Skip to main content

Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Celebrating 75 Years! Learn More >>

Systems Research Program


Supports studies on organization, coordination, and collaboration of mental health and related services both within and across care settings in order to improve mental health outcomes and prevent or treat co-occurring substance abuse, physical problems, and other behavioral health disorders. Service sectors of interest include: the criminal justice system, housing and other social services, community support, post-trauma services, and adult autism services. Also relevant are studies to establish the effectiveness of legal mechanisms relevant to persons with mental illness, such as outpatient commitment, community monitoring, and guardianship; and the development of the role and expertise of social workers in mental health research activities.

Areas of Emphasis

  • Studies to address the improvement of functioning and outcomes for both adults and juveniles with mental illness who have contacts with, are detained or incarcerated within, or are on parole or probation from the criminal justice system.
  • Research on organizational structures, cultures, and patterns of communication within and across service and other relevant systems that maximize access, appropriateness of care and improve outcomes for persons with mental illness.
  • Understanding the barriers and facilitators to effective trauma mental health services.
  • Research on the delivery, access, and effectiveness of services for adults with autism.
  • Research on innovative services for co-occurring substance use and mental disorders and elimination of structural barriers that preclude appropriate high quality care.


Susan T. Azrin, Ph.D.
Acting Program Chief