Real World Research Applications to Contemporary Behavioral Health Care



General Information

Who Should Attend
Anyone working in the behavioral health field; this includes mental health and healthcare professionals, social workers, educators, case workers, community support workers, administrators, volunteers and students.

This conference has been made possible by the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) Outreach Partnership Program. For more information on this program, please visit the website at

Poster Competition

As part of the Real World Applications to Contemporary Behavioral Health Care conference, Burrell Behavioral Health and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) are sponsoring a student research paper competition. Research and review papers related to behavioral health services and treatment are being sought from graduate and undergraduate students to be considered by a panel of expert judges. Based on sufficient submissions, a first and second prize will be awarded for papers from both graduate and undergraduate categories. These winners will be invited to provide a 15-20 minute presentation on their research and findings during the conference.

Cash Awards: The First Place Winners from both graduate and undergraduate categories will receive a prize of $100. The Second Place Winners from each category will receive $50. All winners will receive free registration for the conference.

Americans with Disabilities Act:

If you have special needs addressed by this act, please notify us at least two weeks before this offering so that reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate your needs.
Note: Please bring a sweater or jacket due to variations in temperature and personal preferences.

Workshop Schedule

Details of each workshop below this agenda:

7:30 am – 8:00 am Registration Opens
8:00 am – 9:45 am Morning Workshop
10:00 am – 11:45 am Mid-Morning Workshop
12:00 noon – 1:15 pm Lunch (provided)
12:45 – 1:15 pm Poster Award Presentations
1:15 pm – 3:00 pm Afternoon Workshop
3:15 pm – 5:00 pm Mid-Afternoon Workshop
5:00 pm Adjourn


Advancing Behavioral Health Through Real-World Research: Opportunities and Lessons from CBHO/NIMH Collaboration

Paul Thomlinson, PhD; Matt Underwood, MS, and Sonia Vasdev, MD
Burrell Behavioral Health

8:00 to 9:45 a.m.
Colorado Room

Behavioral health services are becoming an essential component of every health care system. The mission of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is to prevent and cure mental illness. In support of this mission, NIMH provides research opportunities, generates supportive resources, and develops research training programs for providers and other professionals. Organizations providing behavioral health treatment services now recognize the increased need for these resources in implementing quality assurance and improvement processes as a means for improving care. For more than 15 years, Burrell Behavioral Health (BBH) has been engaging in continuous efforts of promoting research, and measuring outcomes and performance through research and QA projects, both internally-derived and supported by NIMH. This session will illustrate how BBH has integrated research and quality assurance processes into the day-to-day operations of the organization in order to reduce the burden of mental illness on community-based services and improve client outcomes. This session will also include discussions about (1) the lessons learned and successes in performing these activities; (2) the potential challenges one may encounter while applying for and conducting research or quality assurance projects; and (3) integrating research findings that are relevant to practice, opportunities and projects significant to Community Behavioral Health Centers (CBHC). A common struggle for researchers and providers alike is in finding sources for funding projects and services. Often further complicating this difficulty are the application processes for many of these funding opportunities. Therefore, it is important to understand the common errors made in writing grants and what NIMH funders want to read. In the end, this conference session will share a few examples of accomplished research projects and walk the audience through how these projects have benefited the institution and the clients.
Specific Goals

Specific Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • Define NIMH funding opportunities and mechanisms;
  • Describe NIMH research results and applications/diffusion of research into clinical practice;
  • Analyze and review the implementation of, and lessons learned from, NIMH clinical research projects; and
  • Describe the history and current operations of a Research and Quality Assurance Department in a large Community Behavioral Health Center, including QA methods that can be applied by organizations or individuals.


Mental Health on the Front Lines

Joe Hulgus, PhD
Missouri State University

10:00 to 11:45 a.m.
Colorado Room

I. What is so? (i.e., What is the current state of mental health need?)
II. Current state of Integration
III. Mental health in primary care: A primer of what to do
IV. Reconceptualization: Mental health as a public health issue

This workshop will (a) take a look at current mental health utilization trends and where/how people are treated, (b) review the state of integration research and practice, (c) explore the best practice recommendations for mental health services in primary care, and (d) examine how consideration of mental health as a public health issue might benefit both research and practice.

Specific Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • Discuss the current trends of mental health service provision, particularly for those with severe and persistent mental illness;
  • List recommended best practice standards for the provision of mental health services in primary care for a variety of mental health conditions;
  • Describe the current state of research in integration; and
  • Explain what is meant by considering mental health as a public health issue.


Lunch and Poster Award Presentation


12:00 to 1:15 p.m.
Iowa Room


From Tasting Tea to Pinning Down Clouds: Best Practices for Modern Researchers


Todd Daniel, PhD
Missouri State University – RSTATS

1:15 to 3:00 p.m.
Colorado Room

This seminar will focus on best practices in research and will provide practical skills for incorporating better quality analyses into your own research, as well as teaching those skills to graduate and undergraduate students. We will begin with the justification for the classical approach to statistics (NHST), explore its limitations, and then introduce a variety of advanced techniques that may be useful in research. We will discuss common pitfalls in research and practical methods to avoid them. We will survey new approaches to research and analysis along with the benefits they offer.

Specific Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • Identify outdated and limited practices in data analysis and discuss why those practices should be avoided;
  • Discuss systemic reasons why poor practices in data analysis have endured and identify ways in which they could employ best practices for themselves and their students;
  • Explain the importance of including effect size and power analysis before beginning research and reporting effect sizes and bootstrapped confidence intervals in publications; and
  • Justify the use of newer statistical analyses such as regression


Implications of Current Behavioral Neuroscience Research for the Treatment of Mental Health Disorders


Estevan Ruiz Limón, PhD
Forest Institute of Professional Psychology

3:15 to 5:00 p.m.
Colorado Room

The brain is, in one way or another, the basis of all behavior. Its role is to process incoming sensory information and formulate an appropriate response; that is, to execute behaviors. As such, a complete understanding of the mechanics of the brain and their role in behavior is necessary to ensure optimal behavioral health. The field of behavioral neuroscience has significantly contributed to our understanding of these mechanics, and current research in the field may have enormous implications for the treatment of mental disorders. This workshop will 1) review some of these current findings, 2) discuss how these findings could enhance current therapeutic approaches and/or serve as the bases of novel therapies, and 3) detail how behavioral health organizations can contribute to this research.

Specific Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • Discuss current behavioral neuroscience research that could have implications for behavioral health;
  • Explain how this research could be used in the treatment of mental disorders; and
  • Describe how behavioral health organizations can contribute to behavioral neuroscience research.


Burrell Behavioral Health is committed to an ongoing process consisting of formal learning activities that (1) are relevant to psychological practice, education and science, (2) enable psychologists to keep pace with emerging issues and technologies, and (3) allow psychologists to maintain, develop, and increase competencies in order to improve services to the public and enhance contributions to the profession.

Burrell is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Burrell maintains responsibility for the program and its content. This one day conference is approved for 7 hours of continuing education. This conference is to be considered an intermediate to advanced level of training.

For questions regarding educational credit please contact Johnelle Ethridge, Education Coordinator at 417-761-5025 or via email at

Accreditation approval only refers to these educational activities and does not imply endorsement of any commercial products by Burrell Behavioral Health or any other participating organization.

Participants will receive statements of credit at the end of the program when all requirements for credit have been met. Satisfactory completion of objectives will occur through program attendance. Therefore contact hours will be given only for hours the participant attends. In order to receive a statement of credit, all participants must sign-in at the registration desk and turn in a completed evaluation form at the end of the program. Continuing education statements will be e-mailed within 30 days to participants who complete and return evaluation forms and sign in on the program roster.


Todd Daniel, PhD

is the Director of the RStats Institute at Missouri State University, where he assists students and faculty with research design, statistical analysis and training related to research and statistics. He holds a Masters in Counseling and a PhD in Organizational Psychology, having researched compassion fatigue among mental health therapists. Daniel’s podcast Great Ideas in Psychology on iTunes U was recently featured in the American Psychological Association’s APA Monitor.


Joseph F. Hulgus, PhD, MPH

is a licensed psychologist and Professor of Family Counseling at Missouri State University in the Department of Counseling, Leadership and Special Education, College of Education. He has more than 30 years experience in mental health research and service provision in both public and private settings. He is the author of a wide array of published professional articles and book chapters. Most recently, Dr. Hulgus has turned his attention to the union of mental health issues as a public health concern and how to promote better mental health by doing so.


Estevan Ruiz Limón, PhD

is a behavioral neuroscientist with a background in the neurophysiological systems underlying pain, addiction, and cognitive function, as well as evolutionary principles and animal behavior. He has conducted research in both academic and industrial settings, and is currently investigating the physiological mechanisms underlying psychopathology as a core faculty member of the Clinical Doctoral Program at the Forest Institute. Dr. Ruiz Limón has a B.A. in Physiological Psychology from the University of California, San Diego, and a Ph.D. in Biopsychology from the Graduate Center City University of New York.


Paul Thomlinson, PhD

is a licensed psychologist with specialties in organizational, clinical, and experimental psychology, and serves as a Vice President for Burrell Behavioral Health. He obtained bachelor’s degrees in psychology and sociology from Southwest Baptist University, and went on to earn the M.A. degree in General/Experimental Psychology, and the Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, both from the University of Southern Mississippi. Subsequently, Dr. Thomlinson completed a post-doctoral respecialization in Clinical Psychology and holds the license to practice as a psychologist in the state of Missouri. He has been on the faculties of several universities and graduate schools, including Union University, Webster University, SBU, Forest Institute of Professional Psychology, the University of Phoenix, and Central Michigan University, and is a regular contributor to the professional psychological literature and to national and international conferences. He has been the architect and chief grant writer responsible for nearly $60 million in funding for the Springfield area, with a special focus on children’s mental health services. Dr. Thomlinson has been a passionate supporter of community mobilization around issues of homelessness, having written $2 million in grants to support services for homeless individuals and families especially impacted by co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse. Other community service interests include advocacy for the economically disadvantaged and victims of violent crimes through his long-term service on the board of directors of Community Partnership and The Victim Center. Some of his other interests include playing guitar, singing, songwriting, recording, traveling almost anywhere, mountain hiking, reading, and watching great movies. He is married to Melodie Thomlinson, and has three beautiful children, Sarah, Aidan, and Presley.


Matthew Underwood, MS

has been with Burrell Behavioral Health since 2004. Now the Senior Research Associate in the Research and Quality Assurance Department, he started with Burrell as a Child Residential Specialist and later became an Adult Community Support Worker. Matthew soon developed a love for the science of community-based behavioral health research and evaluation and began working in the Burrell Research and QA Department. Working as the Senior Evaluator for the Show-Me Kids System of Care provided Matthew the opportunity to unite two of his interests: research and developmental psychology. Currently, Matthew is very interested in social-emotional development, particularly as it relates to learning, education, and the development of resiliency in children. Matthew earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, with an emphasis on child and family development, from Missouri State University. Once he was bitten by the research bug, he returned to Missouri State University to earn his M.S. in Experimental Psychology.


Sonia Vasdev, MD

has joined Burrell Behavioral Health as a Clinical Research Manager. Before joining Burrell, she was working as faculty at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine as an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery’s Division of Orthopedics, overseeing the administration of clinical research activities and direct research projects. Vasdev completed a dual master’s degree in public health and public administration at the University of Illinois Springfield in December 2012. She received academic honors in her MPH/MPA program. She is currently completing her Doctorate in Health Administration from Central Michigan University. She was a medical officer on the faculty of Bakson Medical College and Hospital in Greater Noida, India (2006-09), where she completed a residency in Pediatrics (2006). She received her medical degree from Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad, India (2003). Prior to joining SIU, Vasdev was a research assistant at the Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois in Springfield (2012-13). She also helped develop marketing and human resource plans as a volunteer at MERCY Communities, SPARC and the Illinois Health Care Association in Springfield (2011-12). Vasdev is a member of Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration. She and her husband, Subodh Jain, MD, a child psychiatrist at Burrell Behavioral Health, live in Springfield, Missouri, with their son, Adish.

Her research Interests include:
• Using QA/I in processing outcomes and in care coordination.
• Rising cost/ reimbursements in health care resulting from limitations in health care delivery.
• Consumer- Driven Health Care.
• Integration and care coordination in Mental Health.
• Readmission.
• Teaching physicians and practitioners about interpreting research results.

Hotel Reservations

RamadaThe Real World Research Applications to Contemporary Behavioral Health Care Conference will be held at the University Plaza Hotel Convention Center, Springfield, Missouri.

Located in the heart of downtown Springfield – surrounded by great restaurants, lounges and coffee shops – this first class hotel has terrific resort-style amenities like a fitness center, whirlpool, sundeck and indoor and outdoor pools.

Special Room Rates

We have special room rates for conference at $89 (plus applicable taxes) single/double.

Call the reservations department at 417.864.7333 and be sure to ask for the Burrell Research Applications conference block to receive the discounted conference rate.

NOTE: Rooms at the special rate are subject to availability and sell out quickly! Hotel reservations are separate from conference registration and must be booked and paid for separately.

University Plaza

See their website and take a tour of the hotel at:

University Plaza Hotel
333 John Q. Hammons Parkway
Springfield MO 65806

Hotel Phone: 417.864.7333
Hotel Fax: 417.831.5893