Our Team

Center on Mental Health Services Research and Policy

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Judith A. Cook PhD

  • Professor of Psychiatry
  • Director, Center on Mental Health Services Research and Policy
Dr. Cook is an internationally recognized authority on mental health services research, specifically the study of clinical and rehabilitation outcomes of children and adults receiving community-based care. She directs a federally funded research center along with numerous grants and contracts focused on intervention science, psychiatric epidemiology, and outcomes research. She designs and implements innovative programs to enhance the health and behavioral health of vulnerable populations. She works with federal, state and local authorities on behavioral health service system redesign and alternative financing strategies.

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Lisa A. Razzano PhD, CPRP

  • Associate Professor of Psychiatry, UIC Department of Psychiatry
  • Deputy Director, Center on Mental Health Services Research & Policy
  • Director of Graduate Studies, UIC College of Medicine
  • Director of Research, Thresholds
Lisa A. Razzano, PhD, CPRP is a tenured Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Deputy Director of the Center on Mental Health Services Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), and Director for the James Scholar Program at the UIC College of Medicine. Dr. Razzano is recognized internationally for her funded research and workforce development programs focusing on mental health recovery, physical health co-morbidities, mental health aspects of HIV/AIDS, and community intervention and services research.

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Jessica A. Jonikas MA

  • Associate Director, Center on Mental Health Services Research and Policy
Ms. Jonikas is co-investigator or program director on multiple projects to promote self-determination, recovery, and wellness among adults living with mental illnesses. For over two decades, she has been influential in preparing and mentoring the behavioral health workforce, with a special focus on research translation in public mental health settings.

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Frances Aranda PhD, MPH, MS

  • Senior Research Specialist
  • Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
Frances Aranda, PhD, MPH, MS, completed her PhD in Public Health (Community Health Sciences) in 2010 and a postdoctoral fellowship in 2013. The postdoc was funded through a Diversity Supplement by NIH-National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the University of Illinois, College of Nursing. And Frances has two master’s degrees (in Human Service Administration and in Public Health [gerontology concentration]).

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Beth Bendtsen BFA

  • Intern – Center for Mental Health Services Research & Policy
Beth Bendtsen (they/them) is a second-year Masters in Social Work student, specializing in Macro Social Work. They come to the Center for Mental Health Services Research and Policy after completing an internship in youth programs at Access Living. They currently work in the Arts & Culture Department at Access Living, as well as holding a graduate hourly position in the Department of Disability & Human Development at UIC.  Beth graduated magna cum laude from Columbia College Chicago with their Bachelors in Fine Arts, and has five years’ experience in education and program support.

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Runa Bhaumik PhD

  • Research Assistant Professor
Dr. Runa Bhaumik is a research assistant professor at Biostatistical Research Center, in the Department of Psychiatry. Her research focuses on Longitudinal Data Analysis, Multivariate Statistical analysis, Graph Theory, Natural Language Processing, and applications of Machine Learning Algorithms to Neuroscience and other fields.

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Katherine Boss

  • Research Associate II

Katherine Boss is an epidemiologist who earned her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has worked on a number of studies for the Center involving populations with serious mental illness in Chicago. She has previously experience in rural health disparities, global health, and data analysis.

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Jane K. Burke-Miller PhD

  • Biostatistician / Research Analyst
Dr. Burke-Miller received her degree in Public Health Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and has extensive experience in all phases of the research process including study design and statistical analysis of complex longitudinal, multisite data.

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Claudia Cortez BA

  • Research Associate

Claudia Cortez received her BA in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She currently works as a Research Associate at the Center on Mental Health Services Research and Policy. She has previously assisted in research at the UIC Exercise Psychology Laboratory and the TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health.

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Drew Egli MS

  • Graduate Research Assistant
Drew Egli is a graduate research assistant who primarily works in the field of Disability and Human Development. His love of research has led him over to the Psych Department where he is working on the Career Accounts, Pivot Towards Wellness, and Healthy ReStart research projects. Drew is a PhD Candidate in the Disability Studies program here at UIC. His main research interest is self-determination, more specifically, looking at predictors of self-determination.

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Marie M. Hamilton LCSW, MPH

  • Hourly Research Specialist
Marie Hamilton is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Master’s Degree in Social Work and Public Health. She has 25 years’ experience working in the field of mental health services. For over 15 years, she worked as a Project Manager at the University of Illinois conducting research on peer delivered mental health services, HIV and mental health issues, cultural competency, and co-occurring disabilities. Marie is currently working as a part-time research specialist.

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Sean Johnson MA, CRSS-E

  • Research Specialist / Project Coordinator
Sean is a research specialist and program coordinator for a federally-funded project bringing wellness self-management education to individuals aged 60 and older across Illinois. He previously served as an Employment Recovery Specialist with Thresholds’ SAMHSA IPS Employment Services Program, where he contributed to program development, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based models delivered toward the enhancement of mental health recovery and physical wellness outcomes.  He also serves as a member of the IL DHS/DMH Brand New Day CRSS Statewide Steering Committee.

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DeVon Richardson BS

  • Visiting Research Associate - Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
DeVon Richardson is obtaining a master’s degree in Applied Social Psychology. He has experience working with individuals facing mental health struggles. His past and current research has been broadly centered on examining a variety of factors that inform how stigmatized individuals face and cope with race-related stress in a variety of social contexts. He is committed and passionate about leveraging research to promote positive psychosocial adjustment in the face of adversity.

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Alexandra Rouse MSW

  • Research Assistant
Alexandra Rouse is a Research Assistant at the Center on Mental Health Services Research and Policy. Alex graduated from University of Illinois at Chicago with an MSW and Northwestern University with a BA in Psychology. She has previously worked in geriatric healthcare and pediatric neuropsychology.

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Kimberly Skinner BS

  • Business Manager, Center on Mental Health Services Research and Policy
Kimberly Skinner is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day business operations of the Center, which includes the management of federal/state grants, contracts, and financial reporting. She also coordinates dissemination, training, and educational events for the Center. Ms. Skinner has over 25 years of experience working in higher education administration and research centers.

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Pamela J. Steigman MA

  • Research Director/Senior Research Specialist
  • Center on Mental Health Services Research and Policy
Ms. Steigman serves as the Center’s Research Director. For the past 25 years, she has managed a multitude of federally funded randomized controlled trials and evaluations related to health and wellness, supported employment, financial empowerment and recovery among people with mental health conditions. She also co-manages a large-scale diagnostic assessment of mental health conditions among people living with HIV/AIDS.

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