Doctoral Student to Measure Impact of Center for START Services

August 15, 2015

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Luke Kalb, a Ph.D. student from Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, recently received the National Institute of Health’s Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship. He will be using the award to measure the impact of Center for START Services’ crisis prevention and intervention services on the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and behavioral health needs.

Over the course of the fellowship, Mr. Kalb will conduct a secondary analysis of data gathered from START programs in several states. Using a prospective cohort design, he plans to:

  • To examine one year pre-post changes in the individuals’ psychiatric symptoms.

  • To identify one year pre-post changes in caregivers’ perceived support and access to mental health care.

  • To observe changes in the rate of psychiatric hospitalization before and after implementation of START.

Results from this study will be critical to improving access to mental health care among adults with DD/ASD, building the research base around a well-known community mental health program, and setting the stage for a future multisite randomized trial of START.

“Luke has a passion to pursue research questions that will document the impact the lives of people with IDD and behavioral health needs” states Dr. Joan Beasley, Director of the Center for START Services. “We are pleased and excited about this opportunity to join with Luke and Johns Hopkins on this vital research.”

Luther Kalb is a doctoral student in the Department of Mental Health, an NIMH Children's Mental Health Services Predoctoral Fellow. He is also a Wendy Klag Scholar. Luke’s research aims at improving the prevention, detection, and treatment of mental health problems among children and adolescents, with a particular focus on youth with a Developmental Disability. His contact information and current work can be viewed by clicking here.

The purpose of the Kirschstein-NRSA predoctoral fellowship is to enable promising predoctoral students to obtain individualized, mentored research training from outstanding faculty sponsors while conducting dissertation research in scientific health-related fields relevant to the missions of the participating NIH Institutes and Centers. The proposed mentored research training must reflect the applicant’s dissertation research project and is expected to clearly enhance the individual’s potential to develop into a productive, independent research scientist.

The Center for START Services was founded in 2009 at the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire to respond to a nationwide demand to provide this capacity building model through training. It provides technical assistance to address behavioral and health needs of individuals with IDD and their families. START aims to improve the lives of persons with IDD through exemplary services and supports that emphasize local, person-centered, positive, multidisciplinary, cost-effective and evidence-informed practices. For information, visit