Quadrangle Spring 2023

(From left) Maya Marder, Joy Akindulureni, Kathryn Leskis, Crystal Newman, and Katie Duitsman work for the Illinois Neurobehavioral Assessment Laboratory. (Photo by Carly Conway)

INBAL can also help researchers refine various aspects of their study. For example, if someone is doing a study of anxiety and they believe it might impact working memory, INBAL can help identify the best way to test that. The goal was to make the lab both a sponsor of and an advocate for cutting-edge research. Currently funded projects aim to measure and assess critical qualities necessary for the advancement of pioneering and ethical science and involve collaboration with domestic and international partners such as the National Center for Principled Leadership and Research Ethics (NCPRE),

by mid-December 2020, 90 clients had completed nearly 225 screenings. It was an early display of innovation from a university initiative that was designed to be different from day one. For starters, INBAL is located in a modern suite in the M2 building downtown Champaign, with lots of natural light and parking. And it owes its genesis to a new campus initiative called the Investment for Growth Program, which, in fiscal year

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the NOMIS Foundation.

We wanted to bring our tools to people who didn’t necessarily have them and support research on campus by helping them in whatever way we could.

2019, provided several million dollars to help a number of

“There’s also a wonderful program based in Michigan called Mood Lifters, which is a peer-led psychological treatment program for

innovative projects get off the ground.

In addition to Leskis, the current INBAL staff includes Crystal Newman , supervising clinical psychologist; Katie Duitsman , clinical psychometrist; as well as a few graduate student clinicians. It’s a relatively small team, but they hope to expand in the near future. The lab is the brainchild of three different faculty members from the Department of Psychology at Illinois: Wendy Heller , executive associate dean for social and behavioral sciences in the College of LAS;

wellbeing, depression, and anxiety,” said Heller. The program was founded by LAS alumna Patty Deldin (MA, ’90; PhD, ’96, psychology), and INBAL is hoping to bring it to the local community. All of those innovations could change the future of clinical analysis. But Leskis joined the program because she wanted to make a difference in the community, here and now. That passion was born out of her experience in the private sector. For more than a decade, she worked in healthcare, where she often saw a gap between those who needed assessment and those who were able to receive it. “A lot of managed healthcare companies are becoming increasingly restrictive about their psychological testing policies,” said Leskis. This means that those needing testing often face a long list of preauthorization requirements and other barriers that make it difficult to obtain. INBAL provides another option for those needing help, and a powerful resource for the organizations serving them. Jeanne Kramer , director of The Autism Program at the University of Illinois, is one of those who relies on INBAL’s clinical expertise. “What makes it beneficial is

Neal Cohen , then director of the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute; and Brent Roberts , who directed the Center for Social and Behavioral Science. All of them believed that INBAL could serve an important role, advancing research at the university while making clinical assessment more readily available to the community. “The three of us co-wrote the proposal, which was really the culmination of many conversations about a vision to share the unique expertise coming out of our various fields with the community and the rest of campus,” said Heller. “We wanted to bring our tools to people who didn’t necessarily have them and support research on campus by helping them in whatever way we could. So, you could, for example, contract with us to administer tests of depression or anxiety or some other aspect of personality or behavior that you might not know how to measure.”

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