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Dr. Elizabeth Connors is an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and is the Director of Quality Improvement at the National Center for School Mental Health. She received her Ph.D. in Child-Clinical/Community Psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and is a licensed clinical psychologist in Maryland. She completed her predoctoral psychology internship at the VA Maryland Health Care System/University of Maryland Baltimore Psychology Consortium within the School Mental Health track.
Dr. Connors' work as a Clinical/Community Psychologist is driven by the central principle of improving access to high-quality mental health care for underserved children, adolescents, young adults and their families in critical access points such as schools and primary care settings. As such, she has expertise in implementation science and systematic, rapid-cycle quality improvement methods.
Dr. Connors’ most recent area of research is focused on discovering effective implementation strategies to increase school mental health clinicians’ use of patient data to inform treatment decisions (measurement-based care, MBC) to improve child and adolescent treatment outcomes.
Dr. Connors has presented at national conferences and co-authored manuscripts on a variety of topics including school mental health clinician perspectives on evidence-based treatments and assessment; effective training methods for school-based professionals; the role of nurses, psychiatrists and primary care providers in school mental health; the integration of mental health and education research agendas; expanding access to mental health care opportunities via teleconsultation; and evaluation research on other community-based clinical services such as treatment foster care, psychiatric residential treatment, Wraparound services, and specialty care for transition age youth and young adults.
In her role at the Center for School Mental Health, she also provides training, technical assistance, systematic quality improvement and evaluation supports to school-based clinicians, mental health agencies, school districts and behavioral health systems at local, state and national levels. She serves as the Improvement Advisor for the School Mental Health Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network.
Lyon, A. R., Connors, E., Jensen-Doss, A., Landes, S. J., Lewis, C. C., McLeod, B. D., ... & Weiner, B. J. (2017). Intentional research design in implementation science: implications for the use of nomothetic and idiographic assessment. Translational Behavioral Medicine, 1-14.
Arora, P., Connors, E., George, M., Lyon, A., Benjamin, C., Sander, M., & Weist, M. (2016). Advancing evidence-based assessment in school mental health: Key priorities for an applied research agenda. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 1-14.
Connors, E., Stephan, S., Lever, N., Ereshefsky, S., Mosby, A., & Bohnenkamp, J. (2016). A National Initiative to Advance School Mental Health Performance Measurement in the United States. Advances in School Mental Health Promotion. 9(1), 50-69.
Connors, E. H., Arora, P., Curtis, L., & Stephan, S. H. (2014). Evidence-based assessment in school mental health. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 22(1), 60-73.
Stein, K. F., Connors, E. H., Chambers, K. L., Thomas, C. L., & Stephan, S. H. (2014). Youth, caregiver, and staff perspectives on an initiative to promote success of emerging adults with emotional and behavioral disabilities. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 43(4), 582-596.
Cunningham, D., Connors, E., Lever, N., and Stephan, S. (2013). Providers’ perspectives: Utilizing telepsychiatry in schools. Telemedicine and E-Health, 19(10), 794-799.
Stephan, S. & Connors, E. (2013). School nurses’ perceived prevalence and competence to address student mental health problems. Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, 6(3), 174-188.
Full list of publications: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/browse/collection/51439816
Dr. Connors’ research focuses on the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based practices in service settings where children’s mental health concerns are most likely to be identified and addressed. The three interrelated areas of her research are as follows:
1. Study of methods and best practices to improve large-scale access to care via increasing the capacity of school and primary care settings to effectively identify and address children’s mental health needs within their service systems.
2. Identification and feasible implementation of effective training and workforce development strategies to support individual school mental health clinicians, school nurses, and primary care providers’ use of evidence-based practices.
3. Investigation of pragmatic and effective implementation strategies to promote evidence-based assessment and measurement-based care in schools.
Dr. Connors worked as a school- and community-based mental health clinician in Baltimore City for a number of years and now provides clinical supervision to school-based providers in Baltimore City Public Schools. She has expertise providing all three tiers of mental health services from universal mental health promotion to early intervention and treatment services. She also has clinical experience with children and families in intensive outpatient, community-based outpatient and pediatric hospital settings.