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 300 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. From 2021 to 2022, Dr. Chorpita served as a National Academy of Sciences Committee Member for Accelerating Behavioral Science Through Ontology Development and Use, which involved working to establish a commitment to a shared conceptualization and set of terms and relationships within behavioral science, to help set the stage for improved scientific discovery, evidence retrieval and application (e.g., through clinical knowledge appliances), and automated reasoning.

Academic Staff


Manuel S. Sprung, Ph. D. (he/him/his) is an Associate Project Scientist in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Salzburg (Austria) and completed his postdoctoral training with Professor Richard J. McNally in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. He has since held multiple academic positions at universities in the US, Austria, and Germany. He has published more than 50 scientific papers, many of which focus on youth emotional and behavioural health. He received funding for his research from funding agencies in the US and Austria, including a grant from the National Science Foundation to study the psychological effects of the Hurricane Katrina disaster on young children in Mississippi. His ongoing research is focused on improving the efficiency and quality of assessment and intervention in youth mental health services. He is currently working on an NIMH-funded global initiative for the measurement of anxiety and depression in youth. Outside of work, he enjoys running at the beach, playing tennis, and exploring the LA vegan food scene.

Graduate Students

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.