Introducing this year’s Graduate in Residence, Robyn L. Shepardson, Ph.D.!
Dr. Shepardson is a clinical research psychologist with the VA Center for Integrated Healthcare (CIH). Her program of research aims to increase access to, and engagement in, evidence-based mental and behavioral healthcare that incorporates Veterans’ treatment preferences. Her primary focus is developing, testing, and implementing brief interventions for anxiety and depression for Veterans seen in primary care. In 2022, she completed a 5-year health services research Career Development Award in which she developed, refined, and evaluated a brief, transdiagnostic, cognitive-behavioral, modular anxiety intervention designed to be acceptable to Veterans and feasible for providers to deliver in the Primary Care Behavioral Health model. She is currently the principal investigator on an ongoing multisite randomized clinical trial to evaluate this anxiety intervention compared to Primary Care Behavioral Health usual care. She is also conducting a pilot study of a transdiagnostic group intervention based on the Unified Protocol.
Dr. Shepardson’s other major line of research examines how Primary Care Behavioral Health can support Veterans in self-management of mental health concerns as the first step within a stepped care model. She conducted a pilot study of a self-help intervention for pandemic stress for Veterans with depression or PTSD who were not engaged in treatment and is now working on a self-help intervention for returning Veterans transitioning out of the military. Dr. Shepardson is also interested in identifying ways to incorporate behavioral medicine (sleep, pain, weight loss, health behavior change, adjustment to illness, etc.) and sexual health (erectile dysfunction, sexual risk reduction, etc.) into primary care behavioral health services. She has conducted research on sexual health, sexual risk behavior, and health behaviors including alcohol and hookah tobacco use.
Dr. Shepardson is a licensed clinical psychologist who sees patients part-time in the Primary Care Behavioral Health setting. She is co-editor of the journal Families, Systems, & Health, a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal publishing in the areas of health, systems, and families science, with a particular focus on integrated care. Dr. Shepardson supervises psychology interns and fellows for both research and clinical work. She co-leads a large lab with research assistants across three sites. She is an active member of the Collaborative Family Healthcare Association.