About Us

Elementary school teacher smiling as she works with students in class
About us

Our team of researchers, educators, and communicators are dedicated to hastening the adoption of evidence-based practices by putting our products and solutions into as many hands as possible, quickly, and on a national scale.

Headshot of Dr.  Emily Tanner Smith
Executive Director

Emily Tanner-Smith, PhD, is the Executive Director of the HEDCO Institute and Thomson Professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology and Human Services. Emily provides strategic leadership for the HEDCO Institute in its research and outreach efforts. Emily is an applied research methodologist with expertise in meta-analysis and research synthesis for evidence-informed decision-making. Her scholarship focuses on the prevention and treatment of substance use, delinquency, mental health, and academic problems among youth.

Contact Emily with any inquiries about the mission and activities of the Institute.

Headshot of Jen Davis
Executive Assistant

Jen Davis, BS, BA, is the Executive Assistant for the HEDCO Institute. Jen brings administrative leadership and a diverse outlook having worked with key stakeholders in various sectors, including business, sports and entertainment, government, and higher education. Throughout her career, Jen has been an integral team member on new change initiatives for large, complex organizations.

Headshot of Dr. Elizabeth Day
Research Assistant Professor

Elizabeth Day, PhD, is a Research Assistant Professor with the HEDCO Institute at the College of Education, University of Oregon. Elizabeth focuses on analyzing and utilizing best practices for connecting research, practice, and policy. Her research focuses on understanding how to best bridge research, practice, and policy, with a particular focus on child and adolescent well-being and social policy at the state level.

Contact Elizabeth with any inquiries related to the use of research evidence in practice and policy.

Joe Golfen Headshot
Digital Communications and Marketing Specialist

Joe Golfen, MS, is the Digital Communications and Marketing Specialist at the HEDCO Institute. In this role, Joe is responsible for creating and enhancing communication products for the HEDCO Institute. Additionally, Joe oversees the management of the institute's branding, website, email communications, and social media channels.

Contact Joe with any media or communication inquiries.

Headshot of Sean Grant
Research Associate Professor

Sean Grant, DPhil, is a Research Associate Professor with the HEDCO Institute at the College of Education, University of Oregon. Sean specializes in methods for synthesizing research evidence and expert opinion on the effectiveness and implementation of practices, programs, and policies. Sean’s scholarship focuses on the generation, synthesis, and use of evidence from intervention research across the social, behavioral, and health sciences.

Contact Sean with any inquiries about our evidence synthesis methods.

Headshot of Maria
Research Assistant Professor

Maria Schweer-Collins, PhD, is a Research Assistant Professor with the HEDCO Institute. In this role, Maria is involved in every aspect of the research synthesis work conducted at the HEDCO Institute, from working with the HEDCO team, stakeholders, and the Advisory Board to identify topics, to coding studies, analyzing data, and writing and sharing out results. Maria’s research uses a prevention science framework to identify malleable intervention targets and tailor evidence-based interventions to prevent child maltreatment, justice involvement, and substance use.

Contact Maria with any inquiries related to conducting evidence reviews.

Kasia Steinka-Fry headshot
Senior Research Assistant

Katarzyna (Kasia) Steinka-Fry, MA, MPA, is a Senior Research Assistant with the HEDCO Institute. Kasia brings over 15 years of experience in the evaluation research in social and health science, with expertise in the areas of data management, systematic reviews, and meta-analysis. Her prior work focused on interventions for juvenile offenders, adolescent substance use, teen pregnancy prevention, school safety, school dropout, and academic achievement. 

Research Associate

Shaina Trevino, PhD, is a Research Associate with the HEDCO Institute. Shaina specializes in developing data science workflows for evidence synthesis data collection and analysis, as well as creating dynamic, reproducible research reports and interactive web apps. Through her work at the institute, she aims to bridge the research-to-practice gap by creating accessible research products for educational stakeholders. Shaina’s scholarship is focused on intergenerational transmission of self- and emotion regulation, youth well-being, and violence prevention.

Contact Shaina with any inquiries related to developing evidence synthesis workflows or web apps.


Advisory Board

Nicole Butler-Hooton

Equity and Instruction Coach
Bethel School District
Eugene, OR 

Chelsea Crawford 

Executive Director 
Nashville, TN 

Randy Kamphaus 

Senior Advisor, External Affairs
Professor, School Psychology 
Ballmer Institute for Children's Behavioral Health 
Portland, OR 

Alesha Moreno-Ramirez

Multilingual Support Division
California Department of Education
Clovis, CA

Aliza (Kiki) Moschella 

Head of School (5-8) Eliot School  
Boston Public Schools 
Boston, MA 


Mark Mulvihill 

InterMountain Education Service District 
Pendleton, OR 

Akisha Osei Sarfo  

Director of Research 
Council of the Great City Schools 
Washington, D.C.  

Lizbeth Ramirez

School Psychologist
Puyallup School District
Puyallup, WA

James Thurman 

Blueprint Literacy Coordinator 
Baltimore City Schools  
Baltimore, MD 

Tenneal Wetherell 

Chief of Staff
Office of the Director, Oregon Department of Education
Salem, OR


Advising Faculty

Headshot of Dr. David Liebowitz
Associate Professor

David Liebowitz, EdD, is an Assistant Professor of Education Methodology, Policy and Leadership at the University of Oregon. His research documents the challenges facing schools and their leaders. It attempts to generate strategies to improve leadership and organizational practices, particularly in schools serving low-income students.  

Gena Nelson headshot
Assistant Research Professor

Gena Nelson, PhD, is an Assistant Research Professor in the Center on Teaching and Learning. Her research interests include evidence-based practices to support students with learning disabilities, school-based mathematics interventions, special education teacher preparation, and strategies to support caregivers in home learning environments to enhance early learning opportunities for young children.

Headshot of Dr. John Seeley

John R. Seeley, PhD, is a professor in the Special Education and Clinical Sciences department and a core faculty member in the Prevention Science program. His research interests include emotional and behavioral disorders, school-based mental health intervention, research design and program evaluation, and digital health technology.


Headshot of Dr. Ilana Umansky
Associate Professor

Ilana Umansky, PhD, is an Associate Professor. Her work focuses on quantitative and longitudinal analysis of the educational opportunities and outcomes of immigrant students, emerging bilingual students, and students classified in school as English learners (ELs). She studies key EL policies including identification, service provision, and reclassification, focusing on issues of stratification and opportunity.



Affiliated Investigators

Nicholas Parr headshot
Affiliate Scientist

Nicholas J. Parr, PhD, MPH is Associate Director of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Evidence Synthesis Program, a longstanding and highly regarded national research synthesis program. His research to date has focused on advancing research synthesis and analysis methods to better characterize sources of variation in intervention effects, and on investigating risk factors for substance misuse and suicidality experienced by minority, underserved, and hard-to-reach populations.


Leslie Perdue
Leslie A. Perdue, M.P.H. 
Affiliate Scientist

Leslie Perdue, MPH, is an Affiliate Scientist with the HEDCO Institute at the College of Education, University of Oregon as well as a Senior Research Associate for the Kaiser Permanente Evidence-based Practice Center. She has conducted systematic reviews in support of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force for the past 14 years. Her recent work has focused on synthesizing systematic review results in interactive visualizations.