SAPNA J. MENDON is a doctoral student at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Her research interests include implementation science and mental health services. Using mixed-method study designs, Sapna is currently studying the adoption and penetration of evidence-based mental health programs across state-operated agencies, as well as the sustainment of evidence-based prevention programs across the U.S.
Prior to beginning doctoral studies, Sapna served as the Director of Program Evaluation at the New York State Psychiatric Institute for OnTrackNY, a statewide initiative developed to provide coordinated specialty care services to young adults experiencing the recent onset of psychosis. In this role, she also served as a clinical trainer, providing training and resources for clinicians across the state and nationwide. Over the span of 10 years, her research has focused on early intervention services, suicide prevention, health care disparities among ethnic minorities and implementation science.
Sapna has also maintained a strong commitment to clinical practice. She has worked extensively with underserved populations, at-risk youth who were previously incarcerated and victims of sexual abuse. Following her work in community-based agencies, Sapna broadened her scope of practice to include treating patients with serious mental illness, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress. Her clinical experience includes working with individuals and groups, as well as working with families affected by mental illness.
Sapna is expected to complete her PhD in Social Work by Spring 2019.
New York University: MSW, Social Work 2010
University of California, Riverside: BA, Psychology, Neuroscience 2007
Areas of Expertise (4)
Mental Health Services
Early Intervention Services
Industry Expertise (2)
Mental Health Care
Doctoral Program Fellowship (professional)
School of Social Work, University of Southern California, 2015
Provost Fellowship (professional)
The Graduate School, University of Southern California, 2015
- American Psychological Association (APA)
- National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
- Society for Social Work Research (SSWR)
Articles & Publications (5)
Palinkas, L. A., Spear, S. E., Mendon, S. J., Villamar, J., Valente, T., Chou, C. P., Landsverk, J., Kellam, S.G., & Brown, C. H.
Sustaining prevention efforts directed at substance use and mental health problems is one of the greatest, yet least understood, challenges in the field of implementation science. A large knowledge gap exists regarding the meaning of the term “sustainment” and what factors predict or even measure sustainability of effective prevention programs and support systems.
Luckstead, A., Essock, S.M., Stevenson, J., Mendon, S.J., Nossel, I., Goldman, H., Goldstein, A., Dixon, L.
Marino, L., Nossel, I., Choi, J., Nuechterlein, K., Wang, Y., Essock, S., Bennett, M., McNamara, K., Mendon, S.J., Dixon, L.
The aims of this study were to explore secondary outcomes of a coordinated specialty care program for persons with early psychosis, including quality of life and recovery, as well as to explore mediators and moderators of improvement in occupational and social functioning and symptoms. Sixty-five individuals across two sites were enrolled and received services for up to two years. Trajectories for individuals’ outcomes, over time were examined using linear and quadratic mixed-effects models with repeated measures. In addition, baseline prognostic factors of participant improvement in social and occupational functioning were explored based on previous literature and expert opinion of the analytic team. Results demonstrate that the program was effective in improving quality of life and recovery, over time. Furthermore, processing speed was identified as a significant moderator of improvement in occupational GAF, and treatment fidelity, engagement, and family involvement were identified as mediators of improvement in social and occupational functioning.
Dixon, L., Goldman, H., Bennett, M., Wang, Y., McNamara, K., Mendon, S.J., Goldstein, A., Choi, C., Lee, R., Lieberman, J., Essock, S.
The RAISE (Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode) Connection Program Implementation and Evaluation Study developed tools necessary to implement and disseminate an innovative team-based intervention designed to promote engagement and treatment participation, foster recovery, and minimize disability among individuals experiencing early psychosis. This article describes the treatment model and reports on service utilization and outcomes. It was hypothesized that individuals’ symptoms and functioning would improve over time.
Essock, S.M., Nossel, I., McNamara, K., Bennett, M.E., Buchanan, R.W., Kreyenbuhl, J., Mendon, S.J., Goldman, H., Dixon, L.
Mental health programs can address many components of fidelity with routinely available data. Information from client interviews can be used to corroborate these administrative data. This column describes a practical approach to measuring fidelity that used both data sources. The approach was used in the Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) Connection Program, a team-based intervention designed to implement evidence-based practices for people experiencing early psychosis suggestive of schizophrenia. Data indicated that the intervention was implemented as intended, including program elements related to shared decision making and a range of evidence-based clinical interventions.