Photo of Aaron Lyon

Aaron R. Lyon, PhD

Director, SMART Center
Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
(206) 221-8604
Box 354920 / Room 110F
  • Biography
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Aaron Lyon, Ph.D., is SMART Center Director, Professor in the UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and a licensed clinical child psychologist. He also co-directs the UW ALACRITY Center, directs the Research Institute for Implementation Science in Education (RIISE), and is Associate Editor for the journal Implementation Research and Practice. Dr. Lyon’s research focuses on increasing the accessibility, efficiency, and effectiveness of community- and school-based interventions for children, adolescents, and families. He is particularly interested in (1) the identification and implementation of low-cost, high-yield practices – such as the use of measurement-based care – to reduce the gap between typical and optimal practice in schools; (2) development of individual- and organization-level implementation strategies to promote adoption and sustainment of evidence-based psychosocial interventions within a multi-tier systems of support (MTSS) framework; and (3) human-centered design (and redesign) of psychosocial and digital technologies to improve their implementability, accessibility, and effectiveness. Dr. Lyon is Principal Investigator on multiple active grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Institute of Education Sciences, as well as additional sponsors.


Google Scholar Dept of Psychiatry Profile UW ALACRITY Profile

This planning grant is designed to develop a school-specific adaptation of the Collaborative Care model and associated training materials in order to: (1) Enhance capacity to provide SBMH services by increasing the number of healthcare providers (including primary care providers and indigenous school-based personnel) who can participate in the delivery of mental health services to youth experiencing mood and anxiety problems; (2) Improve SBMH accessibility by reducing stigma via the utilization of primary care providers and indigenous school personnel as points of entry for services; and (3) Increase the extent to which SBMH services reflect high quality evidence-based practices.
This project will use machine learning algorithms to evaluate the extent to which high school students' social media posts provide the information needed to accurately predict and manage suicide risk in real time.
We have developed and are currently testing the Beliefs and Attitudes for Successful Implementation in Schools (BASIS) implementation strategy. BASIS is a theoretically-drive, intervention-agnostic, and individually-focused implementation strategy designed to increase motivation and engagement prior to – and immediately following – initial training in evidence-based practices. Access the BASIS R01 study protocol here.   Check out related projects: BASIS-Optimization and BASIS-T
The goal of this study is to make the theory driven pre-implementation - Beliefs and Attitudes for Successful Implementation in Schools (BASIS) - to be most impactful and optimized for effectiveness and delivered in a digitized, resource-sensitive, scalable, and potentially sustainable way to improve school-based mental health providers’ implementation of evidence-based practices (EBP). The BASIS optimization project is funded as a component of the NIMH-funded IMPACT Center at the University of Washington.
We have developed – and are currently conducting a large-scale randomized trial of – at teacher-focused version of the Beliefs and Attitudes for Successful Implementation in Schools (BASIS) implementation strategy. BASIS-T is being tested in context of Positive Greetings at the Door (PGD) implementation. Details are available in a study protocol published in Implementation Science.
This project is designed to deliver and evaluate an early warning system and Tier 2 intervention (Student Engagement and Empowerment) to improve student attendance, behavior, and achievement. In doing so, this project investigates the effects of building capacity within schools to make data-driven decisions surrounding the selection and delivery of evidence-based, brief, relatively low-cost interventions proven to improve students’ mindsets and school belonging, two constructs linked to increased school engagement and safety.
BOLT is focused on designing and texting an online training platform and post-training consultation procedures to support measurement-based care / routine outcome monitoring among school-based mental health providers. Both the platform and the training will be iteratively developed using best practices from the field of user-centered design.
The HELM project will adapt and test an existing leadership-focused implementation strategy (Leadership and Organizational Change for Implementation; for use with elementary school principals in buildings where universal social, emotional, and behavioral program are being implemented. For more information about this project, click here.
This project aims to assess the unique and combined influences of community-based health organization and school contexts on school-based mental health practitioners’ use of evidence-based practices.
(non-research) The SMART Center Postdoctoral Research Training Program in School Mental Health is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences (IES).The fellowship’s areas of focus align with those of the SMART Center and include research-based school behavioral health strategies and policies, implementation science, educational equity, clinical research methodology, and understanding and reducing ethnic and racial disparities.
The main purpose of this Goal 5 Measurement Development and Refinement Project is to develop a suite of valid, practical, and usable measures to assess characteristics of the organizational implementation context in authentic educational settings in order to support the adoption and sustainment of evidence-based practices that improve student outcomes.
The University of Washington Research Institute for Implementation Science in Education (RIISE) is the first of its kind and reflects a collaborative, innovative effort to develop the implementation research workforce in education and improve educational and related outcomes. Led by a group of Core Faculty with extensive experience conducting implementation research in schools, RIISE provides training and mentorship to established education scholars (Fellows) to increase their expertise in conceptualizing, designing, and executing implementation research studies. Specifically, the RIISE training program will support Fellows in acquiring, building fluency with, and applying implementation research knowledge and skills in their education research to develop high-quality implementation studies that bridge the “last mile” in which education research fails to reach the individuals for whom it was intended. Learn more about RIISE here. A light blue book lays open with a yellow and orange sun coming out from it. “RIISE” lays on top of the sun in orange lettering with the two I’s in dark blue going up invisible steps. To the right in dark blue is “Research Institute for Implementation Science in Education.”
The aims of this project are to: (1) evaluate the usability of leading, evidence-based Tier 1 social-emotional and behavioral interventions (SEBI) and identify unique and common usability problems, (2) explore the links between SEBI usability and implementation and student outcomes, and (3) refine the USABILITY theory of change, develop a matrix of usability problems and redesign solutions, and articulate guidance to the field for designing usable Tier 1 SEBIs.
Black and Latinx youth continue to receive lower quantity and quality mental healthcare compared to Non-Hispanic White youth, despite similar rates of unmet need. Clinician implicit bias has been implicated as a major contributor to inequitable mental health treatment and outcomes for youth. This study, addressing the third aim of the supplemental BOLT parent grant (NIMH 3R34MH109605-02S1), aims to pilot test a Virtual Implicit Bias Reduction and Neutralization Training (VIBRANT) for school mental health clinicians as an innovative strategy for reducing clinician implicit bias, improving the equitable delivery of high quality, evidence-based mental healthcare, and ultimately improving mental health outcomes for Black and Latinx youth.
Centering School Leaders’ Expertise: Usability Evaluation of a Leadership-Focused Implementation Strategy to Support Tier 1 Programs in Schools(2024)School Mental Health
Helping Educational Leaders Mobilize Evidence (HELM): The iterative redesign of the Leadership and Organizational Change for Implementation (LOCI) intervention for use in schools(2024)Implementation Research and Practice5:1-14.
The incremental association of implementation leadership and school personnel burnout beyond transformational leadership(2023)School PsychologyAdvance online publication:
Using Stakeholder Input to Guide Data Visualization and Reporting to Promote Evidence-based Practice Use in Public Schools(2023)Global Implementation Research and Applications3 (2):99-111.
Longitudinal Effects of a Motivationally Focused Strategy to Increase the Yield of Training and Consultation on Teachers’ Adoption and Fidelity of a Universal Program(2023)School Mental Health15 (1):105-122.
Teacher attitudes toward evidence-based practices: Exploratory and confirmatory analyses of the school-adapted evidence-based practice attitude scale(2023)Implementation Research and Practice4:
Helping Educational Leaders Mobilize Evidence (HELM): The iterative redesign of the Leadership and Organizational Change for Implementation (LOCI) intervention for use in schools(2023)Implementation Research and Practice
The Interaction Between General and Strategic Leadership and Climate on Their Multilevel Associations with Implementer Attitudes Toward Universal Prevention Programs for Youth Mental Health: A Cross-Sectional Study(2022)Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research50 (3):427-449.
Teacher perceptions of implementation climate related to feasibility of implementing schoolwide positive behavior supports and interventions(2022)School Mental Health14 (4):1057-1069.
How low can you go? Examining the effects of brief online training and post-training consultation dose on implementation mechanisms and outcomes for measurement-based care(2022)Implementation Science Communications3 (1):1-15.
Adapting strategies to promote implementation reach and equity (ASPIRE) in school mental health services(2022)Psychology in the Schools59 (12):2471-2485.
A brief online implicit bias intervention for school mental health clinicians(2022)International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health19 (2):679.
Iterative redesign of a caregiver-mediated intervention for use in educational settings(2022)Autism26 (3):666-677.
School mental health professionals’ knowledge of stereotypes and implicit bias toward Black and Latinx youths(2022)Psychiatric Services73 (11):1308-1311.
A mixed-method study examining solutions to common barriers to teachers’ adoption of evidence-based classroom practices(2022)Psychology in the Schools59 (9):1825-1843.
Construct validity of the School-Implementation Climate Scale(2022)Implementation Research and Practice3:
Expect the unexpected: A qualitative study of the ripple effects of children’s mental health services implementation efforts(2022)Implementation Research and Practice3:
Leading the charge in the education sector: Development and validation of the School Implementation Leadership Scale (SILS)(2022)Implementation Science17 (1):
The Cognitive Walkthrough for Implementation Strategies (CWIS): A pragmatic method for assessing implementation strategy usability(2022)Implementation Science Communications2:1-16.
Protocol for a hybrid type 2 cluster randomized trial of trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy and a pragmatic individual-level implementation strategy.(2021)Implementation Science16 (1):
Collaboratively maximizing the impact of human-centered design in psychological and implementation science: Reply to Proctor et al. (2021)(2021)American Psychological Association76 (7):
Study protocol of a randomised trial of Summer STRIPES: A peer-delivered high school preparatory intervention for students with ADHD(2021)BMJ Open11 (8):e045443.
Examining the effects of a brief, group-based motivational implementation strategy on mechanisms of teacher behavior change(2021)Prevention Science22:722-736.
13 Designing Programs with an Eye Toward Scaling(2021)The Scale-Up Effect in Early Childhood and Public Policy: Why Interventions Lose Impact at Scale and What We Can Do About It
Rates of mental health service utilization by children and adolescents in schools and other common service settings: A systematic review and meta-analysis(2021)Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research48:420-439.
Exploring individual and organizational mechanisms of implementation of evidence-based practices for the inclusion of elementary students with autism: Study protocol(2021)International Journal of Educational Research108:
Designing the future of children’s mental health services(2020)Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research47:735-751.
Implementation determinants and outcomes of a technology-enabled service targeting suicide risk in high schools: Mixed methods study(2020)Journal of Medical Internet Research - Mental Health7(7):e16338.
Rates of mental health service utilization by children and adolescents in schools and other common service settings: A systematic review and meta analysis(2020)Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research48:430-439.
Middle and high school student perspectives on digitally-delivered mental health assessments and measurement feedback systems(2020)Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research47:531-544.
The influence of a blended, theoretically-informed pre-implementation strategy on school-based clinician implementation of an evidence-based trauma intervention.(2019)Implementation Science14(54):1-16.
Pilot test of an engagement, triage, and brief intervention strategy for school mental health(2019)School Mental Health11:148-162.
User-centered redesign of evidence-based psychosocial interventions to enhance implementation – Hospitable soil or better seeds?(2019)JAMA Psychiatry76(1):3-4.
From evidence to impact: Joining our best school mental health practices with our best implementation strategies(2019)School Mental Health11:106-114.
The role of the outer setting in implementation: Associations between state demographic, fiscal, and policy factors and use of evidence-based treatments in mental healthcare.(2019)Implementation Science14(96):1-13.
Collaborative care to improve access and quality in school-based behavioral health(2019)Journal of School Health89 (12):1013-1023.
The influence of a blended, theoretically-informed pre-implementation strategy on school-based clinician implementation of an evidence-based trauma intervention(2019)Implementation Science14:1-16.
Importance and feasibility of an adapted set of implementation strategies in schools(2019)Journal of School Psychology76:66-77.
Understanding the organizational implementation context of schools: A qualitative study of school district administrators, principals, and teachers(2019)School Mental Health11:379-399.
Adapting a compilation of implementation strategies to advance school-based implementation research and practice(2019)Prevention Science20:914-935.
Mind the Gap: Considering Disparities in Implementing Measurement-Based Care(2019)Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry58 (4):459-461.
A digital feedback system to support implementation of measurement-based care by school-based mental health clinicians(2019)Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology48 (Supp 1):168-179.
Impact of Electronic Health Record on quality and fidelity of children’s behavioral health services: Results of a randomized study.(2018)Journal of Medical Internet Research20(6):e10197.
Understanding the organizational implementation context of schools: A qualitative study of school district administrators, principals, and teachers(2018)School Mental Health11(3):379-399.
Assessing organizational implementation context in the education sector: Confirmatory factor analysis of measures of implementation leadership, climate, and citizenship(2018)Implementation Science13:5.
How do school mental health services vary across contexts and provider types? Lessons learned from two efforts to implement a research-based strategy(2018)School Mental Health10(1):134-146.
Predictors of disparities in access and retention in school-based mental health services(2018)School Mental Health10(1):1-11.
The impact of Inter-Organizational Alignment (IOA) on implementation outcomes: Evaluating unique and shared organizational influences in education sector mental health(2018)Implementation Science13(1):13-24.
Confirmatory factor analysis of the Evidence-Based Practice Attitudes Scale with school-based behavioral health consultants(2018)Implementation Science13 (1):1-8.
Importance and feasibility of a revised compilation of implementation strategies to support education sector behavioral health(2018)Implementation Science13:
Social media data for online adolescent suicide risk identification: Considerations for integration within platforms, clinics, and schools(2018)Technology and Adolescent Mental Health157-170.
Fostering SMART partnerships to develop integrated behavioral health services in schools(2016)American Journal of Orthopsychiatry86(2):156-170.
Student perceptions of the acceptability and utility of standardized and idiographic assessment in school mental health(2016)International Journal of Mental Health Promotion
The Contextualized Technology Adaptation Process (CTAP): Optimizing health information technology to improve mental health systems(2016)Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research42:394-409.
Modeling the impact of school-based universal depression screening on additional service capacity needs: A system dynamics approach(2016)Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research43(2):168-188.
Collaborative care in schools: Enhancing integration and impact in youth mental health.(2016)Advances in School Mental Health Promotion9(3-4):148-168.
A mixed methods study of individual and organizational factors that affect implementation of interventions for children with autism in public schools(2016)Implementation Science11:135.
User-centered design for psychosocial intervention development and implementation(2016)Clinical Psychology: Science & Practice23(2):180-200.
Health Information Technologies – Academic and Commercial Evaluation (HIT-ACE) methodology: Description and application to clinical feedback systems(2016)Implementation Science11(1):128.
Capabilities and characteristics of digital measurement feedback systems: Results from a comprehensive review(2016)Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research43(3):441-466.
Client progress monitoring and feedback in school-based mental health(2015)Cognitive and Behavioral Practice
An integrated approach to universal prevention: Independent and combined effects of PBIS and SEL on youths’ mental health(2015)School Psychology Quarterly30(2):166-183.
Evaluation of the Courage and Confidence Mentor Program as a Tier 2 intervention for middle school students with identified internalizing problems(2015)School Mental Health
The Brief Intervention for School Clinicians (BRISC): A mixed-methods evaluation of feasibility, acceptability, and contextual appropriateness(2015)School Mental Health
Taking EBPs to school: Developing and testing a framework for applying common elements of evidence based practice to school mental health(2014)Advances in School Mental Health Promotion7:42-61.
Taking evidence-based practices to school: Using expert opinion to develop a brief, evidence-informed school-based mental health intervention(2014)Advances in School Mental Health Promotion7:42-61.
Using modular psychotherapy in school mental health: Provider perspectives on intervention-setting fit(2014)Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology43:890-901.
Implementation science in school mental health: Key constructs and a proposed research agenda(2014)School Mental Health6:99-111.
From distal to proximal: Routine educational data monitoring in school-based mental health(2013)Advances in School Mental Health Promotion6:263-279.
“If it’s worth my time, I will make the time”: School-based providers’ decision-making about participating in an evidence-based psychotherapy consultation program(2013)Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research40:467-481.
Patterns and predictors of mental healthcare utilization in schools and other service sectors among adolescents at risk for depression(2013)School Mental Health5:155-165.
Importance and feasibility of an adapted set of strategies for implementing evidence-based mental health practices in schools(In Press)Journal of School Psychology