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David Mandell, ScD
Professor and Director, Penn Center for Mental Health;
Vice Chair for Research, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Dr. Mandell is the Kenneth E. Appel Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. He is trained as a psychiatric epidemiologist and mental health services researcher. The goal of his research is to improve the quality of care individuals with psychiatric and developmental disabilities receive in their communities, with a particular focus on people with autism. This research is of two types. The first examines, at the state and national level, the effects of different strategies to organize, finance and deliver services on service use patterns and outcomes. The second consists of experimental studies designed to determine the best strategies to successfully implement proven-efficacious practices in community settings. Dr. Mandell holds a bachelor of arts in psychology from Columbia University and a doctorate of science from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.


Penn ALACRITY: Transforming Mental Health Care Delivery through Behavioral Economics and Implementation Science

This interdisciplinary center conducts research at the intersection of behavioral economics and implementation science in pursuit of improving mental health service delivery. The center contains three projects that use behavioral economics approaches to implement evidence-based practices. Project 1 leverages decision-making biases to compare ways to incentivize adherence to anti- depressant medications in the first six weeks of treatment among adults newly diagnosed with depression. Project 2 applies normative pressure and social status to increase data collection among community mental health workers treating children with autism. Project 3 explores how behavioral economics can be used to design behavioral-economics based implementation strategies that target administrators whose agencies are using evidence-based practices. The projects are supported by a Methods Core that provides expertise in implementation science, behavioral economics, stakeholder engagement, participatory design, measurement, and associated statistical approaches.

Role: Principal Investigator, with Rinad Beidas and Kevin Volpp
Funder: NIMH
Mechanism: P50

Autism Intervention Research - Behavioral

This multi-site trial (UCLA, University of Rochester, UC Davis, University of Pennsylvania) will test two interventions to improve care among under-resourced families of children with autism. The first will help newly diagnosed children and their families quickly access services. The second will assist children and youth successfully transition from preschool to kindergarten and from middle school to high school by developing tools to connect families, staff from the sending school, and staff from the receiving school.

Role: Site Principal Investigator
Funder: Health Resources and Services Research
Funder: NIH
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RCT of TeachTown in Autism Support Classrooms: Innovation and Exnovation

This study comprises a randomized controlled trial to examine 1) the effectiveness of TeachTown: Basics, one of the only evidence-based computer-assisted intervention (CAI) packages for students with autism; 2) the extent to which teachers implement TeachTown the way it was designed; 3) the effects of its use on other evidence-based practices; and 4) organizational and teacher variables that mediate changes in the use of evidence-based practices when TeachTown is introduced.

Role: Principle Investigator
Funder: National Institute of Mental Health
Mechanism: R01

Role: Site Principal Investigator
Funder: Health Resources and Services Research
Funder: NIH

The Academic-Community Experience: A Postdoctoral Training Fellowship in Implementation Science to Improve Mental Health

This T32 represents a one-of-kind interdisciplinary training program at the intersection of implementation science and mental health at the University of Pennsylvania. The fellowship provides unique opportunities to embed postdoctoral trainees in the settings in which they hope to conduct implementation research. The T32: (1) exposes postdoctoral fellows to foundational and cutting edge didactic training in implementation science and other related disciplines, a monthly seminar on implementation science, and electives as needed; (2) provides mentorship that includes Penn faculty and a leader at a community agency; and (3) embed trainees at a community site to develop and conduct a small implementation project in partnership with stakeholders.

Role: Principal Investigator, with Rinad Beidas
Funder: National Institute of Mental Health

Role: Site Principal Investigator
Funder: Health Resources and Services Research
Funder: NIH