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Leadership Research Institute

Centerstone Research Institute

Richard C. Shelton, MD - Chief Medical Officer and Chief Executive Officer, Centerstone Research Institute

Richard Shelton is the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Medical Officer for Centerstone Research Institute. He attended medical school at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. He became a resident and Chief Resident at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center (now the Longwood Program), a teaching hospital of the Harvard Medical School. After residency, he was a research fellow at the National Institutes of Mental Health Intramural Program in Washington, D.C. before entering the faculty of Vanderbilt University in 1985. There he became the James G. Blakemore Research Professor and Vice Chair for Clinical Research in the Department of Psychiatry. He also became a professor in the Departments of Psychology and Pharmacology.

Shelton joined the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in February 2012 as the Charles Byron Ireland Professor, Vice Chair for Research, and head of the Mood Disorders Research Program. He has served on NIH study sections and was the chair of the Adult Psychopathology and Disorders of Aging review group. He has also actively served as a teacher and mentor; he has won the Excellence in Teaching Award from the residents of the Vanderbilt Department of Psychiatry four times and the residents of UAB Department of Psychiatry twice. He was recognized by the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill for his service to persons with serious and persistent mental illnesses with the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award in 1994 and 2012. He also received the Dorothea Dix Professional Service Award from the Tennessee Association of Mental Health Centers in 2007 in recognition of his impact on the practice of Psychiatry in the State of Tennessee. Shelton’s research focuses on the development of new treatments for depression and bipolar disorder (experimental therapeutics), including the identification of new targets for treatment, prevention of serious mental illnesses, testing novel therapies, and identifying biomarkers of both disease and treatment response.

Marlene Alvarez - Research Institute Manager of Facilities & Operations

Marlene Alvarez joined Centerstone Research Institute in 2012 to serve as the financial manager, after her retirement from the State of Tennessee where she worked in the Department of Mental Health for 24 years as the Director of Operations. Prior to this role, she worked in the Department of Finance and Administration. She brings to the Research Institute her expertise in the financial management of grants and contracts along with knowledge of other fiscal challenges that face the Research Institute and other non-profit organizations. Alvarez holds a master’s degree in Psychology from Vanderbilt University. She was named Research Institute of Facilities & Operations in 2017.

Kathryn Mathes, PhD, MS, PNP, BSN - Vice President for Research & Evaluation

Kathryn Mathes is the Vice President of Research & Evaluation. She has been with the Research Institute since 2007 and has functioned in the roles of Senior Program Evaluator, Director of Evaluation and since 2012, VP of Research & Evaluation. In this role, she provides leadership, management, supervision, and oversight for all program evaluations and clinical research protocols and is part of the Centerstone Research Institute Leadership Team. Mathes leads all activities associated with Centerstone Clinical Model evaluation with a particular interest in designing evaluation systems and protocols that help to evolve clinical models, inform clinical decision making, provide insight into progress made toward desired client outcomes and improves the implementation process. She has expertise in qualitative and mixed-methods evaluation designs that are gender-responsive, participatory and utilization focused.

Mathes earned a PhD from Cornell University’s Department of Human Service Studies, majoring in Program Evaluation and Health Care Administration, she holds a MS in Community Health and Nursing Education, a BS in Nursing and a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Certification. Over her 36-year work history she has served active duty in the US Army Nurse Corp; worked as a floor nurse; a pediatric nurse practitioner; a community health nurse; a nursing faculty member, and she owned/operated an evaluation consulting firm, BECS, Inc.

She is a member of the American Evaluation Association where she is active in the Feminist Issues in Evaluation, Program Theory, Mental Health Services and Diversity Topical Interest Groups. She won the 2014 Centerstone Research Institute CEO Appreciation Award for Outstanding Performance & Commitment and the 2015 Howard T. McClung Award for Excellence in Leadership. In 2018, Mathes completed her Executive Leadership Certification from Cornell University.

Frank Stevens - Vice President of Informatics

Frank Stevens is the Vice President of Clinical Informatics. He has been with the organization since 1995. He ensures that electronic systems support the provision and review of clinical care. 

He trained as a researcher and a clinician, graduated from the Ohio State University in PhD with a degree in Psychology and is clinically licensed in Indiana. He is trained in process improvement. He is a member of the American Psychological Association and Health Information Management Systems Society.

Ashley Newton, MPS, PMP - Vice President of the Center for Clinical Excellence

Ashley Newton, MPS, PMP is Vice President of Center for Clinical Excellence of the Centerstone Research Institute. Ashley served as interim director of CCE before her role as Vice President, leading CCE through a period of transformation and unprecedented growth of both staff and projects.

In her current role, Ashley is charged with leading clinical projects that will advance Centerstone’s Noble Purpose — delivering care that changes people’s lives. She leads all the clinical transformation efforts including identification, development, implementation and evolution activities in three separate areas: clinical models, processes and pathways.

Newton joined Centerstone in 2006 and has previously held both clinical and leadership roles. Prior to joining CCE, she developed and implemented a community-based therapy model intended to provide care to rural areas where clinics did not exist. She also developed and implemented a high-fidelity community-based model serving young adults with substance use disorders.

Newton holds a bachelor’s in psychology and a master's degree in professional studies and strategic leadership from Middle Tennessee State University. Ashley is a certified ACRA-ACC clinical supervisor and a Project Management Professional (PMP), the highest certification for project management.

Susan Rivers, PhD - Execitive Director and Chief Scientist, iThrive Games

Susan Rivers, PhD, serves as the Executive Director and Chief Scientist at iThrive Games. She executes the overall strategy and direction for the organization. Adopting a creative leadership style, she supports the talented and passionate iThrive Games team in their collective efforts to use evidence-based games to help teens thrive. A social psychologist, she uses her expertise in emotional intelligence and designing social and emotional learning interventions to inform the development of game-based interventions and establish a collaborative and innovative network of teens, game developers, psychologists, affective scientists, funders and investors.

Rivers has published extensively in scholarly journals and books, is the co-author of several curricula on social and emotional learning and speaks at national and international conferences and events. She earned her BA from Skidmore College and her PhD from Yale University.

Board of Directors
Janet Ayers, Chair
David J. Melby, Vice-Chair
Tom Mahler, Immediate Past Chair
Jonathon Morphett, Secretary
Gwen Watts, Executive Liaison
Jennifer Bencie, MD
Gil Palmer
Nedda Pollack
A John Rose
Joan Sivley
Deborah Taylor Tate
Robert J. Williams, Ph.D