Through education and outreach, our mission is to increase participant diversity and engagement in mental health research and to empower community members affected by mental health challenges via their collaboration and personal contributions.
Our vision is to bridge the gap between researchers and individuals whose lives are impacted by mental illness in order to pave the way for a more inclusive environment where mental health research can serve and benefit everyone.
We are a group of mental health researchers, clinicians, community members, students, and volunteers with an interest in promoting mental health and mental health research. Click on each of the profiles below to learn more about our team!
Dr. Katy Thakkar
Katy Thakkar (she/her) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University and licensed Psychologist in the state of Michigan. Her research is focused on understanding causes for the symptoms of schizophrenia and related conditions and understanding what factors promote wellbeing in individuals that experience psychosis. Katy developed MSU Mental Health Research Connect to promote the exchange of knowledge and collaboration between academic scholars and individuals in the community and to facilitate community engagement in mental health research.
Catherine Adams, LMSW, ACSW, CAADC, received her MSW from Michigan State University. She worked for over 30 years for the Clinton-Eaton-Ingham Community Mental Health Board in Lansing, MI as a senior clinician and clinical manager serving consumers living with mental health distress and their families. Ms. Adams has served as Project Director for multiple national research endeavors exploring the beneﬁts of early intervention following a ﬁrst episode of psychosis. Ms. Adams is also the Owner and Clinical Director of ETCH (Early Treatment and Cognitive Health) which provides RAISE-NAVIGATE Coordinated Specialty Care interventions to young adults experiencing a first episode of psychosis and their families. Ms. Adams is the Consultant/Trainer for First Episode Psychosis programs in the state of Michigan. Cathy is excited to be a part of this exciting endeavor to create a collaborative approach to research in the mental health field and believes that the voices of those with lived experience are essential to successful endeavors and meaningful outcomes.
Dr. Kaston Anderson-Carpenter
Dr. Kaston Anderson-Carpenter (he/him/his) is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Michigan State University. A behavioral psychologist by training, he has master’s degrees in public health, applied behavior analysis, and experimental psychology. His research interests are in addiction and health equity in underserved and marginalized populations. He is also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral and is licensed in the state of Michigan.
At Michigan State University, he is a Core Faculty in the MSU Consortium for Multicultural Psychology Research, the MSU Center for Sexual and Gender Minority Health, and the MSU Center on Gender in Global Context. Additionally, he is an Affiliate Faculty in the MSU Institute of Public Policy and Social Research. Currently, Dr. Anderson-Carpenter serves as Guest Editor for three scientific journals and is on the Editorial Board for a fourth. Moreover, he is a member of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) Practice Board.
Dr. Anderson-Carpenter is an award-wining and sought-after scholar, providing expertise on several national and international projects. Some of these projects include: (1) community engagement and health outcomes for the kink community; (2) HIV, substance use, and Hepatitis C in First Nations and Métis peoples in Saskatchewan, Canada; and (3) measuring minority stress among transgender adults. His work has been featured on radio and television, and he has given talks to both national and international audiences.
One of Dr. Anderson-Carpenter’s projects examines the psychosocial and behavioral impacts of COVID-19 on adults across five countries. This study is one of the largest, if not the largest, study of its kind, and it includes over 2,500 adults from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Spain, and India. One of his recent COVID-19 papers examines racial and political disparities between Black and White Michiganders, which has been published in the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.
Jessica is a lab manager in Dr. Katy Thakkar’s research lab, and her research focuses on how understanding vision and eye movements may help us understand the symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. She has Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Neuroscience from MSU and hopes to continue on to graduate school to get a PhD in Clinical Science.
MSU Mental Health Research Connect is important to her because it not only allows people to engage with the science behind mental health, but it also reminds researchers that community members are, and should always be, the heart of our research.
A fun fact about Jessica is that she once went on a 15-mile hike in the Scottish Highlands with a group of total strangers!
I am a young professional in the East Lansing area and a former MSU student. I am motivated to be involved in this initiative because I feel that mental health resources should be accessible for all communities and hopefully remove the stigma around mental health in various communities. Something I enjoy is Cosplaying my favorite Anime characters.
Patrick Kaufmann is currently a Supported Education and Employment Peer Specialist with the First Episode Psychosis Navigate Team and the Supervisor for the Wellness Team, at InterAct of Michigan in Kalamazoo. He has served at InterAct for 9 years and also worked at a Clubhouse, as a Family Support Partner, and as director of a peer-run non-profit. He has utilized his personal experience as someone in recovery who has been diagnosed with a psychosis related illness to support his peers and create positive change. Patrick is inspired by the power of research and its potential to transform systems and enforce the rights of people who have been diagnosed. He believes that highlighting the attributes of people with lived experience will ultimately end stigma. By joining the MSU Mental Health Research Connect project he hopes to forward the progress of systems and eventually connect to additional research projects. Patrick is currently writing his memoirs and hopes to publish his story by 2022.
Megan Mikhail is a PhD student in the clinical science program at MSU. Their research focuses on eating disorders – in particular, how biological factors (such as genes and hormones) interact with psychosocial risk to give rise to eating disorders and other mental health concerns. They are passionate about addressing stigma around mental illness and increasing access to mental health research and care, especially for people from marginalized and disadvantaged populations.
Lauren is currently a sophomore in the Lyman Briggs College through MSU. She is studying neuroscience and minoring in entrepreneurship and innovation, and one day hopes to attend medical school and become a psychiatrist. Lauren is a passionate mental health advocate and is thrilled to be working as a research assistant on the MHRC project. In her free time she enjoys practicing yoga and cooking!
Han Wang is currently a software engineer working for a machine learning start-up in Silicon Valley. He holds a M.S. and B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering and a B.S. in Psychology. His favorite things to do are traveling, exploring new cities, and doing work outside of a coffee shop. He joined MSU Mental Health Research Connect to help give a voice to members of the community in research and to create a platform to connect members of the community and researchers.