Center for Behavioral Health Research and Training

UCF School of Social Work

The Center for Behavioral Health Research and Training (CBHRT), established in spring 2017, is the first center established in the School of Social Work and the newest center established in the College of Health Professions and Sciences at the University of Central Florida.


The Center for Behavioral Health Research and Training does foster collaborative partnerships and cross-fertilization of mental health professionals, health care providers and behavioral health researchers whose united expertise creates cutting-edge solutions for improving the health and well-being of diverse populations. Patients and mental health consumers are often faced with a broad range of complex clinical and behavioral health problems, compounded by health disparities.


The Center for Behavioral Health Research and Training expands expertise and scientific discovery in evidence-based prevention and clinical- and population-based research to improve best practices and behavioral health outcomes for local, national and global communities.


Provide direct training and core support for professional training in behavioral health topics

Support services providers in program evaluation and in conducting practice research by teaching how to internally assess their own functioning outcomes

Provide service providers information on research evidence to apply to their local practices

Provide education on research, data collection and analysis, and access to evidence-based programs and practices

Grants and Training Areas

Faculty members associated with the CBHRT conduct training and research in a variety of behavioral health topics aligned with Florida’s State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) for 2017-2021.

2020 Award Recipients

PICo-PI(s)Project Title Amount
Susanny Beltran, Ph.D., MSW Morris Beato, P.T., DPT, GCS and Norma Conner, Ph.D., RN., FNAP Central Florida Nursing Home Staff’s Perceptions and Experiences Collaborating with Hospice. $5,000
Keith Brazendale, Ph.D., MSc Ana Leon, Ph.D., LCSW Investigating the Underlying Mechanisms of Disparities in Sleep Deficiencies in Children. $5,000
Julia O'Connor, Ph.D., MSW, MPH Eric Schrimshaw, Ph.D., MS Exploring Protective-Factors for Sexual Violence Perpetration Among College-Aged Men. $5,000
Asli Yalim, Ph.D., MSW Katia Ferdowsi, MD, MPH

Students: Kenan Sualp, MSW (doc. student) & Carli Meyerson (GRA)
Understanding Barriers to Implementation of a Refugee Mental Health Assessment for Newly
Arrived Refugees in Central Florida.


  • Health Equity
    • Health Policy & Literacy
    • Cancer Disparities
  • Maternal & Child Health
    • Pediatric Health & Mental Health
  • Injury, Safety & Violence
    • Violence Prevention
    • Trauma-Informed Care
    • Secondary Traumatic Stress
  • Chronic Diseases & Conditions
    • End of Life Care
    • Chronic Illness in Children
    • Dementia
  • Behavioral Health
    • Substance Abuse Prevention & Intervention
    • Suicide Prevention, Intervention &Postvention
    • Evidence-Based Practices (TF-CBT, MI)
    • Solution-Focused Practices
    • Culturally Sensitive Practices for Diverse Population(LGBTQ+, Disability, Latino, Deaf & Hard of Hearing)
    • Loss, Grief & Bereavement
    • Aging
  • Sexually Transmitted & Infectious Diseases
    • Sexual Health
  • Healthy Weight, Nutrition & Physical Activity
    • Obesity, Stigma

Research Assistants

Interdisciplinary collaboration is key to research! That’s why our Research Assistants (RAs) and Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) come from different health and behavioral health course of studies.

RAs and GRAs support faculty with research-related tasks, while gaining valuable research experience. Are you interested in becoming an RA or GRA? Or are you faculty needing assistance with research? Email: [email protected] for more info


Marissa McNeil
Graduate Assistant
Clinical Mental Health Counseling


Serenea Vinci
Graduate Assistant
Social Work


Ridha Anjum
Biomedical Sciences; Minor: Psychology


Christopher Cesiro
Sports and Exercise Science (Human Performance)


Cleopatra Elshiekh
Biomedical Sciences


Tirzah Fernandez


Marie Hamel
Burnett Honors College


Fatima Hussain
Interdisciplinary Studies


Jenny Magram


Victoria Orr
Psychology (Neuroscience)


Aartie Pooani
Health Sciences (Pre-Clinical)


Angelika Santaliz
Biomedical Sciences; Minor: Medical Sociology


Carly Shasho


Hunter Trinh

Get Involved

The Center is a collaborative workspace and is here to support faculty, students, and community partners. We work with students and researchers from all disciplines to find synergies and advance behavioral health.  If you are interested in joining our team, please contact us.

Interested in Grants or Trainings?

If you are interested in collaborating on a grant or hosting a training for your organization, please fill out this form and we will respond to your inquiry in a timely manner.


Kimberley Gryglewicz's profile picture at UCF

Kimberley Gryglewicz, Ph.D., MSW

Associate Professor, Center Co-Director
Center for Behavioral Health Research and Training, Social Work
Location: HS I Room: 249
Phone: 407-823-2954
Susanny Beltran's profile picture at UCF

Susanny Beltran, Ph.D., MSW

Assistant Professor, Center Co-Director
Center for Behavioral Health Research and Training, Social Work
Location: HS I Room: 244
Phone: 407-823-4662
Lisa Borntrager's profile picture at UCF

Lisa Borntrager, MSW

Center for Behavioral Health Research and Training, Social Work
Location: Barbara Ying Center Room: 125
Lauren Taylor's profile picture at UCF

Lauren Taylor

Administrative Support
Center for Behavioral Health Research and Training, Social Work

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