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Research Institute Leadership

Jennifer Lockman, PhD – Chief Executive Officer, Centerstone Jennifer Lockman, PhD – Chief Executive Officer, Centerstone's Research Institute

Dr. Jennifer Lockman is the Chief Executive Officer of Centerstone’s Research Institute. As Chief Executive Officer, Lockman oversees all research and program evaluation activities at Centerstone. She leads the THRIVE Suicide Prevention Lab which focuses on developing and testing novel, brief psychotherapy interventions and developing and testing novel training strategies, two areas of focus for Centerstone’s Zero Suicide Initiative.

Lockman has more than 10 years’ experience in suicide prevention and has been a part of Centerstone since 2007 in several capacities, including Research Associate, Evaluation Associate, Program Evaluator, and Director of Clinical and Transformational Research. She has extensive grant experience, having served as the principal investigator of two Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention Grants and two National Strategies for Suicide Prevention Grants.

Lockman is a member of the Society for Implementation Research Collaboration, American Psychological Association, International Association for Suicide Prevention, and American Association of Suicidology. Her research has been featured in academic journals including the Journal of Counseling Psychology, Journal of Military and Veterans Health, and Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior. She is a recipient of the Military Suicide Research Consortium Travel Award from the Military Suicide Research Consortium as well as the State of Tennessee Governor’s Award for translating suicide research to systems change across juvenile justice centers in the State of Tennessee.

Lockman holds a PhD in Counseling Psychology from Purdue University and two master’s degrees in Psychology and Professional Counseling from Lipscomb University. She served as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow for both the VISN 2 Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention in Canandaigua, New York, and the Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York.

Ashley Newton, MPS, PMP – Chief Operating Officer, Centerstone’s Research Institute Ashley Newton, MPS, PMP – Chief Operating Officer, Centerstone’s Research Institute

Ashley Newton is Chief Operating Officer of Centerstone’s Research Institute. As Chief Operating Officer, Newton provides leadership and management to the executive leadership team for Centerstone’s Research Institute while ensuring operational excellence and positioning the organization for growth. She provides leadership across a range of clinical and operational projects that aim to close the science-to-service gap and that advance Centerstone’s Noble Purpose — delivering care that changes people’s lives. Newton also chairs the Enterprise Quality Council, a governance group leading system-wide initiatives that directly impact quality and risk management practices.

Newton has more than 14 years’ experience in behavioral health service delivery and healthcare leadership, and more than 5 years’ experience in healthcare research leadership and clinical transformation efforts. In her previous roles at Centerstone, Newton developed and implemented models of care intended to improve access to care in rural communities and to address the complex needs of unique populations. Other clinical transformation efforts include integration of research and technology into clinical operations, implementation of clinical and quality metrics to drive value-based care readiness, implementation of change management and continuous quality improvement methodologies, new service line development and growth, and implementation of design thinking methodologies in community behavioral health settings. She also sponsors the Centerstone Women’s Network, an employee resource group that seeks to address the unique challenges women experience in the workplace.

Newton is a member of the Project Management Institute, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, National Alliance for Healthcare Quality, and other various professional organizations.

Newton holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in strategic leadership from Middle Tennessee State University. She is a certified ACRA-ACC clinical supervisor, Project Management Professional (PMP), Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and is a Design Thinking Certification from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Shane Kuhlman, PhD — Chief Psychology Officer, Centerstone Shane Kuhlman, PhD — Chief Psychology Officer, Centerstone's Research Institute

Dr. Shane Kuhlman is the Chief Psychology Officer for Centerstone’s Research Institute.  As an integrated clinical and counseling psychologist by training, his primary role is in reviewing evidence based practices for Centerstone and developing clinical models tailored to fit systems of care.  Additionally, he works closely alongside the Director of Implementation Science and the Director of Clinical Education to identify problems, develop tailored trainings, and implement specialized curricula for disorders, clinical problems, and clinical contexts. He specializes in substance use and clinical/community suicide prevention.

Kuhlman joined Centerstone in 2020 following his postdoctoral fellowship at the Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center. He has a research program rooted in engaging clients in care and managing transitions of care to aid in suicide prevention.  His clinical experience ranges many contexts including crisis, inpatient, SUD residential, community outpatient, and substance use disorder treatment in an innovative inpatient medicine in psychiatry unit at the University of Rochester Medical Center.  Kuhlman has numerous peer-reviewed publications, primarily focused on risk factors for suicide prevention, upstream suicide prevention, substance misuse, and meaning making.  He was the project director and coordinator for two prior grants in suicide prevention.

Kuhlman has a history of advocacy and community involvement in suicide prevention, including campus community based leadership and advocacy, directing campus community walks fundraising for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and walking two 18-mile overnight walks for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in New York City and San Francisco.

Kuhlman earned his PhD in clinical and counseling psychology from the University of South Alabama and his master’s degree in psychology from the University of South Alabama.  Kuhlman completed his undergraduate degree in psychology as well as some of his masters work at The University of West Florida.

Bre Banks, PhD – Director of Clinical Education Bre Banks, PhD – Director of Clinical Education

Dr. Bre Banks is the Director of Clinical Education for Centerstone’s Research Institute. Leveraging her training as a counselor educator, clinical mental health counselor, and researcher, Banks leads a team of clinical education specialists in the “translation of science to service” through development, deployment, and evaluation of novel clinical education and training strategies and products. A core part of her work is in the leadership of the Centerstone Center for Simulation in Behavioral Health, or the “SIM Center,” the nation’s first community-based simulation training center for behavioral health providers.

Banks began her tenure with Centerstone’s Research Institute in 2010 as a Research Associate within the Program Evaluation department. Since then, she has served in research, evaluation, and training roles on federal grants totaling more than $19 million. Her research and clinical expertise lies primarily within suicide prevention and intervention, including the development and implementation of cross-cultural treatment and simulation training for suicide-specific evidence-based psychotherapies. Banks has provided treatment and psychotherapy in a variety of clinical contexts, including inpatient and outpatient community behavioral health centers, schools, and juvenile justice settings. Bre has also held several academic appointments in counseling and counselor education masters and doctoral programs, and currently maintains partnerships with the University of Tennessee, Johns Hopkins University, and Rocky Vista University.

Banks maintains active participation in several professional organizations, including the American Counseling Association, the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, and the American Association of Suicidology, where she is a regular presenter at annual conferences. She is also a member of the International Dialectical Behavior Therapy Strategic Planning Consortium. During her doctoral studies at the University of Tennessee, Banks was selected as a chancellor’s fellow.

Banks earned a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and Supervision from the University of Tennessee, a master’s of arts in clinical mental health counseling from Argosy University, and a bachelor’s of arts from the University of Tennessee.

Mary Claire Leverett, MPH – Director of Clinical Transformation & Quality Mary Claire Leverett, MPH – Director of Clinical Transformation & Quality

Mary Claire Leverett is the Director of Clinical Transformation and Quality for Centerstone’s Research Institute. Leverett leads a team of specially trained individuals who work with multiple stakeholders to improve quality of care and patient outcomes across multiple projects. She leads an interdisciplinary team to facilitate practice transformation through the use of specialized training, communication, collaborative learning, project and change management, workflow re/design, design thinking techniques, lean startup and continuous quality improvement techniques. Leverett works directly with quality improvement and implementation scientists to promote best practices and to advance the clinical integration, adoption, engagement and evaluation of clinical tools, including the use of data related to clinical decision support.

Prior to joining Centerstone in 2016, Leverett worked for a primary care physician’s association in Georgia. She began at Centerstone in a junior position in what was then the Center for Clinical Excellence. Using her knowledge of primary care and care coordination, Leverett helped implement the Centerstone Adult Health Home Model. The Center for Clinical Excellence gradually evolved into the Clinical Transformation and Quality (CTQ) team, the variety of projects the CTQ team works on expanded, and she moved into her current leadership position.

While earning her master’s degree, Leverett developed a passion for older adults and volunteered with her local council on aging to help implement new programs to address food insecurity in the community. She continues to donate and support those efforts through volunteerism.

Leverett received her MPH in health promotion and behavior as well as a certificate in gerontology from the University of Georgia. She also earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Georgia. During her time at Centerstone’s Research Institute, Leverett has also obtained her Certified Associate of Project Management (CAPM) certification and a Green Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

L. James Schut, PhD – Director of Clinical Research L. James Schut, PhD – Director of Clinical Research

Dr. L. James Schut is the Director of Clinical Research at Centerstone’s Research Institute. With training in applied social psychology, program evaluation, mental health services research, and marriage and family therapy, Schut’s primary role is facilitation of clinical research with partnering organizations and scientific experts.  Schut liaises with clinical staff across the Centerstone organization, thereby creating and maintaining organizational research infrastructure.  Additionally, he works alongside other departments to identify, promote, and support collaborative research endeavors.

Previously at Centerstone’s Research Institute from 2006 to 2009, Schut was Senior Program Evaluator of several federally funded program evaluations, including two SAMHSA grants focused on suicide prevention in youth, and served as co-principal investigator (PI) on an enhanced evaluation of gatekeeper training. He currently serves as PI on a contract with Otsuka Pharmaceuticals conducting a randomized trial to evaluate the clinical application of a brief screener for clients with schizophrenia. He is Site PI for a PCORI grant examining the comparative effectiveness of two programs for clients with co-occurring health and mental health concerns. Schut has more than 20 years of varied research experience in topics relevant to clinical education and research in mental health and substance abuse, with a particular interest in measurement-based care and prevention.

Schut rejoined Centerstone’s Research Institute in 2020 following 11 years as associate professor for a CACREP-accredited counselor education program in Nashville, TN.  During his tenure, he taught doctoral level courses in research methodology, measurement, program evaluation, qualitative methods, and dissertation preparation.  He guided over 60 students successfully through the dissertation process.

Schut earned his PhD in applied social psychology from Vanderbilt University and a master’s in marriage and family therapy from Trevecca Nazarene University.  He also completed his bachelor of arts in psychology from Hope College.

Alexis Kirk, PhD – Director of Implementation Science Alexis Kirk, PhD – Director of Implementation Science

Dr. Alexis Kirk is the Director of Implementation Science at Centerstone’s Research Institute where she focuses on building buy-in for change and creating supportive environments for implementing and sustaining change. Kirk works with leaders and teams to assess organizational readiness for change, identify existing organizational strengths and potential barriers to change, set goals and engage in strategic planning, and monitor progress for continuous learning and improvement. She helps teams prepare their systems for change by focusing on leadership skills for managing change, organizational culture and climate, effective workforce development practices (e.g., hiring, training, coaching, and teaming), and building infrastructures (e.g., communication and feedback loops, co-creation processes) to sustain change. Kirk leverages her skills in meeting facilitation, action planning, coaching, teaching, and training to build the competence and confidence of leaders and teams to help them meet their goals.

Prior to joining Centerstone in 2020, Kirk worked as a public health analyst and implementation specialist designing and leading change at the federal, state, and local levels, across a variety of sectors, including healthcare, government, public health, mental health, and the nonprofit sector. She has extensive experience developing and implementing national quality reporting programs for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well as consulting with teams to facilitate statewide scale-ups and pilots of evidence-based programs.

Kirk earned her PhD in health policy and management from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also holds a master’s in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a bachelor of arts in public policy from Duke University.

  • Research Institute Board Members Back to top
  • Jonathan Morphett, Chair
  • David J. Melby, PhD, Immediate Past Chair
  • Dr. Jennifer Bencie, Vice Chair
  • Bob Williams, PhD, Secretary
  • Kevin Norton
  • Jennifer Lockman, PhD, CEO
  • Mark Faulkner
  • Douglas J. Leonard
  • Nedda Pollack
  • A John Rose
  • Dr. Raghu Upender
  • Lisa Campbell
  • Tom Mahler
  • Carolyn Audet, PhD
  • Dr. Nelson Burns
  • Dr. Robert Vero

View all Centerstone Board Members

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