Karen W. Linkins, Ph.D. has twenty-five years of strategic planning, technical assistance, and program evaluation experience in the areas of home and community based services, integrated behavioral health, mental health systems and providers, and health interventions for older adults, children, persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations. Dr. Linkins has led more than 50 projects for Federal agencies, states, foundations, and community based organizations and clinics. Prior to her current role as Project Director for the CalMHSA Integrated Behavioral Health Project, she was a Vice President at the Lewin Group, a health and human services policy consulting firm. Dr. Linkins also served as an expert for the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, and was a research faculty member at the University of California, San Francisco where she conducted studies of home and community based service systems and coordinated training in geriatric education in the schools of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and dentistry.
Examples of Dr. Linkins' past projects include designing and conducting several large-scale, complex evaluations, including the national evaluation of the Demonstration to Improve the Direct Service Community Workforce funded by CMS and a statewide evaluation of The California Endowment's Mental Health Initiative, which examined the effectiveness and cultural competence of different mental health treatment approaches integrated into 46 non-traditional mental health settings. She also co-directed the national technical assistance center for the Aging and Disability Resource Centers that are funded by the Administration on Aging in all 50 states. She recently completed an evaluation of an NIMH-funded grant designed to increase the spread and uptake of evidence-based practices among direct service workers in assisted-living facilities and mental health agencies. She also recently completed an evaluation of Minnesota's CMS funded Demonstration to Maintain Independence and Employment, which offered an expanded Medicaid benefit to prevent individuals with serious mental illness from going onto SSDI. Her recent work also has included evaluations of systems change initiatives concerning frequent users of emergency departments, primary care and behavioral health integration, and person centered health homes. Dr. Linkins earned her PhD in Medical Sociology at the University of California, San Francisco and an undergraduate degree from Smith College.
Gary Bess holds two masters’ degrees in social work and applied sociology, and a PhD in social work. For several years he directed free medical clinics in southern California. Since 1991 his consulting firm, Gary Bess Associates (www.garybess.com) has provided needs assessment, program evaluation, and planning services for public and private organizations across the Western United States. In addition to his work for the Tides Center, Dr. Bess served as evaluator for a three-year SAMHSA-funded Circles of Care planning grant for a Native American agency in northern California, ending in 2002. He currently consults with a national evaluation effort overseen by the Circles of Care Evaluation Technical Assistance Center at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. From this experience, he has co-authored two articles in American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research: Journal of the National Center on the life cycle of the evaluation process and on process evaluation among Native American communities. Dr. Bess is also the evaluator for two longitudinal studies in rural Butte County. Other past evaluations include a California Department of Mental Health assessment of supportive housing services, a City of Santa Monica assessment of its Homeless Services Network, and a Mentally Ill Offender Crime Retention Project in Butte County.
Jennifer J. Brya, MA, MPP, Co-Founder and Principal at Desert Vista Consulting, specializes in program evaluation, organizational assessments, and policy analysis. Ms. Brya is a clinician who has worked in direct service and now focuses on program evaluation, measuring program impact at the individual level, as well as the broader organizational and policy levels to improve the conditions of at-risk populations. Her areas of expertise include mental health and substance abuse policy and interventions, integrated behavioral health care, disability and employment policy, juvenile justice, and qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis. She has extensive experience conducting mixed method evaluations in communities and community-based organizations to assess the impact of interventions, data management systems, and policies. In addition to her research expertise, Ms. Brya has clinical experience in psychological assessment, family systems therapy and home and community-based treatment of mental illness and substance addiction. Her experience as a therapist provides important context and perspective for current research and evaluation projects. Ms. Brya earned a MPP at Georgetown University, a MA in Clinical Psychology from the Arizona School of Professional Psychology, and an undergraduate degree from Boston College.
Sheryl Goldberg has a PhD in Sociology from the University of California, San Francisco and Masters in Social Work from Boston University. Over the past 10+ years as a Research Specialist with the Institute for Health & Aging at UCSF, Dr. Goldberg directed numerous projects which evaluated the implementation and effectiveness of programs designed to address the health care, mental health and social service needs of diverse and vulnerable populations. Previously, she conducted applied social and evaluation research with the Bay Area Social Services Consortium and the National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center at the School of Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition, Sheryl has experience as a practitioner working in the public sector and in community-based organizations.
Mandy Johnson is a consultant to the IBHP responsible for policy analysis and strategy. Prior to IBHP she was founding CEO for the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County, representing clinics in federal, state and local policy forums and directing projects that assist member clinics improve quality and access. Having managed a clinic in LA for nearly two decades, she brings a wealth of hands-on clinic experience to the team.
Barbara Demming Lurie, a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude honors grad of OSU, continued her graduate studies in clinical psychology at University of Wisconsin. She spent the next two decades heading a Bureau for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health on weekdays and weekends penning a restaurant review column for a daily newspaper. After a stint as Director of Programs and Research for the Entertainment Industries Council, Inc., she was asked to head the Mental Health Media Partnership, a nonprofit organization sponsored by USC and the University of Pennsylvania to work with the entertainment industry promoting understanding of mental health issues. In addition to her position with IBHP, she works with Vanguard Communications and SAMHSA on the annual Voice Awards to recognize the contributions of the entertainment industry to mental health understanding.
Jim Myers MSW has been has been with Gary Bess Associates since 2001. He oversees evaluations and applied research projects. Mr. Myers' expertise is in quantitative and qualitative assessment. As a macro practice social worker, he is experienced in survey question development, data coordination, data organization and analysis, and development of final reports. Mr. Myers teaches research methods in the School of Social Work at California State University, Chico, and sits on the board of a child care center. He lives in Chico with his son Calloway and wife Kathy.
Mary Rainwater, former Project Director of the Integrated Behavioral Health Project, also served as in-house staff consultant to The California Endowment and as a Program Officer in the Los Angeles Regional Office. While at The California Endowment, Ms. Rainwater focused primarily on implementing The Endowment's statewide $24 Million grant making in the area of mental health. Prior to joining The Endowment, Ms. Rainwater served as the executive director of The Los Angeles Free Clinic for 11 years and also as executive director to The Friends of the Los Angeles Free Clinic, a fundraising board comprised of entertainment industry executives. Before joining The Los Angeles Free Clinic, Ms. Rainwater worked for seven years as a psychiatric social worker for the Los Angeles County, Department of Mental Health. Ms. Rainwater has served on numerous boards and politically appointed commissions. She is a founding member and past President of the Board of Directors of the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County and of the California Primary Care Association, where she served as Vice President and Treasurer of the board. She has won numerous awards and political citations for her dedication to the community including the 1995 St. Ignatius Award from Loyola Marymount University, awarded annually to the outstanding alumni for community service. A resident of Los Angeles, Ms. Rainwater received her bachelor's degree in Psychology from Loyola Marymount University and her master's degree in Social Welfare from UCLA and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.