broad ecological factors. She is currently carrying out a research project investigating youth treatment engagement in the telehealth context. In her free time, Sophie enjoys doing yoga and going to the local farmer’s market.

Kendra Knudsen (she/her/hers) received her B.S. with honors from UCLA in 2013, majoring in Psychobiology and minoring in Disability Studies. With a background in creativity research and community-based mental health services, Kendra is interested in the role of innovative design in disseminating and implementing mental health protocols within the community.  
Hyun Seon Park (she/her/ers) received her B.S. in Psychology and English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2018. She previously worked as a Research Assistant at Brown University’s Psychosocial Research Program, focusing on the development of psychosocial interventions for inpatient and community populations. Her research interests focus on improving the use of evidence in community-based youth mental health services. She is especially interested in leveraging technology and interdisciplinary approaches to improve clinical decision-making, accessibility of services, and coordination of care for youth. In her free time, she enjoys taking dance classes and exploring bookstores and coffee shops in the LA area.

Kendal Reeder (she/her/hers) received her B.S. in Psychobiology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2018. She previously worked as an Organizational Research Assistant at the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center within the University of California, San Diego Department of Psychiatry. Her research interests center on applying dissemination and implementation science to promote the sustained delivery and accessibility of evidence-based mental health care in community settings. When she is not doing research, she enjoys cooking new recipes, hiking and camping, and enjoying the LA food and coffee scene.

Ben Isenberg (he/him/his) received his B.A. in Psychology from Hamilton College in 2017 and his M.Ed. in Child Studies from Vanderbilt University in 2021. After undergrad, he spent two years coordinating a large-scale implementation and feasibility study at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is interested in the development of user-friendly clinical decision support systems and studying strategies to improve stakeholder buy-in and engagement in community mental health organizations. Outside of work Ben enjoys hiking, playing tennis, watching soccer, and brewing coffee.