Kelsie Okamura

In Funded Scholars



Lead Evaluator
State of Hawaiʻi Department of Health Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division

Professional Bio

Dr. Okamura received her BA, MA, and PhD from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, under the mentorship of Dr. Brad Nakamura. She completed her postdoctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research. Her fellowship was a dual appointment between the University of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services. Dr. Okamura is passionate about children’s mental health and systematic efforts to ensure youth receive effective treatment.

Project Description

The RWJF Action Area to strengthen the integration of health services and systems is driven by increasing access to mental health services. Quality of services is an equally important aspect to mental health. Implementation science is an effective facilitator of evidence-based practice (EBP) use that acknowledges variation across systems. The project aims to synthesize youth state, county, and city system implementation strategies through a systematic scoping review. Strategies will be organized by the policy ecology and phases of implementation frameworks. The review includes steps to (1) state the purpose of the study, (2) identify relevant studies, (3) refine studies, (4) organize the data, (5) summarize the results, and (6) seek out consultation. Dr. Okamura will participate in systematic review training, present findings at national conferences, and publish findings in a peer-reviewed journal. Findings will also be shared with mental health program directors to inform EBP policy.

Why did you apply to New Connections

I applied to the New Connections program because the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shares similar values to my program of research. Specifically, one RWJF action area is to increase access to health services, including mental health. I firmly believe that effective mental health treatment through evidence-based practice and implementation science is the necessary facilitator for developing youth. The New Connections program is particularly suited to protect my time to understanding systematic efforts in implementing evidence-based practice for youth.

Research Interests

Dr. Okamura’s research interests intersect with clinical and health services research, with two major foci in youth psychopathology: assessment and treatment, and implementation science. Regarding the former, Dr. Okamura has studied youth internalizing disorders and has a specific interest in psychometrics related to youth anxiety and depression. Dr. Okamura is also interested in implementation science and translating youth evidence-based practices in community settings. Her research in this area has focused on measuring therapist knowledge and understanding its impact on evidence-based practices. More recently, Dr. Okamura’s research has begun to explore system-related implementation including a national scoping review of implementation efforts and developing cost-metrics to serve large systems of care.


Becker-Haimes, E. M., Williams, N. J., Okamura, K. H., & Beidas, R. S. (under review). Interactions between clinician and organizational characteristics as predictors of evidence-based practice use. Implementation Science.

Okamura, K. H., Skriner, L. C., Becker-Haimes, E. M., Adams, D. R., Becker, S., Kratz, H. E., Jackson, K., Berkowitz, S., Zinny, A., Cliggitt, L., & Beidas, R. S. (under review). Perceptions of evidence-based practice among consumers receiving Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.

Okamura, K. H., Orimoto, T. E., Nakamura, B. J., Chang, B., Chorpita, B. F., & Beidas, R. S. (under review). A history of youth psychosocial treatment outcome literature: Looking back to move forward. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.

Okamura, K. H., Hee, P. J., Jackson, D., & Nakamura, B. J. (under review). Differentiating therapist knowledge of evidence-based practice: An exploratory examination in youth community mental health. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research.

Kreig, A. W., Okamura, K. H., & Higa-McMillan, C. K. (under review). Identifying situational determinants of social anxiety using a naive Bayesian classification algorithm: Implications for research and practice. EPJ Data Science.

Stewart, R. E., Becker Haimes, E. M., Maddox, B. B., Okamura, K. H., Wolk, C. L., & Beidas, R. S. (in press). Test your implementation science IQ! The Behavior Therapist.

Becker Haimes, E., Okamura, K. H., Benjamin Wolk, C., Rubin, R., Evans, A., & Beidas, R. (2017). Predictors of clinician use of exposure therapy in community mental health settings. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 49, 88-94. DOI: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2017.04.002

Okamura, K. H., Ebesutani, C., Bloom, R., Higa-McMillan, C. K., Nakamura, B. J. & Chorpita, B. F. (2016) Differences in internalizing symptoms across specific ethnic minority groups: An analysis across Chinese American, Filipino American, Japanese American, Native Hawaiian, and White youth. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25(11), 3353-3366. DOI: 10.1007/s10826-016-0488-4

Burgess, A. M., Nakamura, B. J., Chang, J., Slavin, S., Shimabukuro, S., Izmirian, S. C., & Okamura, K. H. (2016). Evidence-based practice implementation within a theory of planned behavior framework. Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research. DOI: 10.1007/s11414-016-9523-x

Burgess, A. M., Okamura, K. H., Izmirian, S. C., & Nakamura, B. J. (2016). Therapist attitudes towards evidence-based practice: A joint factor analysis. Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research. DOI: 10.1007/s11414-016-9517-8

Okamura, K.H., Nakamura, B. J., Mueller, C., Hayashi, K., & Higa-McMillan, C. K. (2016). An exploratory factor analysis of the knowledge of evidence-based services questionnaire. Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research, 43(2), 214-232. DOI: 10.1007/s11414-013-9384-5

Nakamura, B. J. Selbo-Bruns, A., Okamura, K. H., Chang, J. P., Slavin, L., & Shimabukuro, S. (2014). Developing a systematic evaluation approach for training programs within a train-the-trainer model for youth cognitive behavior therapy. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 53, 10-19. DOI:

Nakamura, B. J., Mueller, C. W., Higa-McMillan, C. K., Okamura, K. H., Chang, J. P., Slavin, L., & Shimabukuro, S. (2013) Engineering youth service system infrastructure: Hawaiʻi’s continued efforts at large-scale implementation through knowledge management strategies. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. DOI: 10.1080/15374416.2013.812039

Price, M., Ebesutani, C., Higa-McMillan, C. K., Okamura, K. H., Nakamura, B. J., Chorpita, B. F., & Weisz, J. R. (2013). Symptom differentiation of anxiety and depression across youth development and clinic-referred/non-referred samples: An examination of competing factor structures of Child Behavior Checklist DSM-oriented scales. Development and Psychopathology, 25, 1005-1015. DOI: 10.1017/S0954579413000333

Ward, A., Regan, J., Chorpita, B., Rodriguez. A., Starace, N., Okamura, K. H., Daleiden, E., Bearman, S.K., Weisz, J, & the Research Network on Youth Mental Health. (2012). Tracking evidence-based practice with youth : Validity of the MATCH and standard manual consultation records. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 42(1), 44-55. DOI: 10.1080/15374416.2012.700505

Ebesutani, C. K., Okamura, K. H., Higa-McMillan, C. K., & Chorpita, B. F. (2011). A psychometric evaluation of the positive affect and negative affect schedule for children – parent report in a school sample. Psychological Assessment, 23(2), 406-416. DOI: 10.1037/a0022057.

Nakamura, B. J., Higa-McMillan, C. K., Okamura, K. H., & Shimabukuro, S. (2011). Knowledge of and attitudes towards evidence-based practices in community child mental health practitioners. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 38(4), 287-300. DOI: 10.1007/s10488-011-0351-2.

Chorpita, B. F., Daleiden, E. L., Ebesutani, C. E., Young, J., Becker, K. D., Nakamura, B. J., Phillips, L., Hershberger, A. M., Stumpf, R., Trent, L., Smith, R., Okamura, K. H., & Starace, N. K. (2011). Evidence based treatments for children and adolescents: An updated review of efficacy and clinical utility. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 18(2), 154-172. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2850.2011.01247.x.

The Details
  • New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
  • Award Year: 2018
  • RWJF Team/Portfolio: Strengthening Integration of Health Services and Systems
  • Project Name: A systematic review of evidence-based practice implementation in youth mental health service systems

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