$425 million gift from Connie and Steve Ballmer launches new institute for behavioral health

Launched with a $425 million gift from Connie and Steve Ballmer, the University of Oregon’s Ballmer Institute has made considerable progress toward the goal of expanding the children’s behavioral health workforce.

The Ballmer Institute has delivered a new UO micro-credential in child behavioral health serving Eugene and Portland area educators for a second year, received the 2023 Distinguished Friend to Behavior Therapy Award for groundbreaking work to create a national model for a bachelor’s-level specialty training program in children’s behavioral health, and hired new faculty and staff, including Executive Director and Knight Chair and Professor of Psychology, Dr. Katie McLaughlin. Dr. McLaughlin holds a joint doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology and Epidemiology from Yale and joins the institute from Harvard University, where she was a tenured faculty member.

In this program, two members of the Ballmer Institute’s leadership team describe work in progress, plans for welcoming rising juniors to the UO Portland campus this fall (2024), and ways this new undergraduate major will provide better support for the children of Oregon.

The principal of a local school that already uses some effective made-in-Oregon strategies to help students with special needs will ask the first question.

Speakers: Randy Kamphaus is the Senior Advisor for External Affairs at the Ballmer Institute. He previously served as dean of the colleges of education at the University of Oregon and at Georgia State University, and as a distinguished research professor at the University of Georgia.

His current work employs universal screening measures in schools to identify children with early indications of behavioral and emotional risk, to provide surveillance information for deploying social-emotional learning and secondary preventive interventions, and to monitor children’s behavioral health status. He earned a BA in psychology from Quincy University, an MA in psychology from University of Illinois, and a PhD in educational psychology from the University of Georgia.

Justin Radabaugh is the principal of Lane School in Eugene. Lane School provides intensive interventions and supports to students with social, emotional, and/or behavioral needs. It offers high quality academic and social-emotional instruction that empowers students to develop the skills needed to be successful in a less restrictive setting in their home districts.

Justin Radabaugh earned a BS in communication disorders and sciences and an MEd in special education from University of Oregon.

Courtney Westling has spent the past two decades working to address systemic challenges facing children and families. Her experience includes roles in developing stakeholder engagement, coalitions, legislative strategy, and public policies. Prior to joining Ballmer Institute, she served as the Director of Government Relations for Portland Public Schools, working with local, state and federal officials and government representatives.

She previously served as Legislative Director for the Oregon Health Authority and as a legislative assistant for U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley. She earned an MPA from the George Washington University and a BA in political science and public relations from Syracuse University.


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