AIM 2023 Implementation & Equity Grantee: Galen McNeil, PhD

2023 – AIM Implementation & Equity Grant to Dr. Galen McNeil from the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior

Dr. McNeil’s study proposes a pilot randomized-controlled trial of the Youth Intervention for Positive Emotion Enhancement (YIPEE) protocol for treatment-seeking anxious youth and their caregivers. This novel, brief two-session intervention adapts two Buddhist meditation practices, Loving-Kindness and Appreciative Joy, both of which significantly increase positive emotion in adults. Caregivers will be involved to promote socialization of positive emotion after sessions, encourage homework compliance, and facilitate generalizability of skills.


AIM 2023 Implementation & Equity Grantee: Amanda Tamman, PhD

2023 – AIM Implementation & Equity Grant to Dr. Amanda Tamman, from Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr. Tamman’s study aims to investigate how psilocybin affects two measures of genetic aging (GrimAge acceleration and telomere length)  in 18-26 year olds with stress-related disorders over a period of 8 weeks, starting from before the treatment to after the last dose of psilocybin. Her goal is to understand how a critical biomarker related to both physical and mental health problems can be targeted early in adulthood to prevent the development of more serious health issues and premature death.


AIM 2023 Clinical Science Fellow Grantee: Madelaine Abel, PhD

2023 – AIM Clinical Science Fellow Grant to Madelaine Abel, PhD, from the Child Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. 

As an AIM Clinical Science Fellow, Dr. Abel will evaluate the acceptability and efficacy of a single-session, self-guided, online intervention delivered to parents of children ages 5-12-years-old who are on the waitlist for outpatient CBT. The intervention takes 30 minutes to complete and targets parent accommodation, a tendency to facilitate avoidance and enable anxious coping that has been shown to maintain and worse child and anxiety OCD. $50,000


AIM 2023 Clinical Science Fellow Grantee: Sylvanna M. Vargas, PhD, MPH

2023 – AIM Clinical Science Fellow Grant to Sylvanna M. Vargas, PhD, MPH, from the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry.

As an AIM Clinical Science Fellow, Dr. Vargas work to adapt and test an MI training and AI-derived performance feedback tool for teen peer helpers on a chat-based mental health helpline. $50,000


Jerel M. Ezell PhD, MPH

2022 – VioPa (Violence Pathways), a mixed methods research project focused on youth mental health and violence. $10,000

Dr. Jerel Ezell, a professor at Cornell University studying health disparities and social inequality among Black and Latino youth, is leading a study on youth violence in urban centers around the country. With AIM’s support, Ezell will be building a “community action board” of Black and Latino youth in Los Angeles to act as researcher collaborators in his study of youth violence. Similar youth panels are being put together in several cities around the country, with the potential of gathering a large body of data that will help him to tailor preventive interventions to each community’s needs.


AIM 2022 Implementation & Equity Grantee: Evelyn Cho, PhD

2022 – AIM Implementation & Equity Grant to Dr. Evelyn Cho, from Harvard.

Dr. Evelyn Cho is a postdoctoral fellow in the Lab for Youth Mental Health at Harvard University. Her program of research focuses on supporting high quality implementation of evidence-based practices for youths and families receiving mental health care in community settings. Through the iterative redesign and evaluation of mental health treatments and clinician support tools, she aims to make accessible the tools needed to deliver effective mental health treatments for youths and families.   


AIM 2022 Implementation & Equity Grantee: Briana Last, PhD

2022 – AIM Implementation & Equity Grant to Dr. Briana Last, from University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Last’s implementation science project is a community-based, participatory research study that seeks to support clinicians in implementing evidence-based practices. Using mixed methods, she plans to engage youth-serving clinicians in New York State’s public mental health clinics to examine structural and pragmatic barriers to implementing evidence-based practices. Informed by this contextual inquiry, she plans to use a human-centered design approach to develop a session planning tool that will facilitate clinicians’ use of evidence-based practices. Finally, she will use insights from behavioral science to design financial incentives to support clinicians’ use of the session planning tool, enabling clinicians to fully optimize the tool’s benefits. $10,000


AIM 2022 Clinical Science Fellow Grantee: Karolin Krause

2022 – AIM Clinical Science Fellow Grant to Dr. Karolin Krause, from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.

As an AIM Clinical Science Fellow, Dr. Krause will work to addresses urgent knowledge gaps regarding the content validity and interpretability of impairment scales in youth mental health. Her research focuses on strengthening outcome measurement in youth mental health, with a focus on consistency, youth-centeredness, and the assessment of functional impairment. $50,000


AIM 2022 Clinical Science Fellow Grantee: Kunmi Sobowale, M.D. – Mental Illness Prevention/ Early Intervention

2022 – AIM Clinical Science Fellow Grant to Dr. Kunmi Sobowale, from University of California, Los Angeles.

As an AIM Clinical Science Fellow, Dr. Sobowale’s study will use mobile sensing devices (audio recorders, Bluetooth sensors, and a wearable wristband) to assess how postpartum depression affects the mother-child interaction and child development. He aims to elucidate specific modifiable mechanisms by which postpartum depression affects the mother-child interaction, and in turn, how this interaction affects child socioemotional development in the first year of life. $50,000


allcove x AIM Ideas Lab Collaboration Fund

2021 – allcove and AIM Youth Mental Health Collaboration – For a Preliminary Youth-led Needs Assessment in the Salinas Valley

allcove is developing an innovative network of integrated youth mental health centers designed with, by, and for youth that reduce stigma, embrace mental wellness, increase community connection, and provide access to culturally responsive services. One of the locations under consideration for an allcove center is the Salinas Valley of Monterey County.  AIM Youth Mental Health will provide $10,000 in grant funding to support allcove staff with specific focus on the goal of collecting data that can be used by both allcove and the AIM Ideas Lab.

AIM Clinical Science Fellow, Benjamin Johnson

AIM 2021 Clinical Science Fellow Grantee: Benjamin Johnson, M.S. – Suicide Prediction and Prevention in College-Aged Youth

2021 – AIM Clinical Science Fellow Grant to Benjamin Johnson, from Pennsylvania State.

Dr. Johnson’s research combines two aims: 1) apply machine learning to ecological momentary assessment (EMA) data to predict the emergence of self-harm urges and suicidality among young adults; 2) employ a mobile intervention to reduce the likelihood of such behaviors. $50,000

AIM Clinical Science Fellow, Hannah Lawrence

AIM 2021 Clinical Science Fellow Grantee: Hannah Rose Lawrence, PhD – Smartphone Mindfulness Intervention for Anxiety and Depression

2021 – AIM Clinical Science Fellow Grant to postdoctoral research associate, Dr. Hannah Lawrence, from the Treatment and Etiology of Depression in Youth Laboratory at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Lawrence research will test whether a smartphone-delivered mindfulness intervention reduces anxiety and depressive symptoms in adolescents by helping them disengage from repetitive negative thought (RNT). $50,000

Picture of AIM Clinical Science Fellow Grantee, Alex Werntz

AIM 2020 Clinical Science Fellow Grantee: Alexandra Werntz, PhD

2020 – AIM Clinical Science Fellow Grant to postdoctoral research associate, Alexandra Werntz, from the University of Virginia.

Dr. Werntz will develop and evaluate a free, easy-to-access technology-delivered intervention (TDI) for youth anxiety used within the context of formal mentoring programs. $50,000


AIM Funds Eating Disorder Research. “The Ginger Doyel Honorary AIM Grant” – Walter H. Kaye, MD of UCSD (top), and James Lock, MD, Ph.D of Stanford University (bottom): Taking Eating Disorder Treatments Virtual

2020 – Two coordinated telehealth family intervention eating disorder studies at UCSD and Stanford

The study will include two coordinated projects focused on the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary clinical utility of telehealth to deliver family interventions for eating disorders in youth. The UCSD project will focus on multi-family support for patients in treatment. $70,000. The Stanford University project will focus on the online self-help family interventions for patients/families awaiting treatment. $50,000. Both projects will have common outcome measures to assess feasibility, acceptability and clinical change.


AIM Funds Research on Children at High Risk for Developing Serious Mental Illness

Seed funding for a study of innovative treatment that combines computerized brain training exercises resembling popular video games and intensive “talk therapy.” The research is being done by Dr. Barbara Cornblatt, a Professor of Psychiatry and Molecular Medicine and the Director of the Recognition and Prevention (RAP) Program at Hofstra University’s Northwell School of Medicine. $60,000


AIM Funds Research on Frequent Aggressive, Disruptive Behavior in Children

$65,580 Second-Year Science Fellowship award for research into finding effective responses for children with severe irritability and frequent aggressive, disruptive behavior.

The work is being done by Dr. Spencer Evans, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University.


AIM Funds Emory University Research on Eating in the Absence of Hunger Among Youth

$50,417 Clinical Science Fellowship award to support research on eating in the absence of hunger risk among African-American and Latinx youth.

The work is being done by Dr. Joya Hampton-Anderson, a clinical post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Psychology at Emory University. A key element in this research is the role that stress, anxiety, and parental influences play in determining children’s eating behaviors.


AIM Funds UCSF Research on Attention Difficulties with Monterey County Youth at Chartwell School

$45,600 AIM grant. Dr. Adam Gazzaley, an AIM Scientific Advisory Board member and founder of UCSF’s Neuroscape, will conduct a pilot study of a novel, adaptive attention training software, Engage, in adolescents who have difficulties with attention.


Dr. Marc Weintraub, AIM Clinical Science Fellow, UCLA – AIM funded research (2 years): Examining Youth At Risk for Bipolar or Psychotic Disorders

$135,000 grant. Dr. Marc Weintraub will be working with AIM Scientific Advisory Board Member, Dr. David Miklowitz, to examine the emotional and cognitive pathways linked to severe mental illness in adolescents.


Dr. Spencer Evans, AIM Clinical Science Fellow, Harvard – AIM funded research (1 year): Advancing the Assessment and Treatment of Severe Irritability and Mood Dysregulation in Youth

$70,000 grant. Dr. Spencer Evans plans to evaluate the effectiveness of existing assessment tools and treatment strategies for severe irritability as well as exploring novel approaches to personalized assessment and treatment.


Dr. Anjali Sankar, AIM Sullivan Family Clinical Science Fellow, Yale – AIM funded research (1 year): Taking the Lead on a Subset of Analyses to Investigate Potential Predictors of Suicide

$64,000 grant. Working alongside AIM Scientific Advisory Board member, Dr. Hilary Blumberg, Anjali will investigate potential predictors of suicide in youth and strategies to reduce them, with a focus on brain and symptom changes before and after psychotherapeutic and pharmacological interventions.


AIM Sullivan Family Rising Star Award – Kate Fitzgerald, MD: Early Intervention in Clinically Anxious Preschoolers

$250,000 grant for 3 years at University of Michigan. Anxiety disorders start early in life, affecting one in five children, and often set the stage for later depression, substance abuse, and even suicide. Dr. Kate D. Fitzgerald’s AIM Sullivan Family Rising Star Award is funding research to prevent childhood anxiety from worsening by increasing brain capacity for controlling fear.


AIM Rising Star Award – Katie McLaughlin, PhD: Understanding How Stress Causes Anxiety and Depression in Youth

$250,000 grant for 3 years at University of Washington. Dr. McLaughlin used brain imaging and smartphone-enabled technologies to investigate the biology of how stress can lead to anxiety and depression in youth.


AIM disburses $180,000 to UCLA’s Center for Cognitive Neuroscience – Semel Institute

AIM disbursed $180,000 to UCLA’s Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, which studies the brain and neuropsychiatric disorders in children and adults using advanced brain imaging, specifically functional and structural MRI.