Institute for Translational Research Education in Adolescent Drug Abuse (ITRE)

Mentoring & Service Learning Curriculum

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A unique feature of the Institute is a team mentoring approach. Community partners, academic mentors and the Institute for Translational Research (ITRE) executive committee members work together to guide scholars in the latest science of alcohol and drug abuse prevention, intervention, and sustainability with an added emphasis on translational research and evidence-based practice (EBP).

Academic Mentors

Academic mentors have been identified based on their expertise in adolescent behavioral health, alcohol and drug use, co-occurring substance abuse and mental disorders, and translational research.

View 2019 - 2020 Academic Mentors

Amy Armstrong-Heimsoth, OTD, OTR/L is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Northern Arizona University on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus. She has previous experience with the ITRE as a Cohort 5 Scholar. Amy graduated with a doctoral degree from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in the spring of 2014. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development & Family Studies from the University of Missouri in 1992 and her Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California in 1997.  Amy has 20 years clinical pediatric occupational therapy experience. Her research interests include neurodevelopmental disabilities, influences of trauma on development, empowerment through health literacy, and foster care youth. Amy currently serves as President of the Arizona Occupational Therapy Association. She is also a board member for Opportunity, Community, & Justice for Kids, which serves foster care youth in Arizona.

Julie Baldwin, Ph.D.  is a Regent's Professor at Northern Arizona University's College of Health and Human Services and the Director of the Center for Health Equity Research. Her research has focused on alcohol and drug abuse prevention in youth and young adults, utilizing community-based participatory research approaches, working with underserved and/or marginalized populations (particularly American Indian), and addressing health disparities by developing and implementing culturally competent public health interventions. As an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, she has made a life-long commitment to serving diverse communities and to advocating for health promotion programs for children, adolescents and families.

Donna L. Burton, Ph.D. is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Child and Family Studies, College of Behavioral and Community Sciences at the University of South Florida. Dr. Burton is a faculty member and member of the Institute for Translational Research in Adolescent Behavioral Health’s Executive Committee. Dr. Burton’s areas of research specialization include implementation science and translational research respective to child and adolescent behavioral health and trauma-informed care. She brings to her current position over 25 years of experience in the delivery of drug abuse and mental health services, including specialty services to address co-occurring disorders for adolescents, adults, and families through integrated community-based behavioral health programming. 

Brooke De Heer, Ph.D. is a lecturer in the field of criminology and victimology and previously worked as an Intelligence Analyst for the FBI. She received her B.S. from Northern Arizona University and Ph.D in experimental psychology from the University of Texas at El Paso. Her research to date has primarily focused on issues of gender and power in sexual violence, and inequitable treatment and consideration of vulnerable victims involved in the criminal justice (CJ) system. Two themes that run through her scholarship are 1) the representation of diverse populations as victims of sexual violence and 2) understanding antecedents and responses to gendered violence, including availability of services. She currently teaches courses on violent crime, forensics, and the American court system at NAU.

Amy Green, Ph.D. is an Instructor/Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Child and Family Studies at the University of South Florida. She received her Ph.D. in public health with a concentration in behavioral health from the USF College of Public Health. She also holds a Master’s degree in psychological sciences from James Madison University and a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Stetson University. Dr. Green’s research interests include the provision of support services to promote parent engagement in education and mental health services, caregiver strain and mental health services utilization, and the provision of behavioral health services and supports through faith-based organizations. Dr. Green currently teaches several courses in the Master’s degree program in Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health at USF, including Research and Evaluation, School-Based Behavioral Health Services, and Financing of Children’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Dr. Green previously served as the project coordinator for the Parent Connectors program, a peer-to-peer support program for families of youth with emotional and behavioral disorders, and currently serves as a consultant for a federally-funded randomized-controlled trial examining the effectiveness of the intervention with families of youth receiving special education services. She is also part of the evaluation team for the Florida AWARE project, which is aimed at promoting student mental health and wellness in schools through the provision of mental health services within a multi-tiered system of services and supports.

Bruce Lubotsky Levin, DrPH, MPH is Associate Professor in the Department of Child & Family Studies at the University of South Florida (USF) College of Behavioral & Community Sciences and Associate Professor & Head of the Behavioral Health Concentration at the USF College of Public Health. Dr. Levin is also Co-Principal Investigator and Curriculum Director for the USF Institute for Translational Research Education in Adolescent Drug Abuse.  Dr. Levin currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research. He is Senior Editor of Foundations of Behavioral Health (Springer, In press, Senior Editor of Introduction to Public Health in Pharmacy, Second Edition (Oxford University Press, 2018), Co-Author of Mental Health Informatics (Oxford University Press, 2013), and Senior Editor or Co-Author of seven additional textbooks in public health and behavioral health. His research interests include behavioral health policy, informatics, and translational research in adolescent behavioral health.

Tom Massey, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor and Division Director in the Department of Child and Family Studies, College of Behavioral & Community Sciences at the University of South Florida. Dr. Massey is a Co-Principal Investigator and Evaluation Director at the Institute for Translational Research in Adolescent Behavioral Health and Concentration Director for the Translational Research and Evaluation specialty track in the Masters of Science in Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health program. He specializes in the organization, implementation, and evaluation of mental health services for adolescents in schools and the community. He has expertise in quantitative and qualitative methodology and has conducted research and evaluation projects on the delivery of mental and behavioral health services in K-12, the sustainability of mental health services, and adolescent engagement in effective services. He is the author of Evaluation Human Research Development Programs: A Practical Guide for Public Agencies and numerous publications and book chapters devoted to evaluation in the applied sector.

Tom Massey, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor and Division Director in the Department of Child and Family Studies, College of Behavioral & Community Sciences at the University of South Florida. Dr. Massey is a Co-Principal Investigator and Evaluation Director at the Institute for Translational Research in Adolescent Behavioral Health and Concentration Director for the Translational Research and Evaluation specialty track in the Masters of Science in Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health program. He specializes in the organization, implementation, and evaluation of mental health services for adolescents in schools and the community. He has expertise in quantitative and qualitative methodology and has conducted research and evaluation projects on the delivery of mental and behavioral health services in K-12, the sustainability of mental health services, and adolescent engagement in effective services. He is the author of Evaluation Human Research Development Programs: A Practical Guide for Public Agencies and numerous publications and book chapters devoted to evaluation in the applied sector.

Kathleen Moore, Ph.D. is a Research Professor in the Department of Mental Health, Law, and Policy at the University of South Florida, College of Behavioral and Community Sciences. She currently serves as the Executive Director for the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute (FMHI). For the past 18 years, she has collaborated with community-based agencies on numerous projects at the local, state, and national level focused on substance abuse and mental health. Her emphasis has been on project evaluation, bridging the gap between research and practice, and social policy issues such as co-occurring disorders, homelessness, and jail diversion.

Heather J. Williamson, DrPH is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy and the Center for Health Equity Research at Northern Arizona University. Clinically, she worked for ten years providing occupational therapy services for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). In her role as Associate Executive Director of United Cerebral Palsy of Tampa Bay, she was responsible for overseeing programs providing supports for both children and adults with IDD including early intervention, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, supported employment, supported living, and respite services. Her primary research interests include: addressing health and other disparities experienced by individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD); understanding best practices or policies supporting health equity for individuals with IDD and their family caregivers; and utilizing community-based participatory research methods to increase participation of communities, including the IDD community, in research.

Peer Mentors

Peer mentors are past Scholars who have volunteered to provide support to incoming Scholars as they engage in service-learning activities.

View 2019 - 2020 Peer Mentors


Alexandra Albizu-Jacob – is a Learning and Development Facilitator in the Department of Child and Family Studies at the University of South Florida. She received her Master's degree in public health with a concentration in behavioral health from the USF College of Public Health. She was also among the first cohort of scholars in the Institute for Translational Research Education in Adolescent Behavioral Health, a federally funded state-of-the-art research education program that teaches the practical skills of translational research and implementation science in the field of adolescent behavioral health. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Florida. She previously provided training and technical assistance services to behavioral health agencies across the country as part of a SAMHSA funded initiative designed to improve access to treatment and support services for youth and young adults ages 16-25 that either have, or are at risk of developing, a serious mental health condition. Her research interests include child and adolescent behavioral health, positive family relationships, and the integration of trauma-informed care in health systems. Alexandra strives to utilize her educational background and experiences to positively affect the overall health and well-being of children and families.  

Enya Vroom, M.S. - is a former Institute Scholar and graduate of the Master of Science in Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health program. Currently, she is pursuing a Ph.D. in Behavioral and Community Sciences. Her research interests are rooted in the translation and implementation of evidence-based practices focused on substance use prevention and social and emotional learning among child and adolescent populations.

Jade Heffern – is a doctoral student in the combined Counseling/School Psychology PhD Degree program at Northern Arizona University. She has research experience working on studies involving personality that used the NEO-PI-R, looking at kindergarten readiness factors that are related to third grade achievement outcomes, and she helped conduct a needs assessment for a Native American community agency youth substance abuse prevention program. Her current research interests include personality, acculturation, kindergarten readiness, and Native American youth resiliency. She hopes to become a licensed psychologist working primarily with children and adolescents. She earned her Master of Counseling Degree in August 2017, and she graduated with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from The University of Arizona in 2014.  

Lacey Tucker, MSW, MPH, CPH - will begin the Behavioral and Community Sciences Ph.D. program at the University of South Florida, College of Behavioral and Community Sciences in fall, 2019. Lacey earned her concurrent Master of Social Work and Master of Public Health degree from USF in spring, 2019, and is a former Institute Scholar (Cohort 5). Lacey holds a national certification in public health and has over 10 years of experience working in the field of behavioral health as a clinical provider. Lacey’s research efforts have been primarily focused on program evaluation, child/ adolescent behavioral health, underserved minority groups, and rural translational research. Lacey serves as a Consultant for the Evolution Institute on the East Pasco Academy project, is an Events Coordinator of the Behavioral Health Student Organization at USF, a reviewer for the Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research, and is a Mentor for Cohort 6 Institute Scholars. In the future, Lacey plans to continue her work in implementation science and hopes to influence policy and translate evidence based behavioral health practices to rural communities.

Molly Hahn-Floyd – is an occupational therapist who currently provides home health care in Phoenix, AZ and wants to continue developing her skills as a researcher to then apply in practice. Her current research efforts are focused on the well-being of youth transitioning out of the foster care system. Molly is the recipient of the Outstanding Practice Scholar award from the Department of Occupational Therapy at Northern Arizona University and of the Adelaid Ryerson Smith Endowed Scholarship from the American Occupational Therapy Foundation. She graduated with her doctorate in occupational therapy from Northern Arizona University and her bachelor of science degree in health sciences with an emphasis in sports conditioning and training from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.

Sarah Sheffield – is a prior Hillsborough County Child Protective Investigator/ Trainer and private practice substance abuse clinician who specializes in trauma-related service interventions for transition-age foster care youth as well as first responders. Her past research with Hillsborough County Children Services focused on program development for transition-age youth in residential foster care under the premise of translational research while her current research interests expound on this concept and concentrate on services for first responders. Sarah currently works for the USF Department of Child and Family Studies in the capacity of a graduate teaching associate, completing her PhD in Behavioral and Community Sciences while instructing undergraduates in the field of mental health.

 

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The Institute for Translational Research Education in Adolescent Drug Abuse is supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under award number R25DA031103.