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  • Erik Groessl, PhD

    Erik Groessl, PhD

    Executive Director 

    ​Dr. Groessl has served as Center Director of the UCSD Health Services Research Center since 1999 and as Executive Director since 2014. He is a Professor of Public Health at UCSD and is a Principal Investigator at the VA San Diego.  He received his Clinical Psychology PhD in 1999 from the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program with a specialization in Behavioral Medicine/ Health Psychology.

    Dr. Groessl conducts research in the general areas of:

    • -Integrative Medicine
    • -Behavioral Interventions
    • -Veterans and military health
    • -Cost-effectiveness
    • -Health-related quality of life
    • -Patient self-management

    His current projects focus on the benefits of yoga for older adults and for military veterans with chronic pain and/or PTSD. He also conducts cost-effectiveness analyses for a variety of different projects. 


  • Andrew Sarkin, PhD

    Andrew Sarkin, PhD

    Director of Evaluation Research

    Dr. Sarkin is a clinical psychologist and expert in the measurement and assessment of health and behavioral outcomes with over 20 years of experience in program evaluation. He is currently the Health Services Research Center (HSRC) Director of Evaluation Research and has served as a co-investigator for a San Diego County Behavioral Health  Services contract to provide data analysis and performance monitoring and evaluation since 2002. 

    Dr. Sarkin directs the evaluation of several SAMHSA contracts. He manages the evaluation of the San Diego Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Prevention and Early Intervention and Innovations evaluation efforts manages the processes of stakeholder and advisory group engagement, oversees data analysis, and is active in designing and delivering program staff training. In addition, he teaches program evaluation classes at San Diego State University and UCSD and has over 42 peer-reviewed publications.

    Dr. Sarkin provides expertise in evaluating policy and systems change, evaluating community engagement, collaboration, and partnerships, and evaluating study design. He also has experience in key informant interview data collection, conducting evaluation of health programs that target priority populations, longitudinal qualitative data analysis, and data dissemination. He is also the director of the internship program at HSRC.



  • Steve Tally, PhD

    Steve Tally, PhD

    Director of Clinical Research

    Dr. Tally received his doctoral degree in Human Development at the University of California, Irvine, and his M.A. in Experimental Psychology from San Diego State University. He currently oversees a series of sports medicine clinical trials examining performance, hydration, and recovery from concussion and TBI. He additionally as a lead role managing reporting efforts for the San Diego County Adult and Older Adult Mental Health System supervising analysis and reporting efforts for both San Diego County Mental Health and Drug and Substance programs. Dr. Tally has served as a Task Force member for the California Health Benefits Review Program (CHBRP) since 2014.  



  • ​​Trinell Brashear

    Information Systems Analyst 

    Trinell brings over two decades of experience supporting a wide variety of complex local, county and US government computer networks, systems and applications. Responsiblities consist of assisting senior programmers with maintaining a variety of data collection and reporting web applications.

  • Danielle Casteel, MA (she, her(s))

    Danielle Casteel, MA (she, her(s))

    Project Manager | Evaluation Research Associate 

    Danielle earned her Master’s degree in Psychology with an emphasis on physical and mental health research from San Diego State University. As an evaluation research associate at HSRC, she has managed and assisted with several clinical trials, including Dr. Groessl’s studies on the benefits of yoga for chronic pain and Dr. Tally’s sports medicine trials. Additionally, she is part of the evaluation team for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Innovation 2 Program - Building Trauma Resilient Communities. Lastly, she is a member of the California Health Benefits Review Board (CHBRP) Task Force and is responsible for leading medical effectiveness reviews of proposed California health legislature.

  • Kim Center, MA

    ​​Program Evaluation Manager 

    Kim Center has an MA in Psychology with an emphasis in Mental Health Research from San Diego State University. Ms. Center is project lead on HSRC’s evaluation the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH)’s Innovation 2 (INN2) project with Todd Gilmer, PI. She assists in the development of evaluation plans and measure selection, and conducts training sessions, facilitates quarterly collaborative learning sessions with providers and county staff, and serves as a liaison with community groups. She also led HSRC’s recent evaluation of the Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) Behavioral Health Integration Complex Care Management Initiative (BHICCI), which was a practice transformation initiative focused on developing integrated complex care teams that provide care coordination for individuals with complex physical and behavioral health needs.  She has also worked on the ongoing evaluation and reporting of outcomes for San Diego County’s Behavioral Health Services (BHS) Full Service Partnership (FSP) programs. Ms. Center participated in the Los Angeles County Mental Health Services Innovations Project, which evaluated several models of care designed to integrate physical and behavioral health services for homeless and underserved population. Her expertise is in evaluation design, analysis, data visualization and reporting. 

  • Kyle Choi, MPH

    Kyle Choi, MPH

    Information Systems Analyst 

    Kyle Choi earned his Master's degree in Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology from San Diego State University where he studied the effects of violence on mental health. At HSRC, his work has involves managing the informatics team that develops and maintains data capture and reporting systems for HSRC. He also participates and contributes to HSRC’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and Policies and Procedures Working Groups.

    Kyle currently works on San Diego County Behavioral Health Services Adult and Older Adult CSS, PEI, INN and Clubhouse contracts, providing research support, informatics expertise, data analysis, and reporting. He also leads informatics efforts on projects with VA San Diego, and Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.

  • Marlin Hart

    Survey Researcher Assistant 

    At HSRC, Marlin works primarily with the Prevention and Early Intervention Evaluation team, as well as the Community Services. Marlin supports the PEI and CSS teams where he assists with quality assurance for County level and State level reporting as well as creating protocol manuals, trainings, testing, developing and development for the Mental Health Outcomes Management System (mHOMS).
  • Richard Heller, MA

    Richard Heller, MA

    Community Education Specialist 

    Rick Heller holds a Masters degree in anthropology.  His research interests in the field include ethnomusicology and transcultural psychiatry.  He was a pioneer, working as a peer counselor in a psychiatric day treatment facility, long before peer counseling was common.  He also served on the San Diego County Mental Health Board.  He has worked as a freelance writer, penning articles about mental health, as well as music.  In addition, he has done research for documentary films.

    At HSRC he does various tasks as assigned for the County Mental Health contract, including attending the state mandated Quality Review Council, the Cultural Competency Resource Team and the Behavioral Health Advisory Board meetings.  Work for the contract with the Suicide Prevention Council is included in his duties.  He identifies relevant articles for people working on opioid abuse, suicide prevention, as well as current trends in treatment.  He has worked at HSRC since 2007.

  • Naomi Hillery, MPH

    Project Manager 

    ​Naomi holds a Master's degree in Public Health with an emphasis in Epidemiology from San Diego State University. She has been with HSRC since 2010 and is currently the Project Manager for a group of clinical studies with the Department of Medicine evaluating diagnostic tests for tuberculosis, drug-resistant tuberculosis, and non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM); a Project Manager for the Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System for the County of San Diego; and an analyst and Task Force member for the California Health Benefits Review Program (CHBRP). She is also involved in Quality of Well Being (QWB) questionnaire data management for the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (DPPOS) and is a contributor to cost-effectiveness study manuscripts.
  • Lena Hofmann, MA

    Lena Hofmann, MA

    Program Evaluation Associate  

    Lena earned her Master's degree in Clinical Social Work from Catholic University of Applied Sciences Aachen in Germany. At HSRC, Lena currently is managing four projects:

    • - The evaluation of the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) SAMHSA- funded project at La Maestra Family Health Centers
    • - The Suicide Prevention Council (SPC) Program Evaluation
    • - The Data De-identification Project
    • - The Community Engagement Project in collaboration with the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center (CASRC)
  • Merissa Kado-Walton, MA

    Merissa Kado-Walton, MA

    Program Evaluation Specialist 

    Merissa earned her Master’s degree in Psychology with a focus on physical and mental health research from San Diego State University. As a program evaluation specialist at HSRC, she supports the Southern California Evaluation of the Early Psychosis Learning Healthcare Network, a collaboration with UC Davis and UC San Francisco. She also assists with the annual distribution and processing of the DMC-ODS Treatment Perception Surveys (TPS) in San Diego County and clinical trials with Stage 2 Innovations.
  • Symone McKinnon, MA

    Symone McKinnon, MA

    Program Evaluation Specialist 

    Symone earned her Master of Arts degree in Psychology with a focus on physical and mental health research from San Diego State University. As a program evaluation specialist at HSRC, she is the Project Coordinator over the California state-wide Mental Health Statistics Improvement Program (MHSIP) annual survey that is administered to adult mental health consumers who receive county-funded mental health services in San Diego County. Symone also provides project support to the teams who conduct a variety of international Tuberculosis studies that are focused on identifying the growing problem of drug-resistant TB and its transmission. Symone’s TB study responsibilities include but are not limited to, managing an ever-evolving Biobank record system which houses biomedical samples from multiple studies, including predominantly Tuberculosis studies, producing recruitment reports using the data visualization system PowerBI, and preparing IRB documents for submission. She currently functions as a data manager for multiple projects, supervises interns and junior staff on a variety of tasks, and exhibits advanced interpersonal and customer service skills from her experience working with community members and mental health program managers for various studies and projects. More recently, Symone led and oversaw the effort of constructing an American Psychological Association manuscript-style paper, which also culminated in an oral presentation, for a cross-comparison analysis of a COVID-19 supplemental questionnaire. She supervised both an intern and student worker, who diligently worked on this project. Symone has two publications with HSRC, and a third in progress. Lastly, Symone collaborates with the Community Services and Supports (CSS) team and produces several reports and deliverables to help ensure the success of the San Diego County mental health treatment program evaluation.

    Previously at HSRC, Symone functioned as the clinical interventionist for the study, OPTIMISE-VIP: Overcoming Pain Through Integrative Mind-Body Interventions and Education for Veterans with PTSD. For a full year, she delivered an educational intervention entitled Veteran.calm at the San Diego Veterans Affair Hospital, which taught veterans strategies such as how to relieve stress, breathing techniques, and other coping mechanisms. Symone has worked as a recruitment coordinator for the Overcoming Pain Through Yoga in the Military (OPTYM) study, which focused on testing the acceptability and feasibility of a yoga intervention for chronic lower back and neck pain in active duty military personnel, and the Neuro-Cognitive Disorder due to traumatic brain injuries (NCDT) study, which focused on the validation of a rapid saliva test to detect neurocognitive disorders in concussed athletes.

  • Amanda McNamara, MPH

    Amanda McNamara, MPH

    Program Evaluation Specialist 

    Amanda earned her Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. At HSRC, Amanda supports the Southern California Evaluation of the Early Psychosis Learning Healthcare Network (LHCN) where her primary responsibilities include multi-county data management and analysis. Additionally, under the LHCN, Amanda supports the EPI-CAL project where she provides site training and technical support for the implementation of a new digital health data platform in participating Southern California Early Psychosis programs. At HSRC, she also works on the Data De-Identification project and provides support to various Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) projects.
  • Mark Metzger, BS

  • Gina Misch, MA, MPA

    Gina Misch, MA, MPA

    Project Manager 

    Gina Misch has been utilizing data analysis tools to improve the outcomes of social services, health organizations, and businesses since 1997. Her many years of project management and data analytics have given her expertise in the fields of economic development, program and process evaluation, social and policy research, business development, child, youth, and family services, mental health, developmental services, and grant writing. 

    When she is not crunching numbers or creating great data visualizations, Gina teaches at community colleges in the subjects of statistics, sociology, and psychology. She holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California (a loyal Trojan fan) and Master of Arts in Sociology from Humboldt State University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from UC Irvine. 

    At HSRC, Gina is the project lead for the evaluation of San Diego County's Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) programs and the California American Indian Tobacco Initiative. She provides assistance to a variety of other projects through evaluation design, program support, data management, provider training, quantitative and qualitative analysis, and reporting. Additionally, she serves as an intern supervisor supporting continued learning for college students. 

  • Calvin Navarro, MS, BSBA

    Calvin Navarro, MS, BSBA

    Information Systems Analyst 

    Calvin Navarro received his Master’s Degree in .NET Programming from SETFOCUS University and his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Management Information Systems from AMA University, Quezon City, Philippines. He also holds several Microsoft certifications (.NET Framework, C#, SQL server with T-SQL, Distributed Programming, and Security) which he acquired from attending SETFOCUS.

    Calvin has several years of programming experience developing applications in several languages including MVC standard framework and new .NET CORE framework 5 and up. At HSRC, he serves as a senior level programmer who develops, implements, and maintains Health Outcomes Management Systems, and works with SQL for database related needs. Other projects include mHOMS, iHOMS, TOP-CKD, SafeCare, Faculty Voting, and RELINK.
  • Amy Pancakiewicz, MA

    Amy Pancakiewicz, MA

    Senior Evaluation Research Associate  

    Amy earned her Master's degree in Psychology with an emphasis on behavioral and cognitive neuroscience from San Diego State University. As a senior evaluation research associate at HSRC, her work focuses on managing reporting efforts for the San Diego County Behavioral Health Services Drug Medi‑Cal Organized Delivery System (DMC-ODS). She also manages the neuropsychological data collection at UCSD as a part of two multi-site studies focusing on the validation of saliva biomarkers for Neuro-Cognitive Disorder due to traumatic brain injuries (NCDT). Her past work at HSRC includes management of the reporting efforts for the San Diego County Adult and Older Adult (AOA) Behavioral Health System, assistance with the evaluation of the Behavioral Health Integration and Complex Care Initiative (BHICCI) in the Inland Empire, and development of automated reports for the Mental Health Outcomes Management System (mHOMS) data system.

  • Frances Reyes Yee, MA

    Senior Evaluation Research Associate 

    Frances earned her Master's degree in Psychology with a co-concentration in Applied Developmental Psychology and Evaluation from Claremont Graduate University. As an Evaluation Research Associate at HSRC, she oversees the evaluation of La Maestra Family Clinic’s SAMHSA-funded projects. She also manages the evaluation of San Diego County Clubhouses. Her previous work at HSRC includes leading the development of the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) Toolkit for Evaluation, Assessment, and Measurement for Adult Community Services and Supports (CSS) Programs and the Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) Demographics, Screening and Referral Tracking Tool. Additionally, Frances contributes to the evaluation of San Diego County Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) programs.

  • Andow Rodriguez

    Andow Rodriguez

    System Administrator 

    Andow Rodríguez has more than 20 years of experience in information technology. At HSRC, his job involves managing IT systems on servers and computers, as well as maintaining security on systems and networks in both physical and software areas.

    Andow also collaborates with the development of HSRC Policies and Procedures. He is currently working with developers and several county projects to provide secure methods for data collection.

  • Karina Soto, BA

    Bilingual Administrative Assistant 

    Karina earned her BA in Political Science and Anthropological Archaeology from the University of California San Diego. In 2012, she graduated from UCSD Extension's Paralegal Studies program and went on to work in a civil litigation firm in San Diego as a Bilingual/Trial Paralegal for several years. Karina returned to UCSD as a staff member in 2017 and joined the Health Services Research Center team in June 2021 as a Bilingual Administrative Assistant.

    Preferred pronouns: she/her/ella

  • Katie Wan (Rule), MPH, MSW

    Katie Wan (Rule), MPH, MSW

    Program Evaluation Specialist 


    Katie holds a Master’s degree in Public Health with an emphasis on Healthcare Management and Policy, along with a Master’s degree in Social Work with an emphasis on Administration from San Diego State University. After graduate school, Katie was a Management Fellow for the County of San Diego, focusing most of her work within the Behavioral Health Services Department developing the Drug Medical Organized Delivery System (DMC-ODS) proposal to the State in response to the 1115 Waiver.

    Through past work experience, Katie has compiled, analyzed, developed, and clearly conveyed complex information and data through reports or ad-hoc assignments for internal leadership, stakeholders, and/or contract funders. Within Health Services Research Center, Katie is the project lead for the County of San Diego Behavioral Health Services (SDCBHS) Community Services and Supports (CSS) program contract. As CSS project lead, Katie oversees the development and delivery of multiple quarterly reports, numerous annual reports, and ad hoc reports to SDCBHS. The CSS project also assists SDCBHS meet State Requirements with leading the California state-wide Mental Health Statistics Improvement Program (MHSIP) annual survey that is administered to the CSS programs, along with state-mandated performance improvement projects (PIPs), which are designed to address systemwide issues using data and applied research. Lastly, Katie helped support the development of the Community Experience Partnership (CEP), a new initiative to develop a process to identify and address unmet behavioral health needs, and the systemic and regional inequities that lead to these unmet needs.

    Katie also supports the Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) project for SDCBHS, with a main portion being the project manager for a PEI program called Next Steps, where she is responsible for training the staff on data collection and data entry, along with developing the biannual and annual report for the program.

  • Zhun Xu, PhD


    Zhun holds a Master’s of Science Degree in Statistics and Biostatistics from California State University, East Bay and a doctorate in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Texas at Austin. She has expertise in predictive modeling, strategy analysis, statistical analysis planning, regression, categorical analysis, survival, stochastic, simulation, and time series analysis. Her current work focusses on retrieval and merging of data from multiple databases such as CCBH, DCR, HOMS and SanWITS database to generate system wide and/or ad hoc report for San Diego County Behavioral Health Services. She also plays a role in data management and statistical analysis for the following projects:

    • - Community Services and Supports (CSS)
    • - Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI)
    • - Drug Medi-Cal (DMC)
    • - Children, Youth and Families (CYF)
    • - SD Innovations (INN) projects

Research Affiliates