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Melissa is a Gallaudet University-trained psychologist and clinical researcher who strives to provide accessible behavioral healthcare to members of the U.S. Deaf community. Melissa is Co-Director of the Stakeholder Engagement Program in the UMass Medical School Implementation Science & Practice Advances Research Center (iSPARC) and Director of the DeafYES! Center for Deaf Empowerment and Recovery. The clinical mission of DeafYES! is to provide culturally-affirmative, linguistically-accessible behavioral health services to Deaf clients. Their programs of research revolve around developing innovative behavioral health interventions and research methods, and include an NIAAA-funded project to develop and evaluate the first evidence-based psychotherapy for Deaf clients. Melissa’s career within the Deaf community has only been successful because of the participatory action nature of her work. Her team’s clinical services and research studies are co-led by Deaf professionals and Deaf laypersons, ensuring that the work they do is relevant and accessible. In addition to this community co-leadership model, Melissa’s team continuously infuses the voice of Deaf community members into their work via ongoing qualitative interviews, focus groups, and community forums.

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  • Continuous
  • quality improvement