Mary M McKernan

Mary M McKernan, PhD

  • ADJUNCT PROFESSOR | Psychiatry

Professor of Psychiatry and Preventive and Community Medicine

Head, Division of Mental Health Services Research

With a strong clinical background as a youth and family mental health provider, Dr. McKay has received substantial federal funding to design, pilot-test, refine and examine innovative, community-collaborative service-delivery strategies to meet the needs mental health and HIV prevention needs of poverty-impacted and traditionally under-served communities. Grounded in a community collaborative approach to research, Dr. McKay's research has gained prominence both nationally and internationally, where she has consulted on a wide range of projects.

One area in which Dr. McKay has developed a substantial body of research findings includes engagement practices to improve mental health service use and acceptability in poverty-affected urban areas. Many impoverished urban areas have historically lacked adequate, culturally acceptable access to mental health services. Dr. McKay has worked closely with New York State Office of Mental Health, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the National Institute of Mental Health to create evidence-based engagement interventions and to test models of dissemination and training for mental health professionals in engagement best practices.

Additionally, one of her most successful research projects is the CHAMP (Collaborative HIV Prevention and Adolescent Mental Health Project) Family Program which is a collaborative effort between university and community members to provide HIV prevention and mental health promotion services in urban, low income communities. This project began in Chicago and is now being replicated in New York City, South Africa, and Trinidad. Dr. McKay is also now embarking on a new project that utilizes the same collaborative model to provide HIV prevention and mental health promotion services in family homeless shelters in New York City.

Dr. McKay's work would not be possible were it not for the support of the National Institute of Mental Health, to which she is very grateful, nor would any of this work have been possible without the extraordinary dedication, commitment, and hard work of the community members, students, fellows, and faculty colleagues with whom Dr. McKay has worked in Chicago, New York City, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, and elsewhere; To them she is especially indebted and thankful.

Current Grants

5/1/07 - 4/30/09
    World Trade Center Family and Social Network Service Expansion
    Robin Hood Foundation

9/1/07 - 8/30/09
    Enhancing outpatient medical care for HIV+ adults
    National Institute of Mental Health (R21 MH 081729)
    Principal Investigator

9/1/06 - 8/30/11
    Developing center children's services research center
    National Institute of Mental Health (P20)
    Co-Director of Principal Research Core (PI: Hoagwood)

9/1/06 - 8/30/11
    Family groups for urban youth with disruptive behavior
    National Institute of Mental Health (R01 MH072649)
    Principal Investigator

9/15/05 - 6/30/09
    Family-based HIV & drug abuse prevention for homeless youth
    National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01 DA018574)
   ncipal Investigator

5/15/05 - 3/30/08
    CHAMP+: Supporting perinatally HIV-infected youth and their families
    National Institute of Mental Health (R34 MHO72382)
    Principal Investigator

4/1/04 - 3/31/08
    Community partnerships to prevent urban youth health risks
    National Institute of Mental Health (R01 MH069934)
    Principal Investigator

4/1/04 - 3/31/09   
    Parents as collaborators in urban child mental health
    National Institute of Mental Health (K24 MH070792)
    Principal Investigator

11/30/03 - 12/01/08
    Psychiatric & Behavioral Outcomes for HIV-affected youth
    National Institute of Mental Health (R01 MH63636)
    Co-Investigator (P.I. - Mellins)