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Melanie E. Bennett, PhD

Academic Title:


Primary Appointment:


Administrative Title:

Division Director for the Division of Psychiatric Research Services (DPSR)


737 W. Lombard St., 551

Phone (Primary):

(410) 706-0892

Phone (Secondary):

(410) 706-0929 (lab)


(410) 706-0934

Education and Training

  • BS, Cornell University, Human Development
  • M.S., Rutgers University, Clinical Psychology
  • Ph.D., Rutgers University, Clinical Psychology
  • Psychology Internship (APA-accredited): Department of Psychiatry, Medical College of Pennsylvania, Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute 


My program of research is focused on developing and testing interventions for improving health, treating substance use disorders, and enhancing community engagement and social functioning in individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) at both the early and later stages of illness. My work has focused on both understanding and developing interventions that address the most common and challenging comorbidities associated with SMI - substance use disorders and negative symptoms. Both domains affect a large percentage of individuals with SMI, are associated with poor long-term outcomes, and generally do not respond to current pharmacotherapies. I have extensive experience running treatment trials in both community and VA samples of individuals with substance use disorders and comorbid mental health disorders. I have been a PI, co-PI, or co-I on multiple projects from the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and VA Clinical Science and Rehabilitation Research and Development focused on the development, testing, and implementation of intervention programs to help individuals with mental health disorders reduce or quit smoking, drinking, and use of illegal drugs in community and VA mental health settings. As an educator I seek to further the use of evidence-based, recovery-oriented interventions to improve health and functioning by clinicians in real-world mental health service settings. 

Research/Clinical Keywords

serious mental illness, substance use disorders, community functioning, negative symptoms

Highlighted Publications

Bennett, M.E., Brown, C.H., Li, L., Himelhoch, S., Bellack, A., & Dixon, L. (2015). Smoking cessation in individuals with serious mental illness: Results of a randomized controlled trial of two psychosocial interventions. Journal of Dual Diagnosis, 11(3-4), 161-173. doi: 10.1080/15504263.2015.1104481.

Dixon, L.B., Goldman, H.H., Bennett, M.E., Wang, Y., McNamara, K.A., Mendon, S.J., Goldstein, A.B., Choi, C.J., Lee, R.J., Lieberman, J.A., & Essock, S.M. (2015). Implementing coordinated specialty care for early psychosis: The RAISE Connection Program. Psychiatric Services in Advance, March 16, 2015; doi: 10.1176/ 

Bennett, M.E., Wilson, A.L., Genderson, M., & Saperstein, A.M. (2013). Smoking cessation in people with schizophrenia. Current Drug Abuse Reviews, 6(3), 180-190.

Bennett, M.E., Brown, C.H., Peer, J., Li, L., & Bellack, A.S. (2012). Patterns and predictors of changes in substance use in individuals with schizophrenia and affective disorders. Journal of Dual Diagnosis,8(1), 2-12. NIHMSID: NIHMS362250

Brown, C.H., Bennett, M.E., Lan, L., & Bellack, A.S. (2011). Predictors of initiation and engagement in substance abuse treatment among individuals with co-occurring serious mental illness and substance use disorders. Addictive Behaviors, 36(5), 439-447. PMCID: PMC3046338

Bennett, M.E., Bellack, A.S., Brown, C.H., & DiClemente, C. (2009). Substance dependence and remission in schizophrenia: A comparison of schizophrenia and affective disorders. Addictive Behaviors, 34(10):806-14.