Molly Lopez received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Texas A&M University in 1998 and is a licensed clinical psychologist. Lopez has over 10 years of experience in program evaluation, project management, grant writing, and research dissemination. Her research interests include mental health service systems, implementation of evidence-based mental health interventions, and strategies for enhancing workforce competency. Lopez is the director of the Steve Hicks School of Social Work’s Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health.
In a previous position as Children’s Mental Health Lead at the Texas Department of State Health Services (formerly TDMHMR), Lopez provided policy and programmatic oversight of children’s mental health services and played a key role in a system redesign aimed at ensuring that evidence-based treatments were widely available and supported by state infrastructure. During her time at the state mental health agency, she also held roles focused on evaluating public mental health services for children and families, overseeing human subject protections, facilitating academic collaborations, and conducting research focused on improving services and consumer outcomes.
Recently, Lopez has led a NIMH-funded research project exploring the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy for adults with severe and chronic depression in public mental health clinics. She has also recently completed a study of the implementation of Trauma-Focused CBT for children and adolescents exposed to traumatic events. In partnership with the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, Lopez is currently conducting a NIMH-funded study of an evidence-based trauma intervention (TF-CBT) adapted for implementation within correctional facilities. She is also partnering with the Health and Human Services Commission and other state and community organizations to develop a strategic plan to expand the system of care framework within Texas and improve outcomes for children and youth with mental health needs.
Mental health services research, evidence-based practice, trauma informed care, cognitive behavioral therapies, implementation science, fidelity assessment, workforce competency, systems of care.
- Suicide Care Initiative (SCI) (2027)
- National Training and Technical Assistance Center for Child, Youth, and Family Mental Health (2025)
- Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education) (2025)
- Resilient Youth - Safer Environments (RYSE) (2024)
- Advancing the Early Psychosis Intervention Network in Texas (2024)
- Thrive (2023)
- South Southwest Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (2023)
- Psychometric Properties of the Teacher-Reported Pediatric Symptom Checklist (2022)
- Mental health recovery and resilience (2021)
- Texas System of Care expansion implementation cooperative agreement (2021)
- Alliance for Adolescent Recovery and Treatment in Texas (2021)
- Youth Lead for Health (2020)
- Texas LAUNCH (2019)
- Youth Empowerment Services (YES) Waiver (2017)
- Texas adolescents substance use disorder treatment planning initiative (2017)
- Zero Suicides in Texas: Youth suicide prevention (2017)
- Bringing what works to youth in corrections (2016)
- Texas children recovering from trauma / Trauma-informed care transformation (2016)
- 1115 Medicaid Waiver: Behavioral health project review (2014)
- Via Hope: Texas Mental Health Resource (2014)
- ASSET System of Care Expansion Planning Initiative (2013)
- Texas Mental Health Transformation (SAMHSA/DSHS, 2008-2011)
- Building Resiliency after Trauma (SAMHSA/DSHS, 2008-2011)
- Implementation of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in a Public System (NIMH, 2003-2009)
- Co-Occurring Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorder Youth Fidelity Instrument Development (SAMHSA/DSHS, 2009-2010)
- Understanding the Impact of Training under System Mandates (2007-2009)