Projects conducted at the Regional Research Institute, School of Social Work, Portland State University are founded on community partnerships that address local, state, national, and international concerns. Consumers, providers, and stakeholders play an important part in all of these activities, and are critical to understanding, interpreting, and disseminating project results. RRI faculty, staff, and community partners are committed to translating learning into practice, such as developing new interventions, working with underserved populations to adapt or create practice-based interventions, developing training programs, giving voice to consumers in advocacy leadership roles, providing consultation and technical assistance to programs and agencies, and convening partners and stakeholders at multiple levels across multiple systems to create or change public policy.

Want to learn more about how we can help you with project design, implementation, analysis, and knowledge dissemination? Contact us »


Autism and Skilled Employment

Funded by Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute (OCTRI)

The goal of this project is to use a community based participatory research and realist evaluation approach to explore employer needs and develop an intervention to improve workplace culture for autistic professionals by engaging supervisors and managers. It builds on our previous research regarding facilitators of successful employment experiences for autistic professionals and their supervisor, and provides pilot data and researcher training for a larger future intervention to improve employment outcomes for autistic professionals.

Principal Investigator: Dora Raymaker


Behavioral Health Integration Project (BHIP)

Funded by HRSA

The Behavioral Health Integration Project (BHIP) is a 4-year federally funded grant project that offers MSW students who have an interest in working with rural and/or medically underserved populations across the lifespan a unique opportunity to learn about behavioral health. BHIP cohort members are immersed in the philosophical approach of integrated health: to promote individual and community health and wellness by integrating behavioral health and primary care. For the purpose of this grant, medically underserved populations are defined as those with social, economic, cultural, and/or linguistic barriers to accessing health care, such as people of color, LGBTQ2S+ folks, low-income populations, houseless populations, immigrants, and refugees.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Ericka Kimball


Enhanced Care for Pregnant and Post -Partum Women

Funded by Addictions Recovery Center (ARC)

This project is conducting a comprehensive evaluation to track outcomes of ARC implementing the NCASW Substance Exposed Infants framework. Southern Oregon suffers under the nationwide opioid crisis, which has had especially devastating effects on pregnant and post-partum women in our community. The overall project goal is to develop and implement comprehensive, evidence-based treatment and recovery support strategies for PPW with substance use disorder (SUD) and/or co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders (COD). Over the course of the grant, time unlimited services will be provided to 105 PPW, their children up to age six, and 115 adult family members.

Principal Investigator: Karen Cellarius

Learn more about Enhanced Care for Pregnant and Post -Partum Women »


Healthy Transitions Oregon (HT)

Funded by OHA and SAMHSA

The Healthy Transitions Oregon project combines evidence-based practices and innovative, empirically-supported approaches as a means of improving well-being and functioning among youth and young adults. The project is working statewide—with special attention to Lane and Douglas Counties—to focus on improving outcomes for young people ages 16–25 who experience serious mental health conditions and who are disconnected from services and supports (i.e., currently not accessing the continuum of care) or at risk of disconnection.

Principal Investigator: Janet Walker


Integrated Behavioral Health Support for OHSU NICU Families

Funded by NW Center of Excellence & K12 in Patient Centered Learning Health Systems Science

This study examines the parenting and behavioral health needs of parents with children hospitalized in the OHSU neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Qualitative interviews will be conducted with NICU parents and NICU stakeholders (e.g., physicians, nurses, social workers) to identify the parenting and behavioral health needs of NICU parents, as well as to explore the individual- and systems-level barriers and potential solutions to integrating behavioral health support within the NICU. Results from this project will enhance healthcare systems' support of NICU families and ultimately improve patient family outcomes.

Principal Investigator: Susanne Klawetter


Investigating Statewide Patterns of Youth Participation in School and Work

Funded by the Institute for Research on Poverty

Recent research has highlighted the importance of the timing and frequency of dropout on later achievement suggesting that patterns of connectedness and disconnectedness during high school may have meaningful impacts on later academic achievements and workforce participation. There is growing concern that high school students with complex or under-examined patterns of engagement with the school system may fall outside the reach of current policies and programs related to dropout or the post-secondary transition. We use 10 years of cross-sector linked administrative data to: (1) Describe the patterns of academic and workforce engagement, disengagement, and reengagement among adolescents and into early adulthood; and (2) Test whether those patterns relate to the odds of future participation in school or the workforce.

Principal Investigator: Mathew Uretsky


Measuring Health, Function, and Social Well-being in Adults on the Autism Spectrum

Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health

People on the autism spectrum experience a “services cliff” when they transition to adulthood, and have poor health and social outcomes over the life course. Thankfully, researchers and service providers are starting to focus more attention on services for autistic adults. However, we can’t tell if these services work unless we know how to accurately measure the outcomes that matter. Our objective is to create and test the AutPROM Toolbox, a complete package of accessible survey instruments that researchers can use to accurately measure the outcomes that are most important to autistic adults. We expect to make the AutPROM Toolbox widely available so that other researchers and services providers can use these survey instruments to evaluate the effectiveness of services for autistic adults.

Principal Investigator: Christina Nicolaidis, MD, MPH

Learn more about the AASPIRE Outcome Measurement Project »


The National Wraparound Initiative (NWI)

Funded by SAMHSA

Since 2004, the National Wraparound Initiative has worked to promote understanding about the components and benefits of care coordination using the Wraparound practice model, and to provide the field with resources and guidance that facilitate high quality and consistent Wraparound implementation.

Principal Investigator: Janet Walker

Learn more about the National Wraparound Initiative »


Northwest MHTTC: Mental Health Technology Transfer Center, Region 10 

Funded by SAMHSA

The Mental Health Technology Transfer Centers are a national network of 10 regional Centers supporting resource development and dissemination, training and technical assistance, and workforce development for the mental health field.  MHTTCs work with systems, organizations, and treatment practitioners involved in the delivery of mental health services to strengthen their capacity to deliver effective evidence-based practices to individuals. PSU collaborates with University of Washington in the Region 10 Center, with PSU’s work focusing on developing the peer support workforce.

Principal Investigator: Janet Walker

Learn more about Northwest MHTTC »


OHA’s Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Intervention & Prevention Initiative

Funded by SAMHSA

This is a process and outcome evaluation of the Oregon Health Authority’s Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Intervention & Prevention Initiative, a project being implemented by OHA’s Injury & Violence Prevention (IVP) Program. The overall project goal is to implement suicide prevention and early intervention strategies for youth, age 10‐24, in schools, educational institutions, juvenile justice systems, substance use programs, mental health programs, foster care systems, and other child and youth‐serving organizations. In GLS Year 1, services were provided in Deschutes, Jackson, Josephine, Umatilla, and Washington counties (Cohort1) by established direct service provider organizations. In June 2020, IVP selected three Cohort 2 direct service provider organizations for funding in grant Years 2‐5 via a competitive request for proposals: Deschutes, Lane, and Multnomah County mental Health Departments.

Principal Investigator: Karen Cellarius

Learn more about OHA’s Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Intervention & Prevention Initiative »


Options CCBHC for Jackson County

Funded by SAMHSA

This is a process and outcome evaluation of the expansion of the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) model to clinics operated by Options for Southern Oregon in Jackson County. The 2nd round of CCBHC funding (CCBHC2.0) from SAMHSA will expand the capacity of the Options CCBHC in Jackson County, Oregon to successfully engage and treat adults and youth (age 14 and above) with mental illness, substance use disorders, serious emotional disturbance, and co‐occurring disorders. Individuals with comorbid physical health concerns and chronic pain as well as members of underserved populations will be prioritized. An estimated 1,084 individuals will receive outreach and screening in year one and 1,086 in year two of the 2nd grant, resulting in a total of 2,170 served during the grant period. Of those, 400 adults and 100 youth will go on to receive evidenced‐based treatment.

Principal Investigator: Karen Cellarius

Learn more about Options CCBHC for Jackson County »


Oregon Voices

Funded by The Ford Family Foundation

This project will elevate and sustain the voices of Oregonians, especially an up-to-date picture of the reality of rural lives and communities. We will better understand the assets of, conditions in, and challenges facing rural Oregonians and their communities. Finally, we hope to promote better statewide (urban and rural) civic and policy dialogue around rural issues.

Principal Investigator: Mary Oschwald


Our Lives Safe and Strong Program

Funded by National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research

The Our Lives Toolkit provides access to a gender-specific web-based abuse awareness/ abuse prevention/ safety planning tools. These tools were successfully field-tested with both women and men with disabilities in Centers for Independent Living (CIL) environments and can be used as an integral component of a larger comprehensive approach to supporting anti-violence work. 

Principal Investigator: Mary Oschwald


Pathways RTC: The Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures

Funded by NIDILRR and SAMHSA

Pathways RTC works to improve the lives of youth and young adults who experience serious mental health conditions. We conduct research and offer training and technical assistance on topics such as: increasing providers’ capacities and competencies for working effectively with youth and young adults; increasing young people’s engagement in mental health and related services; providing effective peer support; integrating non-traditional services and supports into the service array; and implementing developmentally appropriate care coordination models.

Principal Investigator: Janet Walker

Learn more about Pathways RTC »


RISE Support at Outside In

Funded by SAMHSA

This is a process and outcome evaluation of the RISE Support Outpatient Treatment at Outside In.The program is designed to help young adults, age 18‐25, in Portland and Multnomah County, Oregon who are experiencing homelessness and serious mental illness or co‐occurring disorders. Over the five‐year project period, RISE Support will serve a total of 225 unduplicated homeless youth in outpatient treatment and an additional 125 unduplicated youth in treatment engagement services. Services will be time unlimited, however generally last from six to eighteen months .Approximately 120 youth will be receiving services each year.

Principal Investigator: Karen Cellarius

Learn more about RISE Support at Outside In »



Funded by RRICRF

Using data from national surveys of parents reporting on the health and special health care needs of the children and youth in their care, this project will investigate the ways in which parents find a fit between their work and family responsibilities. It will particularly focus on parents providing exceptional care to children and youth who have special health care needs or disabilities and compare their situation to those who provide care to children with typical development.  We will also investigate the health care supports, community resources, and social supports that mitigate the impact of the children’s need for exceptional care.

Principal Investigator: Eileen Brennan

Learn more about Support for Working Caregivers »

Support Network Enhancement Intervention for Foster Youth

Funded by National Institute of Mental Health

Through this project, we are developing and pre-testing a new program model to enhance support and well-being among young people in foster care. We are currently designing an evidence-informed program with an advisory group of professionals and young adults with experience in foster care. The program will be group-based and will focus on increasing youth empowerment and improving coping skills and self-efficacy, including enhancing informal support resources and promoting formal help-seeking as needed. The preliminary program will be shared with 40 young people in foster care in Oregon to gather their initial feedback and recommendations for improvement. We will then collect feedback from 40 Oregon professionals working with this population to inform future implementation and testing. 

Principal Investigator: Jennifer Blakeslee


Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center / Indigenous Project LAUNCH

Funded by SAMHSA 

Indigenous Project Launch aims to promote wellness of young children from birth to eight years old within tribes, territories, and Pacific Island jurisdictions. Focuses include physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of their development, with the end goals being children thriving in safe, supportive environments, and entering school ready to learn and succeed. Evaluation study findings will help to strengthen early childhood systems, prevention, and health-promotion programming offered by the Yellowhawk Tribal Health Clinic located on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indians Reservation (CTUIR). Likewise, findings will provide evidence of the positive impacts on children and families when resources focused on early childhood wellness are strengths-based, culturally reflective, and responsive.   

Principal Investigator: Lindsay Merritt