Erin Kelly, Ph.D.

Dr. Erin Kelly is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University.



Erin Kelly received her PhD from the Department of Psychology and Social Behavior at UC Irvine in 2012.  During her graduate career, she focused on how various public institutions dealt with mental illness and violence in the community (e.g., domestic violence) and within institutions (e.g., prisons and mental hospitals).  She was interested in both providers and recipients of care in these contexts as they can have reciprocal influences on each other.

Over the course of her post-doctoral studies, she has studied development of bottom-up strategies for improving the health and quality of life for those with serious mental illnesses and policy enactment of top-down strategies. At present, she is currently testing whether those with mental illnesses, in conjunction with a peer health navigator intervention, can leverage a personal health record to improve their communication with medical and mental health providers.  She is also the lead researcher on a project in development to evaluate outreach and engagement services for the seriously mentally ill.  In the future, she hopes to continue to work on policies and interventions that are designed to improve the lives of those with serious mental illness and for the providers who care for them. 

Research interests

Integrated health care and treatment of serious mental illness, institutional responses to violence, and contemporary public mental health policy.

selected publications

Starks, S., Kelly, E.L., Braslow, J., Meldrum, M., & Bourgois, P. (2020). Client outreach in Los Angeles County’s Assisted Outpatient Treatment Program: Outreach strategies and barriers to engagement. Research on Social Work Practice.  

Kelly, E.L., Davis, L.,Holguin, M., Goana, L., Pahwa, R., Lee, S., Pancake, L., Murch, L., Giambone, L., & Brekke, J.S. (2020). Practice-Based Research Networks in stakeholder-driven Social Work research. Research on Social Work Practice.

Kelly, E.L., Cauffman, E., & Novaco, R.W. (2019). Patterns of depression, anger, and offending among newly incarcerated juveniles. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 87(8), 693-705.

Kelly, E.L., Braslow, J., & Brekke, J. (2018). Using electronic health records to enhance a peer health navigator intervention: A randomized pilot test for individuals with serious mental illness and housing instability. Community Mental Health Journal54, 1172-1179

Starks, S., Arns, P., Padwa, H., Friedman, J., Marrow, J., Meldrum, M., Bromley, E., Kelly, E.L., Brekke, J., & Braslow, J. (2017). System Transformation under the California Mental Health Services Act: Implementation of Full Service Partnerships in L. A. County. Psychiatric Services68(6)587-95.

Meldrum, M., Kelly, E.L., Calderon, R., Brekke, J., & Braslow, J. (2016). Implementation status of Assisted Outpatient Treatment programs: A national survey. Psychiatric Services67(6), 630–635.