Skip to main content

Advisory Board

The MH-RITES Research Center's Advisory Board consists of dedicated individuals from various backgrounds that come together with one goal to drive evidence-based research and practice. 

Connect with Us 

For inquiries regarding shared research interests or collaboration, please reach out to individuals below.

Board Members Title & Research Interests Connect

Robin E. Gearing, PhD (Ex Officio)
Center Director: Robin Gearing

Director, The MH-RITES Research Center

Professor, University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work

Research Interests: Improving outcomes for adolescents and emerging adults with serious mental illnesses and their families; Client engagement and adherence to evidence-based psychosocial and pharmacological treatments; and service access and utilization for underserved racial, ethnic/cultural, and stigmatized populations.


Daryl Knox, MD, DLFAPA, ACP 


Retired Chief Medical Officer of The Harris Center for MH and IDD


Research Interests: Improving the quality of mental health services and care for individuals with chronic and severe mental health disorders and implementation of evidenced based services and supports for families and significant other care providers for this population.
James M. Mandiberg, PhD 

Associate Professor | Hunter College, City University of New York, NY


Research Interests: Community and economic development of highly stigmatized populations, such as those with serious mental health conditions (SMI) and those with long-term histories of homelessness.

Sarah Narendorf, PhD 

Associate Professor & Associate Dean of Research and Faculty Development | Graduate College of Social Work, University of Houston


Research Interests: Mental health and mental health service use during the transition to adulthood for marginalized groups including youth aging out of foster care, youth experiencing homelessness, and youth involved in the criminal justice system.

Steve Schnee, PhD

Retired Executive Director of The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD in Houston, Texas


Research Interests: Improving services provided by clinicians, improving connectivity within and across organizational components to positively engage seriously impaired, economically challenged individuals of diverse backgrounds with significant mental disabilities.


Jair C. Soares, MD, PhD 

Professor & Chairman, Pat R. Rutherford, Jr. Chair in Psychiatry, Director, Center of Excellence on Mood Disorders, Executive Director, UTHealth HCPC


Research Interests: Adult general psychiatry, bipolar disorder, depression, second opinion, deep brain stimulation, mood disorders, neuroendocrinology, neuroimaging, neuropsychology, and psychopharmacology.


Renae Vania Tomczak, MBA, EDFP, HDFP 

President & CEO | Mental Health America of Greater Houston


Research Interests: Community mental health, prevention, and early intervention efforts with vulnerable families.