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Dr. Tom Massey Receives over $400,000 Grant from the National Institutes of Health

Oliver T. Massey, PhDCongratulations to Dr. Oliver “Tom” Massey who has secured over $400,000 in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct a pilot study in the Hillsborough County Middle School System. The two-year study will help to gain an understanding of how mental health services may be effectively implemented, integrated and sustained in school settings.

“Although schools are primarily organized to provide instruction, evidence has shown that increasing the integration of school-based mental health services improves academic outcomes,” said Dr. Massey. “Despite this evidence, the field knows little about how to effectively integrate those services into school systems.”

The project, Using Network Analysis to Assess School Mental Health Organizational Structure, is funded as part of the NIH Exploratory/Developmental Grant (R21) and intended to encourage exploratory and developmental research projects by providing support for the early and conceptual stages of projects.

“Working with the Hillsborough County School District will allow us to develop new knowledge that will lay a solid foundation for future research that will strengthen critical communication networks that are activated when children display mental health problems,” added Dr. Massey.

Dr. Massey has extensive research, evaluation, training, and work experience in school mental health. He has worked with the School District of Hillsborough County directly on a grant focused on school mental health integration. He has also led the evaluation of the Gear-Up project for improving academic success and currently serves as Chair of the Hillsborough County Anti-bullying Advisory Committee.

Additional members of the USF research team are Dr. Donna Burton, who has worked on school mental health research and program evaluation and has expertise in the implementation of mental health services for children and adolescents in community settings, and Dr. John Skvoretz, Professor in the USF Department of Sociology.

“This work completely represents the mission of our department to develop innovative programs for the state and nation’s social services, criminal justice, and education systems,” said Department Chair Dr. Mario Hernandez.  “I commend Tom and his team for their efforts and welcome our second NIH grant in 18 months!”

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