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Interdisciplinary Innovator to Join the Medical Social Sciences Department at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine

By: Julie Bednark – February 17, 2023

Headshot of Jessica Lee Shleider


Jessica Lee Schleider, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology  at Stony Brook University and founding director of the Lab for Scalable Mental Health, will join the faculty in the Department of Medical Social Sciences  (MSS) at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (FSM) as an associate professor effective September 1, 2023.

Schleider’s paradigm shifting research on brief and scalable interventions for depression and anxiety in young people is internationally recognized. Importantly, her work seeks to reduce structural barriers to mental health access and increase equity given the global mental health crisis.

As a scholar, Schleider’s research is an exceptional fit for the interdisciplinary environment of FSM and MSS as she works at the intersection of digital health, public health, dissemination and implementation science, and clinical psychology. The department of Medical Social Sciences harnesses the tremendous power of the social sciences, such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, and economics, to create and implement innovations that improve the health of community and society equitably.

“Northwestern, particularly MSS, is  a research playground for folks doing applied, high impact work who are aiming to reimagine and reshape systems of healthcare. The large-scale, high-impact, cross-sector work is incredibly appealing, and I am excited for the opportunity to contribute and collaborate,” said Schleider.

Schleider has had continuous NIH funding since 2015 and has secured more than $6 million in awards to date. She is one of only three psychologists to ever receive an NIH Director’s Early Independence Award and the first psychosocial intervention scientist to do so. 

Schleider has published nearly one hundred scientific articles and book chapters and is the creator or co-creator of seven open-access, single-session mental health programs, which have reached >30,000 teens and adults to date. Based on her lab's evidence-based mental health programs, she wrote a self-help workbook, The Growth Mindset Workbook for Teens (New Harbinger). She is also co-editor of the Oxford Guide to Brief and Low-Intensity Interventions for Children and Young People (Oxford University Press). Most recently, she also wrote a nonfiction book, Little Treatments, Big Effects (forthcoming, 2023; Little Brown Book Group) on how single-session interventions and meaningful moments can transform mental health.

Her research is regularly featured in media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic, and in 2020 she was selected as one of Forbes' 30 Under 30 in Healthcare. A few of her other recent awards include: The International Society for Research on Internet Interventions Rising Star Award (2022); the Digital Innovation Award from the Association of Child and Adolescent Mental Health; and the President's New Researcher Award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (2019).

Schleider completed a clinical community psychology internship at Yale University in 2017 and earned her PhD in psychology in the clinical science program at Harvard University in 2018. 

“We selected Jessica for this position based on her extraordinary achievements, boldness of her vision and its alignment with our strategic objectives as a department, and the exceptional regard in which she is reviewed in the field” said Rinad Beidas, PhD chair of MSS and Ralph Seal Paffenbarger Professor at Northwestern.

“We are thrilled for Jessica to join our faculty and to collaborate across FSM including partnerships with the Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies and the Center for Dissemination and Implementation Science. Her paradigm shifting scholarship to design, test, and disseminate brief, barrier-free interventions to reduce mental health problems at scale is an excellent fit for our mission-driven department. Jessica will find the collaborative, collegial, and fertile research environment to be a highly hospitable home for her vision and growth as a leading scientist and faculty member at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine.”

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