ABOUT US

Mission Statement

The goal of the REACH Youth Advisory Board is to uplift teens’ voices and ideas through all stages of clinical research. In doing so, our science will be stronger and more impactful for teens.

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What We Do

This board is a collaborative effort by five early career researchers and clinical psychologists to address limitations of research on adolescent depression and self-injurious thoughts and behaviors.

Teens are the experts in their own experiences. We want to learn from teens with lived experience to inform key pieces of proposed, ongoing, and completed research projects, and how we can ensure this research is accessible to those who may benefit the most (e.g., teens, parents, educators, clinicians).

We are also committed to providing YAB members with opportunities to build research skills and develop leadership qualities for their future goals.

Meet The Team

REACH Lab is led by a collaborative team of clinical psychologists across the country, all deeply invested in improving mental health research and mental health care by integrating youth voices.

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ALEX BETTIS, PH.D.

Dr. Alex Bettis is a licensed clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Bettis’s research aims to identify key mechanisms of efficacious interventions for adolescent mental health in order to improve the current prevention and treatment evidence base. Ultimately, Dr. Bettis seeks to bridge the gap between theoretical research purporting the importance of emotion regulation and clinical experiences of teens who face challenges utilizing these skills in their daily lives.

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KATHRYN FOX, PH.D.

Dr. Kathryn Fox (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Denver, and a licensed clinical psychologist. Dr. Fox completed her PhD at Harvard University in 2019. She is passionate about better understanding and treating suicide and self-harming thoughts and behaviors, especially among teens and LGBTQ+ folks. Toward these goals, she is the director of the Fox Lab, which has run dozens of studies including thousands of teens and young adults since it was created in early 2019. Outside of her job, Kathryn's main hobbies involve baking (aka eating) and exploring mountains in Colorado with her two pups, Moose and Maggie.

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JESSICA L. HAMILTON, PH.D

Dr. Jessica Leigh Hamilton (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Rutgers University- New Brunswick Campus. Dr. Hamilton was awarded her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Temple University. She is the director of The Hamilton Lab at Rutgers. Her research aims to identify and modify risk and protective factors for adolescent suicidal thoughts and behaviors, focused primarily on the role of social media and sleep. The ultimate goal of this work is to inform adolescent suicide prevention programs that are informed by clinical and developmental science, and that are scalable and accessible to diverse populations of youth. 

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HANNAH LAWRENCE, PH.D.

Dr. Hannah Lawrence is a postdoctoral fellow at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Her research examines the role of mental imagery in the etiology and treatment of depression and suicide in youth. She has a particular interest in developing interventions that use mental imagery to help youth get unstuck from unhelpful thinking patterns. She is looking forward to partnering with youth on the board to develop these interventions and to find the best ways to get them into the hands of youth in the very moments and settings in which they need them most. Outside of research Hannah enjoys making mugs in ceramics class, renovating kitchens, and traveling to countries with great whitewater rafting.

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RACHEL VAUGHN-COAXUM, PH.D

Rachel is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Rachel was born and raised in Kansas City, MO and made her way to Pittsburgh by way of the greater Chicago area and Boston, where she received a BA degree in psychology from Northwestern University and a PhD in clinical psychology from Harvard University. The focus of Rachel’s research is to learn how the experience of adversity and stress during childhood impacts cognition and behavior in the context of common therapy-based treatments for depression in adolescents. Rachel’s goal is to identify ways to improve approaches to therapy for depression that take into consideration adolescents’ unique life stressors and experiences. When she is not doing research, Rachel enjoys walking trails with her friends, husband, and her dog Ginny; reading as many novels as she can; and trying to learn how to keep her garden and house plants alive.

Alongside the youth advisory board, we aim to:

(1) design new studies, from inception to dissemination, that are important to members

(2) provide psychoeducation about mental health

(3) provide professional opportunities (e.g., conferences, learning about research)

(4) foster communication and trust with community members and stakeholders