About Us: It Takes a Team!

We believe in community approaches to health. Our team has focused on teen health, due to the great potential teens have for making decisions that may affect them the rest of their lives. We are particularly interested in preventive public health approaches designed to avoid harm before it happens. We specialize in studying behavioral patterns and in understanding the best ways to support teenagers through decision-making steps. 

McCarty_Richardson 002 Cari McCarty, PhD and Laura Richardson, MD, MPH

Principal Investigators

McCarty_Cari 002Dr. Cari McCarty has been on faculty in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington for the past 13 years, where she has built a research program focused on the interrelationships between emotional and physical health throughout adolescence. This work has included finding innovative ways to identify adolescents who are in need of care, developing interventions to build adolescents’ emotional skills and resilience, and studying how to intervene with adolescents when health behavior issues emerge.

Dr. McCarty has developed intervention curricula for adolescents that address increasing healthy behaviors, goal setting and attainment, engaging in problem-solving, and emotion regulation. She has also trained providers to deliver structured interventions to address various adolescent health/behavioral issues (depression, increasing healthy behaviors, ADHD, post-concussive symptoms). Dr. McCarty’s published papers reach broad audiences in pediatric substance use and addiction, health services, and psychology.

Access Dr. Cari McCarty’s bibliography of published articles here.

Richardson_Laura 001Dr. Laura Richardson is an adolescent medicine specialist and a health services researcher. She provides care for patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital Adolescent Clinic, and studies ways to improve the quality of health care delivery for teens. Her research interests include helping providers screen for risk behaviors in teens; developing practices to improve behavioral health care for teens in primary care; and working with teens, their parents, and health care providers as advisors to her work. Dr. Richardson also has a deep commitment to education and professional development. She has been an official and unofficial mentor to many new investigators and has also held leadership positions in national organizations that educate members about ways to improve teen health.

Access Dr. Laura Richardson’s bibliography of published articles here.

Staff Members

Spielvogle_Heather 001Heather Spielvogle, MSW, PhD
Research Manager
Heather Spielvogle is a research manager and has worked as a mental health practitioner at the Universities of Pittsburgh, Toronto, and Washington.  She is interested in health and mental health services research and is committed to improving service access and use among teens.  She serves as the vice-chair of the King County Mental Health Advisory Board.

Katzman_Kate 001Katherine Katzman, MPH
Clinical Research Associate
Katherine Katzman coordinates the Web-AME study and is a qualitative research specialist with the HAppY team. Katherine has her Master’s in Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She enjoys being involved in community-building activities in Seattle and taking her daughter on urban adventures by bus.

Arghira_Adriana 001Adriana Arghira, BSc
Clinical Research Associate
Adriana graduated from the University of Washington, Bothell where she gained experience providing outreach, advocacy and prevention program planning as a peer health educator. She is currently working on the Check Yourself and Web-AME studies, , merging her passion for research, app-based interventions and adolescent health. Her research interests include mindfulness, psychoneuroimmunology and web-based interventions in health psychology. During her spare time, she enjoys cycling around Seattle and uncovering the beauty of the Pacific Northwest with her hiking boots and camera lens.

Rockers_Elsie 001Elsie Rockers, BSN
Clinical Research Associate
Elsie Rockers graduated from Lamar University with a BS in Nursing. She has worked with adolescents in community development and engagement for over a decade. She has skills and experience working with teens, caregivers, and service providers, to organize and conduct programs and events that provide youth voice and aim to improve the lives of teens. She is currently working on the Check Yourself and Web-AME studies. Outside of her role at SCRI, she is a self-proclaimed news junkie who enjoys cooking, volunteering, and exploring with her husband, daughter, and berne-doodle.

Katie, BA
Clinical Research Assistant
Katie received her BA in Psychology from the University of Washington in 2013. Her interest in research was fostered in college after volunteering at research labs investigating infant cognition and prosocial behaviors. She has also had the opportunity to work with clinicians to track outcomes after implementing evidence-based practices in an outpatient setting. Currently she is working on the Check Yourself and Web-AME studies. She aspires to work in a social work or healthcare setting after graduate school. To practice self care she enjoys cooking, reading, shopping and backpacking.

Elon Gersh, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Elon Gersh received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Melbourne in Australia. He has previously worked as a clinical psychologist across a range of issues including psychosis, mood and anxiety disorders. He is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, contributing to several team projects on adolescent health.

Current Volunteers

Kevin Boček
Research Volunteer
Kevin is a Seattle native and a recent graduate of Lewis and Clark College in Psychology and German Studies. After graduating college, he began working as a youth counselor at temporary housing for homeless and displaced youth. Through this work, he began to be interested in finding ways to help youth advocate for their own health and services. Aside from that, Kevin loves mountains and dinosaurs.


Previous Staff & Volunteers

Matsumiya_Brandon 001Brandon Matsumiya, BA
Clinical Research Associate
Brandon Matsumiya graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in psychology and a minor in sociology. He is currently working on the Check Yourself study as a research assistant and is applying to graduate programs in psychology where he hopes to focus his work on computerization of psychotherapy interventions. In his spare time he enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy novels.

Zieve_Garret 001Garret Zieve, BA
Clinical Research Associate
Garret graduated from the University of Washington in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. His research interests include everything from integrated care to psychotherapy effectiveness to web-based and mobile health applications. When he is not working hard at Seattle Children’s Research Institute Garret enjoys cooking and strength training.

Dianna Luong
2017 Research Volunteer
Dianna is currently a senior at the University of Washington pursuing a degree in Psychology (B.S.). She hopes that upon graduation she will find a career that suits her interests and concerns about the mental health of youth populations. During times of stress, it helps her to play video games, surf the internet, and explore the outdoors of Washington State.

Haylie Kang
2017 Research Volunteer
Haylie is currently an incoming junior at the University of Washington studying Biochemistry/Public Health with an intention of a double major. She has always been a science geek and coming into college got more involved in learning about healthcare. Haylie is super interested in pediatrics and intends to go to medical school to specialize in it or go onto graduate school to get my MPH to do further pediatrics related research.

“Belle” Kwankaew Buchnate
2017 Research Volunteer
Belle is currently a senior at the University of Washington. She is studying psychology B.S. with an intention to go to graduate school in clinical psychology. She is super interested in all areas of clinical psychology, especially abnormal psychology. Her goal after graduating is to be a therapist, and help others with their psychological problems.

Weijing Zhou
2017 Research Volunteer
Weijing is currently a senior at the University of Washington. She is studying Psychology and Drama. She started learning psychology since freshman year and fell in love with it and has since gotten more involved in learning about social and abnormal psychology. She is interested in helping and “studying” others and wants to get more experience personally at related clinical researches.

Anna Unutzer
2017 Research Volunteer
Anna Unutzer is an undergraduate at UW studying towards a B.S. in Public Health and a minor in Geography. She is currently a volunteer on the Check Yourself study and hopes to pursue a Masters in Public Health focusing on female child and adolescent health, epidemiology, and community interventions. In her spare time she enjoys backpacking and participating in triathlons.

Madeline Wick
2016 Undergrad Research VolunteerMadeline Wick
Madeline is scheduled to graduate Pepperdine University April 2017 with a BA in Psychology. There, she has focused her research interests on body image and eating disorders. She is currently working on a project that looks at the effect of Instagram photo editing applications on undergraduate college female’s body dissatisfaction. The project is in the process of IRB approval and data collection will take place this upcoming fall. In addition, she assists with research at Pepperdine looking at how prevalent internalization of the thin-ideal is in preschool children. This fall, she plans to intern at Monte Nido Treatment Facility, an inpatient treatment center for eating disorder patients in Malibu, California. Madelines hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology after graduation from Pepperdine, specializing in the treatment of eating disorders.

81D87D05-792B-4B8A-B5E3-BAE8E0DB80B38DBFDA1C-609D-4B0A-909B-8FC0CE7F69E7Saniya Mazmanova
2016 Undergrad Research Volunteer
Saniya Mazmanova is taking classes toward a BS in Informatics at the University of Washington. She is also interested in Economics. Saniya wants to combine her passion for technology and interest for economics to find a pathway in her career life.

Chelsea Harris
2016 Research Volunteer
Chelsea graduated in 2013 from UW with a BA in psychology and a minor is LSJ. Currently, she is working at the King County Bar Association where she helps coordinate continuing legal education classes, volunteer events, and membership drives.  She is really interested in applied psychology research especially related to at-risk youth and was drawn to the Check Yourself project, because it’s a tool that could really benefit children who might be headed down a dangerous path and need intervention. “This is a low cost and (hopefully effective) way of doing that.” She has previously worked with Treehouse for Kids, tutoring foster kids in middle school, and with the King County Juvenile Detention, helping in the detention’s math class and helping supervise a special girls program. Chelsea hopes to soak up as much knowledge as she can about how a research project works and apply to an interdisciplinary program that combines the social psychology of health with law and justice.

img_6016cropProject Advisory Board

Our Project Advisory Board (PAB) is a diverse group of youth, parents, and pediatricians who are committed to improving teen health, and includes teens themselves. The Board gives our research team a wide range of insights and perspectives. They meet regularly with the study team to review projects and ideas and to offer suggestions for improvements and new areas of innovation.

Dream Team 001_cropped