Our group includes researchers, project staff members, students and other colleagues who hail from varied training backgrounds in medicine, psychology, sociology, and other fields.

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Dr. Alan Teo, Physician Investigator

I am a psychiatrist and health services researcher, having completed my education and training at Stanford University, University of California San Francisco, and University of Michigan. Since 2013, I have been a Core Investigator in the VA HSR&D Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care at the VA Portland Health Care System, and I am an Associate Professor at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in the Department of Psychiatry.

My works intersects the fields of health services, behavioral science, and social and cultural psychiatry. The overarching theme of my research is how our social connections shape and influence mental health outcomes.  In this work, I attempt to understand ways to mitigate social isolation and loneliness, and also harness the benefits of social support. I have a particular focus on depression and suicide prevention and a strong interest in developing, testing, and evaluating interventions in real-world settings.

Project Staff Members

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Aaron Call, EdM

Lab Manager

Aaron received his BA in Psychology from Reed College and a Master’s in Education from Harvard University. Aaron joined the Teo research team in January 2020.

Aaron has previously worked as a research assistant in Kathryn Oleson’s Social Psychology lab at Reed College and in UCLA’s Integrated Substance Abuse program. He also worked in education for several years and before that as an electronics technician in the Navy.


His current research interests include social support, how people make judgements of trustworthiness, perspective-giving experiences, moral decision making, existential anxiety, and implementation science. 


Outside of work he enjoys reading sci-fi/fantasy, baking sourdough bread, gardening, practicing Gregg short hand, and playing yard games.

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Mary Benton, PhD

Project Coordinator

Mary received her BA from Carroll College in Montana, her Master’s in Forensic Psychology from Castleton State College in Vermont, and her doctorate in Community Psychology from Wichita State University in Kansas. 

Her doctoral dissertation examined non-pharmacological interventions for the treatment of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS).  She has worked in a variety of research areas: pediatrics, community psychology, debriefing in the emergency department, and most recently cardiovascular research outcomes.

Mary is excited to join Dr. Teo’s group and be part of the research environment at the VA.  Mary is a native of Portland but recently returned from a stint in the Midwest.  She enjoys cooking, hiking, rollerblading with friends, and taking her basset hound on long walks.

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Justin Yin, MA

Research Assistant

Justin received his BA in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and an MA in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University. He has extensive suicide research experience from his time at the Greater Los Angeles VA, Bronx VA, and Columbia.

His research interests focus on the predictive utility of nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) characteristics in the development of self-injurious thoughts and behaviors (SITB). He is also interested in how we can leverage technology to increase help-seeking behaviors and engagement in healthcare among ADM/Veterans at risk for suicide.

Outside of work, he enjoys writing on his blog, which is aimed at helping first-generation high school/community college students navigate the college admission process. Other hobbies include reading, watching documentaries, and spending time with family.

Mentees and Trainees

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Jenny Park, BS

Jenny earned a BS in biology at Georgia State University. After college, Jenny was accepted into a post-baccalaureate research program, called the Doctoral Diversity Program, at Johns Hopkins University.

During her three years there, she did research in clinician-patient communication and racial disparities in HIV care. Meanwhile in Baltimore, she served homeless individuals at a rescue mission clinic and was a volunteer for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Jenny is an MD/MPH student expected to graduate in 2025.  


Victor Pereira-Sanchez, MD

Victor Pereira-Sanchez, MD, is an academic psychiatrist at NYU Grossman School of Medicine in New York, NY. He obtained his medical degree and psychiatry specialty at the University of Navarra in Spain, and is currently completing a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry.

He has a background in neuroimaging research and is now focused on international psychiatry and global mental health research, education, and practice.


Miguel A. Alvarez-Mon, MD, PhD

Dr. Miguel Alvarez-Mon is a general adult psychiatrist in Madrid, Spain, with a clinical appointment at the Infanta Leonor Hospital and academic work at the School of Medicine, University of Alcala.

 His research focuses both on biological and socio-cultural aspects of mental health disorders, including the immunology of depression and social media analysis on Twitter.

Outside of work, Miguel enjoys spending time with his family, reading, hiking, or watching soccer (he is a strong Real Madrid supporter).


Tiona Wu, BA

Tiona Y Wu graduated from Lewis & Clark College with a degree in Psychology and a minor in computer science. She is working as a research assistant at the Portland VA Medical Center for Dr. Travis Lovejoy.

Her interests lie in clinical and cultural psychology and she has worked on various projects at the VA with focus in public health, military culture, and culture-specific psychology. She is currently working with Dr. Teo on a systematic review paper on hikikomori. In her spare time, she likes to go bouldering and squirrel-watch!


Sarah Yang, BA

Sarah received her BA in Chemistry from Emory University and spent a few years in Washington DC before coming home for medical school at OHSU. She joined the Teo research team in July 2020 while working towards a Master's in Clinical Research.

She will resume clinical rotations after her capstone project with Dr. Teo and will graduate from medical school in 2022. Sarah hopes to be involved in more psychiatry research opportunities in residency. 

In her free time, Sarah trains for half marathons with classmates every few months and likes to spend time with family. She is looking forward to becoming a first-time aunt to Jayden in August of 2021!


Jeanette Doorenbos, AA

Jeanette Doorenbos graduated from Clark college with her AA degree and is currently working on her BS in Psychology at Portland State University with the expectation to graduate spring of 2022. She has two years of research experience working on a project at Clark college and joined Dr. Teo’s team at the beginning of Summer 2021. 

Her interests lie within social and personality psychology with an emphasis on mental wellness, mindfulness and human behavior studies. Currently, she works on a systematic review team on the subject of hikikomori and has a hand in Dr. Teo's PsychArmor S.A.V.E. project.

Outside of research, Jeanette enjoys going on hikes, swimming, drawing and playing online games with her friends! She also enjoys talking about statistics and videos about psychology.


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Steven Dobscha, M.D.

VA Portland Health Care System

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Amanda Graham, Ph.D.

Truth Initiative

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Christina Nicolaidis, M.D., M.P.H.

Portland State University

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