Centerstone Research Institute to Present at 2012 Georgetown Training Institutes Conference

Senior Program Evaluator Dr. Heather Wallace to address how integrated systems of care can improve delivery of children’s mental health services

Nashville, Tenn.—Centerstone Research Institute (CRI), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving behavioral healthcare through research and information technology, today announced that Dr. Heather Wallace, Senior Program Evaluator, is a presenter at the Georgetown Training Institutes biennial conference, which is being held today through July 29, 2012, in Orlando, Fla. The conference brings together leading behavioral healthcare experts to explore improving mental health services for children and adolescents with or at risk for mental health challenges and their families.

Dr. Wallace is serving as a panelist in a “Targeted Institute” workshop titled, “Theory-Driven Evaluation: Quality Improvement and System Sustainability,” that will explore how communities successfully incorporate theory-driven evaluation into their system of care implementation efforts. It also will look at how ideas about systems can be translated into tangible action-oriented strategies for achieving their goals. Drawing from her experience with the K-Town Youth Empowerment Network in Knoxville, Tenn., Dr. Wallace will provide specific examples about how this theoretical exercise translates to real-world practice in behavioral healthcare.

The Targeted Institute, which will be held Sunday, July 28, will be moderated by Sharon Hodges, Ph.D., M.B.A., Research Associate Professor and Division Director at the Department of Child and Family Studies at University of South Florida. Other panelists include Bonnie Brandt, M.A., Training Associate at the Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service at University of Guam CEDDERS, and Sheryl Schrepf, Senior Evaluator/Trainer and System of Care Expansion Coach at The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health.

In addition, Dr. Wallace will join Dr. Sarah Suiter, Senior Program Evaluator at Centerstone Research Institute, and Dr. Greg Washington, Evaluator of Just Care at University of Memphis, for a poster presentation, “We’re Here! Can You Hear Us? Introducing an Innovative Evaluation Technique to Assess Family Voice and Interagency Collaboration.” This poster focuses on an innovative evaluation technique called the “Conversation Matrix” that helps to assess family voice and interagency collaboration in systems of care. This ground-breaking observational tool has been used to assess and report observed integration of family and community voice, helping to remedy past insufficient methods to assess “true participation” by community members who engage with research initiatives.

Dr. Wallace received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Child and Family Studies from the University of Tennessee. Prior to joining CRI, she designed evaluations for statewide child abuse prevention programs and engaged in a variety of research topics, including how maternal stress relates to fetal heart rate during pregnancy; physiological self-regulation and information processing during infancy; the parent-child relationship in low-income families; and the state of parent education in Tennessee. Dr. Wallace utilizes a Developmental Evaluation approach in her work as an embedded evaluator with System of Care communities, believing that working in collaboration with program staff and community stakeholders benefits all.

Some of Dr. Wallace’s achievements include being honored as an emerging scholar by the National Council on Family Relations (2010), receiving the Eloise and George Eckler Graduate Fellowship (2008) and earning an Innovative Technology Center grant (2008). Dr. Wallace is a member of the American Evaluation Association, National Council on Family Relations, and Society for Research in Child Development. She also serves on the board for the Knoxville Leadership Foundation and the Knoxville/Knox County Head Start Education Advisory Board.

Dr. Sarah Suiter received her Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in Community, Research & Action, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Religion, Spirituality & Health at Duke University Medical Center. Her major research interests include mental health services research, processes of meaning making in the illness experience, and the role of community (broadly and critically conceived) in providing a context for healing. Dr. Suiter has conducted research in and with communities in the U.S., Ecuador and Argentina. Her first book, “A Place about Mercy,” is an ethnography of a recovery community for women with histories of abuse, addiction, and involvement in street-based sex work, and was published by Vanderbilt University Press in 2012.

About Centerstone Research Institute
Centerstone Research Institute (CRI) is a unique not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving mental healthcare through research, information technology and clinical informatics. CRI conducts service and clinical studies and partners with leading research institutions to advance knowledge of mental health and addiction disorders and discover innovative treatments. The organization maintains an Institutional Review Board and manages the Knowledge Network, a technology-based, partner-driven alliance to facilitate the translation of research to practice. CRI also offers Behavioral Pathway Systems, a best practices benchmarking service. CRI is a recipient of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare’s Innovation Award, the Best Practices Award by The Data Warehousing Institute, and the SAMHSA Science and Service Award. For more information about CRI, please visit www.centerstoneresearch.org.