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

Program Director

Bruce F. Chorpita, Ph.D. 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, based on his decades of work distilling the evidence base for children’s mental health, Dr. Chorpita was invited by the National Academy of Sciences to serve as a Committee Member for Accelerating Behavioral Science Through Ontology Development and Use.

Click here for Dr. Chorpita’s LinkedIn page:

Program Staff

Kaitlyn Pham lab manager for Child FIRST Lab. She is majoring in Psychology at UCLA with a minor in Cognitive Science and is expected to graduate in 2021. She is interested in how barriers to treatment affect different treatment groups.

Graduate Students

Jennifer Gamarra received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania 2012. She is interested in the implementation of evidence-based treatments for youth in large-scale community mental health systems, as well as behavioral health literacy in low-income populations.

Resham Gellatly received her B.A. in Psychology from Boston University in 2010. Resham’s research focuses on increasing access to mental health services for under-served youth and families through the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based practices. She is especially interested in working with community stakeholders to understand how treatment adaptations can address issues of cultural fit for ethnically diverse populations.

Jonathan Westman received his B.A. in Psychology and History from Cornell University in 2013. He is interested in supervision strategies for developing and maintaining a strong direct provider workforce in community settings. His current projects focus on measurement of such supervisory strategies.

Dana Saifan 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 received her B.A. in Psychology from Indiana University in 2015. She is interested in strategies for increasing the effectiveness of community mental health organizations in improving client outcomes.

Sophie Arkin 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 is interested in community mental health for children and currently launching a project investigating treatment engagement in a telehealth context.

Kendra Knudsen 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 received her B.S. in Psychology and English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2018. She is interested in the implementation and dissemination of evidence-based practices for youth in community settings. She is especially interested in utilizing technology to improve accessibility and coordination of care for youth across levels of care.

Kendal Reeder received her B.S. in Psychobiology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2018. 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.