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Research Institute Leadership

Rona Krueger, MSW – Chief Quality & Patient Safety Officer

Rona Krueger, MSW – Chief Quality & Patient Safety Officer

Rona Krueger is the Chief Quality & Patient Safety Officer for Centerstone’s Research Institute. As Chief Quality & Patient Safety Officer, Krueger directs all quality and patient safety programming to ensure compliance and continued process improvement.

Krueger has worked in quality improvement since 2001, previously serving as Vice President of Quality Improvement for Centerstone’s operations in Indiana. Her career has spanned the behavioral health continuum, including work in case management programs for children and adolescents, as well as for adults with severe and persistent mental illness. Her clinical roles included providing therapy to children and families, as well as serving as a program manager for the same population.

Krueger earned a bachelor’s degree from Defiance College and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Cincinnati. She is a member of the Affiliated Service Providers of Indiana (ASPIN) and serves as Chair of the Indiana Council of Community Mental Health’s Quality Improvement Committee. Additionally, Krueger is a CARF Surveyor and is trained in Lean Sigma Six.

Shane Kuhlman, PhD — Chief Psychology Officer

Shane Kuhlman, PhD — Chief Psychology Officer

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.

Laurie Lebo, PhD – Vice President, Operations

Laurie Lebo, PhD – Vice President, Operations

Dr. Laurie Lebo is the Vice President of Operations at Centerstone’s Research Institute. As Vice President of Operations, Dr. Lebo leads day-to-day operations of the Research Institute including financial management and establishing performance management strategies across departments. She also works with Centerstone colleagues to design operational plans and implement strategies for managing a large portfolio of projects, stakeholder engagement and staff development and engagement.

For more than 15 years, Dr. Lebo worked in the research space at Vanderbilt University Medical Center serving in management, compliance, program coordination and supervision, risk management and research leadership. She is responsible for developing the foundational infrastructure of ResearchMatch.org, a national, disease-neutral recruitment registry and leading the Trial Innovation Network, a national academic consortium that develops, implements and evaluates multiple research tools.

Dr. Lebo is a member of the Project Management Institute, the Health Care Compliance Association and the American Health Law Association. She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and earned the Vanderbilt Business Management Certificate from Vanderbilt Owen School of Management.

Dr. Lebo holds a PhD in public health and community health education from the University of Tennessee and a master’s degree in exercise science and health education from the University of Missouri. She has contributed to multiple publications, presentations and research projects including those associated with Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Washington.

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.

Ashley Newton – Chief Executive Officer, Centerstone’s Research Institute

Ashley Newton – Chief Executive Officer, Centerstone’s Research Institute

Ashley Newton is the Chief Executive Officer of Centerstone’s Research Institute. She directs all clinical research and program evaluation activities, as well as quality and patient safety programming to ensure compliance and continued process improvement. She also oversees the implementation of policies and procedures aimed at improving patient care and quality improvement throughout Centerstone, ensures continued survey readiness, and provides direct management to quality leaders.

Additionally, Newton serves as the Executive Director of Centerstone’s federally-certified Patient Safety Organization, which exists for the sole purpose of conducting activities to improve patient safety and quality of care. Newton also chairs the Enterprise Quality Council, a governance group leading system-wide initiatives that directly impact quality, risk management, and patient safety practices. Newton has more than 15 years’ experience in behavioral health service delivery and healthcare leadership, and more than five years’ experience in healthcare research leadership and clinical transformation efforts.

In her previous roles at Centerstone, Newton developed and implemented standards of care intended to improve access for those with complex needs, implemented standardized quality improvement methodologies that align with best practice, introduced technology-based solutions to manage key quality and risk processes, and led efforts for the Centerstone PSO to become federally certified through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). 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 Professional in Patient Safety (CPPS), Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ), certified ACRA-ACC clinical supervisor, Project Management Professional (PMP), Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and has a Design Thinking Certification from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

  • Research Institute Board Members Back to top
  • Raghu Upender, MD, Chair
  • Jonathan Morphett, Immediate Past Chair
  • A John Rose, Vice Chair
  • Carolyn Audet, PhD, Secretary
  • Jennifer Lockman, PhD, CEO
  • Nelson Burns
  • Lisa Campbell
  • Mark Faulkner
  • David Guth
  • Tom Mahler
  • David Melby, PhD
  • Nedda Pollack
  • Robert Vero, PhD

View all Centerstone Board Members

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