Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research

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Staff Bios

Dani Adams

Dani Adams is a clinical research coordinator working under the supervision of Dr. Rinad Beidas on a variety of projects. She assists with Dr. Beidas’s K23 Grant: Policy to Implementation (P2I) and Philadelphia Alliance for Children’s Trauma Services (PACTS) project. Previous work in psychology has included work as a research coordinator in Dr. Antonio Polo’s Culture and Evidence Based Practice Lab (CEBP) at DePaul University. She was also a summer intern for The Psychotherapy Change Project at The Family Institute at Northwestern University. Dani’s research interests focus on the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based practices in community settings for children and adolescents. Dani is a former resident of Chicago, Illinois and graduated from Roosevelt University in 2014 with a degree in Psychology, as well as a minor in Philosophy and a concentration in Children and Family Studies. In her free time, Dani bikes around her new city.

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Ashley Brightwell

Ashley is a clinical research coordinator at the Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research at the University of Pennsylvania.  Ashley is currently working with Dr. David Mandell and Allison Nahmias on a study that analyzes the outcomes of early intervention on children with autism.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from The Pennsylvania State University and is currently earning her Master’s from Ball State University in applied behavior analysis with a concentration in autism.  Prior to coming to the center, Ashley worked as an ABA instructor in the autism program at The Ivymount School, located just outside of Washington, DC.  In her free time, Ashley enjoys exploring the new city she calls home.

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Sumedha Chhatre, PhD

Sumedha Chhatre, PhD Dr. Chhatre is a health services researcher in the Department of Psychiatry. She has been involved in various health services research projects ranging from mental health, cancer, aging and HIV. She has a proven track record of grants and peer-reviewed publications.  Dr. Chhatre has had primary oversight and responsibility for data management and statistical analysis for many prospective, retrospective and randomized control studies. She is the principal investigator and collaborating investigator on several federally funded grants and have published more than 25 peer reviewed articles.

Dr. Chhatre has extensive experience with the management and analysis of secondary data bases. She is an expert in: (1) Statistical and econometric analysis, cost and cost-effectiveness analysis, patient reported outcomes analysis, methodology and research design, data linkage, report writing, manuscript writing and grant preparation; (b) Design, quality control and management of databases, and (c) restructuring/extracting large databases. She has worked extensively with Medicaid claims data (health, behavioral health and pharmacy claims); Medicare claims data; Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) data; State cancer registries data, State mental health programs consumer and services data   and is an expert in the sue of statistical packages/ software such as SAS, SPSS, Excel and Access.

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Diana Cooney

Diana Cooney specializes in increasing social skills in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). She currently works with Philly AIMS focusing on inclusive practices in the District.

For the past 8 years, Diana has worked in many settings to provide evidence-based treatment to children ages 3 to 21 with ASD and their families. She received her Master of Science degree in Education and Applied Behavior Analysis from Temple University in 2012. After completing her degree, Diana oversaw a therapeutic after-school program and therapeutic summer camp for children with ASD and related disabilities, focusing on increasing social and communication skills and transferring these skills to children's home environments. Diana also has experience working in early intervention and residential services.

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Adam Kahn

Adam KahnAdam is a research assistant who contributes to a variety of projects. He performs data entry, organizes newsletter materials, and provides administrative support. He comes to Penn CMHPSR after eight months volunteering/interning at The Center for Autism Research at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where he primarily performed database entry. He earned his Bachelor’s in Political Science from Arcadia University in 2010. One unique skill of Adam’s is that he’s a good proofreader! He is thrilled to join the CMHPSR team.

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Bridget Keogh

Bridget KeoghBridget Keogh is a Research Coordinator in the Department of Psychiatry’s Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research at the University of Pennsylvania.  Bridget is a Philadelphia area native and studied Biobehavioral Health at Pennsylvania State University.  Prior to coming to Penn, she worked in public health conducting community outreach and health education with children and adults in South and West Philadelphia.  She is interested in preventive medicine and working with underserved populations.  After witnessing firsthand how often mental health is overlooked in these vulnerable populations, Bridget came to the Center eager to learn more about the field of mental health and substance use.  Bridget is a member of Dr. Cynthia Zubritsky’s research team at the Center.  Dr. Zubritsky’s work includes management and organizational issues in behavioral healthcare systems on the state and national level, trauma-informed care implementation, older adults and behavioral health and consumer health issues. 

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Allison Nahmias, MEd, MA

allison_nahmiasAllison is a doctoral student in clinical psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, working under the mentorship of Robert Schultz, PhD. and David Mandell, ScD. She is interested in the development, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based interventions for young children with ASD that are effective and sustainable in community settings. Allison is currently working on a study that investigates the role of preschool early intervention setting in relation to cognitive outcomes for children with autism.

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Elizabeth Noll, PhD

Elizabeth Noll, MSElizabeth Noll is a data analyst in the Department of Psychiatry, Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research at the University of Pennsylvania.  Dr. Noll has twenty years of professional experience coordinating and monitoring data collection and analysis activities for population-based research projects in both university and private research environments.   Her work has involved maintaining, utilizing and integrating large public and private health and mental health survey and services databases to perform descriptive and inferential data analysis for publication and presentation. Dr. Noll also provides consultation to investigators on suitable data elements needed to answer specific research questions of interest. Her research interests include evaluating behavioral health interventions and examining the impact of institutional organization and practices on the health and welfare of persons in the public welfare system.  Dr. Noll received her master’s degree in Sociology from Temple University and her PhD in Social Welfare from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice.


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Rachel Ouellette

Rachel is a research coordinator working under Dr. David Mandell on the Center’s school-based research projects. Rachel recently received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology from Yale University, where she worked as a research assistant at Yale’s Developmental Psychopathology Lab. Rachel is interested in how to best increase the access children, adolescents and their families have to effective mental health services. She is excited to join the CMHPSR team and looks forward to exploring Philadelphia!

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Zinnia Piotrowski, MsED, BCBA

zinnia_pictureZinnia Piotrowski, M.Ed., BCBA is a certified special education teacher and board certified behavior analyst.  Zinnia has a Master's degree in special education from Temple University and graduate certificate in Behavior Analysis from Penn State University. Zinnia has been involved with Philly AIMS since 2008 when she was a teacher in the School District of Philadelphia, and has taught grades K-2 and 6-8. In 2010 Zinnia began working as a behavior analyst for children with autism, providing ABA services with an emphasis on Verbal Behavior programming in home and school settings.

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Erica Reisinger, MSEd

Erica Reisinger, MSEdErica Reisinger has worked for Dr. David Mandell since 2008 and currently manages the Center's portfolio of school-based intervention research projects and consultation contracts. Erica has a Master's of Science Degree in Education from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor's of Science degree from Temple University. She is certified in early childhood and elementary education with a focus on multicultural and urban education. Erica is interested in ways to improve how the family, school, and community work collaboratively to improve opportunities for traditionally underserved populations.  Before joining the Center, Erica was involved in other educational research initiatives with the University of Pennsylvania, St. Joseph's University, and The Free Library of Philadelphia.  

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Kathleen Shea

Kathleen Shea is a research coordinator working under Dr. David Mandell on a variety of projects. She primarily assists studies related to implementing effective practices in community-based mental health settings as well as the impact of mental health legislation on service utilization. Kathleen received her B.A. in anthropology from the University of Delaware, where she worked as a research assistant and program coordinator at the Disaster Research Center. Prior to coming to the Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research, Kathleen was a research assistant at Einstein Medical Center on a project that examined the impact of high-risk preterm births upon the mental health and resilience of mothers living in North Philadelphia. She is currently a master’s student in Penn’s Social Policy program.

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Siyuan (Lisa) Shen, MUSA

Lisa is a data manager providing database support for various projects at the Center. Lisa started as an intern at the Center and officially joined the Center in 2015. She works closely with Dr. Aileen Rothbard and Dr. Elizabeth Noll. She is currently working with both Primary data and Secondary data. She helps with creating, managing the REDCap database, and performing quality assurance checks on administrative data received from external sources. Lisa graduated from PennDesign, University of Pennsylvania in 2014 with a Master Degree of Urban Spatial Analytics. She enjoys exploring Philly restaurants in her spare time.  

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Ming Xie, MS

Ming Xie, MSMing Xie has over 5 years of experience quarrying, cleaning and coding Medicaid and other health claims data. She is currently responsible for cleaning and structuring the state policy, Medicaid, education and county-level data for analysis. She also runs validity checks on data elements and manages the integrity and security of the data for the studies. She received her master's degree in Applied Statistics from Villanova University in 2004.

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