Co-Director of the National Center for School Mental Health
Associate Professor, Co-Director - Center for School Mental Health, Executive Director - University of Maryland School Mental Health Program, Associate Director VA/UMB Psychology Internship Consortium
737 W. Lombard, 499
Education and Training
- Dartmouth College, BA, Psychology, 1991
- Temple University, MA, Clinical Psychology, 1994
- University of Maryland Medical System, Psychology Internship, 1996
- Temple University, Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, 1997
- University of Maryland School of Medicine, Center for School Mental Health, Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1998
Dr. Lever is a clinical psychologist who has dedicated her career to advancing high quality and sustainable school mental health efforts. She has extensive clinical, research, policy, and training experience related to advancing comprehensive school mental health systems and is a recognized leader in the school mental health field. Dr. Lever has over 20 years of experience providing and leading school mental health services and programming efforts at the local, state, and national levels. She serves as the Executive Director of the University of Maryland School Mental Health Program, a long-standing and exemplar community-partnered school mental health program in Baltimore City. In her role as the Co-Director of the Center for School Mental Health, she is working at local, state, and national levels to advance research, training, policy, and practice in school behavioral health. In particular, she has worked with schools, districts and states to focus on building multi-tiered systems of behavioral health supports that have family-school-community partnerships as a foundation. She has extensive experience and leadership in advancing high quality and sustainable school mental health services and programming including serving as a leader for the National Quality Initiative on School Based Health Services. She has led large scale federal and state funded workforce development and mental health training related efforts for interdisciplinary stakeholders, including educators, health and mental health professionals, administrators, advocates, community providers, and policymakers. Since October 2014, Dr. Lever has been engaged as a Resource Specialist with the National Resource Center on Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention and since 2016 has supported technical assistance and resource development related to mental health in schools for the National Center on Safe and Supportive Learning Environments.
School Mental Health, Comprehensive School Mental Health Systems, Quality, Sustainability, Workforce Development, Trauma-Informed Care, Dropout Prevention, Family Engagement, Workforce Development
Weist, M.D., Evans, S.W., & Lever, N. (2003). Handbook of school mental health: Advancing practice and research. New York, NY: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.
Lever, N. A., Chambers, K. L., Stephan, S. H., Page, M. J., & Ghunney, A. (2010). National survey on expanded school mental health services. Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, 3(4), 38-50.
Weist, M.D., Lever, N.A., Bradshaw, C.P., & Owens, J.S. (2014). Handbook of school mental health: Research, training, practice, and policy (2nd Edition). New York: Springer.
Lever, N., Stephan, S., Castle, M., Bernstein, L., Connors, E., Sharma, R. & Blizzard, A. (2015, January). Community-Partnered School Behavioral Health: State of the Field in Maryland. Baltimore, MD: Center for School Mental Health.
Lever, N., Mathis, E., Mayworm, A., Hoover Stephan, S. (2017).0School Mental Health Is Not Just for Students: Why Teacher and School Staff Wellness Matters. Report on Emotional Behavioral Disorders in Youth, 17 (1), 6-12.
Grady, B., Lever, N., Cunningham, D., Stephan, S. (2011). Telepsychiatry and school mental health. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 20(1), 81-94.
Stephan, S., Sugai, G., Lever, N. & Connors, E. (2015). Strategies for Integrating Mental Health into Schools via a Multi-tiered System of Support. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 24(2), 211-231.
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. Doi: 10.1080/1754730X.2015.1123639
Stephan, S., Lever, N., Bernstein, L., Edwards, S., & Pruitt, D. (2016). Telemental health in schools. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 26(3), 266-272. doi: 10.1089/cap.2015.0019
Weist, M. D., Flaherty, L., Lever, N., Hoover Stephan, S., Van Eck, K., & Bode, A. (2017). The History and Future of School Mental Health. In J. R. Harrison, B. K. Schultz & S. W. Evans (Eds.), School Mental Health Services for Adolescents. New York: Oxford University Press.
My early research addressed the value of school mental health as a construct to improve access to mental health services for children and adolescents. Consideration was given to satisfaction with services, youth and family perspectives on quality service provision, clinician perspectives on training needed to be successful in school mental health, and the impact of school mental health service provision on high risk populations. Findings indicated that school mental health offered a framework that allowed for increased access to mental health services for youth and families. Satisfaction with school mental health service provision was high, indicating appreciation of a reduction of barriers to care and the importance of addressing barriers to learning in schools through strong family-school-community partnerships. In recent years, I have focused on research related to integrating education and mental health service provision working to understand the larger census of school mental health and quality and sustainability performance indicators that are needed to sustain high quality school mental health service provision. I have also continued to workforce development related to mental health identification, referral, and treatment in schools, identifying core training needs and strategies for advancing pre-service training and professional development. In addition, I have worked with other faculty and colleagues to articulate and study what is meant by quality service provision in school mental health, developing a measure, the School Mental Health Quality Assessment Questionnaire a tool designed to help assess quality in school mental health. I also have been studying the sustainability of school mental health service provision, identifying effective strategies related to financing school mental services.
My work as a clinical psychologist has focused on providing school-based services to children, adolescents, and their famiies. School mental health includes a full continuum of care from mental health promotion, to prevention to more intensive intervention as well as clinial assessment and consultation. As a provider and a supervisor, I have aimed to promote the use of evidence-based programs and practices across multi-tiered systems of support.
Dartmouth College: Phi Beta Kappa, 1991
Dartmouth College: Senior Scholar Award and Departmental Distinction 1991
Dartmouth College: Community Service Award, 1991
Temple University: Four-year Graduate Assistantship and Tuition Award, 1991-1995
Temple University: Faculty Letters of Commendation, 1993 and 1994
National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Award for Clinical Research, 2004-2006
Southern H.S. Certificate of Recognition for Dedication and Commitment to Students, 2005
Baltimore CityMayoral Citation for Contribution to Civic Welfare of Municipality, 2006
Partner Recognition Award, Baltimore Community School Initiative, 2007
Paula U. Hamburger Children’s Mental Health Champion Award, Mental Health Association of MD, 2016
Lever (PI), Connors (Co-PI) 10/01/2016-9/30/2018
Baltimore City Public Schools
Promoting Student Resiliency, Funded by the United States Department of Education
The major goal of this project is to promote student resiliency in schools and communities impacted by civil unrest.
The University serves as the lead evaluator for the project.
Lever (PI) 7/01/2007- 6/20/2018
Behavioral Health System of Baltimore and Baltimore City Public Schools
Expanded School Mental Health in Baltimore City Public Schools
The major goal of this project is to provide high quality, evidence-based prevention and intervention services to youth in 27 public schools in Baltimore City
Stephan/Lever (Co-PI) 11/7/2013-9/30/2017
American Institutes for Research/SAMHSA
National Resource Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention
The major goal of this project is to provide technical assistance to Safe Schools Healthy
Students state grantees.
Stephan/Lever (Co-PI) 9/1/2014-8/31/2018
School-Based Health Alliance/HRSA
Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Networks on School-Based Health Services (CoIIN-SBHS)
The purpose of this project is to create two Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Networks (CoIINs), one each on quality and
sustainability, to help school-based health centers (SBHCs) and comprehensive school mental health programs (CSMHPs) implement best
practices, policies, and financing strategies that support access to and the expansion of high-quality and sustainable SBHS.
Stephan/Lever (Co-PI) 9/30/2014-9/29/19
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene/SAMHSA
Maryland Suicide Prevention & Early Intervention Network
This project provides suicide prevention training, resources and technical assistance to
advance a comprehensive suicide prevention and early intervention service system for youth
and young adults, ages 10 to 24.
Project AWARE-SEA,Stephan/Lever (Co-PI) 10/1/2014-9/29/19
Maryland State Department of Education/SAMHSA
Now is the Time – Maryland AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education)
The primary goal of this project is to build and expand the capacity of State and Local Educational Agencies to increase awareness of mental
health issues among school-aged youth, provide training for school personnel and other adults, and connect children, youth, and families
with appropriate services
Work with the Center for Infant Study/University of Maryland School Mental Health Program to secure donations of school supplies and materials to better support Baltimore City Public School Students
2001-present Center for School Mental Health-National Conferences for Advancing School Based Mental Health (Planning Committee Chair; 600-1200 attendees/year)
2005-present National Community of Practice on Collaborative School Behavioral Health (Steering Committee, Connecting School Mental Health with Juvenile Justice and Dropout Prevention Practice Group Facilitator)
2006-present National Coordinating Committee on School Health and Safety (Member, 2006-present; Youth Involvement Workgroup, 2007-2012, Planning Committee-2008-2012, Co-Chair 2014-2016).
2007-present Mental Health Education Integration Consortium (Member)
2010-present School Health Interdisciplinary Conference Co-Chair (Member, Coordinator School Mental Health Track; 350-500 attendees per year)
2011-present Maryland School Leadership Team (Co-leader)
2011-present Maryland State School Health Council (Member)
2014-present Baltimore School Climate Committee (Member)
2015-present Executive Committee Multi-tiered Systems of Support (Member)