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Drahota Amy M. Drahota
Assistant Professor
Ph.D. University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, Division of Psychological Studies 2008
Masters San Diego State University, San Diego, California, Pre-Clinical Psychology 2003
Bachelors Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington 1998
Primary Program: Clinical
125B Psychology
(517) 432-0685

Research Statement

Dr. Drahota will be accepting a clinical psychology graduate student in Fall 2017

Research Focus

Dr. Amy Drahota runs the Autism Community Treatments Lab (ACT Lab) through the Clinical Psychology and Ecological-Community Psychology programs. Current ACT Lab research spans from intervention development to implementation of established evidence-based practices for individuals with autism spectrum disorder.


The overall goal of the ACT Lab is to improve the lives of individuals with mental and behavioral health needs, and is especially focused on the needs of individuals with autism spectrum disorders. This is accomplished by building up community agencies that provide services to individuals with mental and behavioral health needs, improving access to care, and developing interventions and service systems to meet needs through collaboration with researchers, practitioners and innovators.


Dr. Drahota’s current research focuses on developing and pilot testing the Autism Community Toolkit: Systems to Measure and Adopt Research-Based Treatment). The ACT SMART Toolkit is an evidence-informed, comprehensive implementation strategy designed to assist ASD community-based agencies successfully implement evidence-based practices. ACT SMART consists of four phases that systematically guide agency leaders and implementation teams in meeting goals that lead to successful decisions about choosing and implementing new treatments.


Specifically, ACT SMART:

  • Assists in identifying training and service delivery gaps and selecting effective treatments to meet agency-wide needs. 
  • Facilitates treatment adoption decisions. 
  • Guides designing effective training and implementation strategies. 
  • Supports efforts that will sustain use of effective treatments. 


Additionally, Dr. Drahota is a collaborative partner working to better understand the intervention practices used in usual care settings providing services to youth with ASD. This multi-site collaboration is evaluating services across 6 sites in the United States and will inform the dissemination and current implementation of evidence-based practices for ASD.


Finally, Dr. Drahota  has been developing and testing a parent-only group intervention for weight-loss in youth with autism. This study will primarily test the feasibility, acceptability, and utility of the intervention, and secondarily test the intervention’s effect on weight-loss in children with autism (age 5-13 years) who are overweight or obese. 

Clinical and Teaching Focus

Dr. Drahota’s ACT Lab strives to develop knowledge and skills, confidence, independence, and productivity of undergraduate and graduate students as well as postdoctoral fellows in the lab by supporting individualized growth. Students and fellows are encouraged to develop independent projects and interests that will provide career development opportunities.

Current Projects

The Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions, NIMHD U54 MD011227, Center PI: Furr-Holden, D&I Core Co-I: Drahota


Developing the Autism Model of Implementation for ASD Community Providers, NIMH K01 MH093477, PI: Drahota


Family-Based Weight-Loss Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder (FBT-ASD), UA3MC25735 (HRSA), PI: Boutelle, Co-I: Drahota


Usual Care for ASD Survey, Unfunded, SDSU PI: Drahota

Research Publications    
2016Drahota, A., *Meza, R., *Brikho, B., *Naaf, M., *Estabillo, J., *Gomez, E., *Vejnoska, S., Dufek, S., Stahmer, A.C., & Aarons, G.A. (2016). Community-Academic Partnerships: A systematic review of the state of the literature and recommendations for future research. Milbank Quarterly, 94(1), 163-214.
2016*Meza, R., Drahota, A. & *Spurgeon, E. (2015). Community-academic partnership participation. Community Mental Health Journal, 52(7), 793-798.
2016Brookman-Frazee, L., Drahota, A., & Chlebowski, C. (2016). An Individualized Mental Health Intervention for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (AIM HI), Volume 2: Therapist Manual. University of California, San Diego. Unpublished training manual developed at the University of California, San Diego.
2016Drahota, A., Chlebowski, C., Stadnick, N., Baker-Ericzén, M. J., & Brookman-Frazee, L. (in press). The dissemination and implementation of psychosocial treatments for children and adolescents with ASD and comorbid anxiety. In C. M. Kerns, E. Storch, P. Kendall, J. J. Wood, & P. Renno (Eds.), Evidence Based Assessment and Treatment of Anxiety in Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
2015*Matheson, B., Drahota, A., & Boutelle, K. (2015). Transforming Eating, Activity, and Motivation Utilizing Parents (TEAM UP). Unpublished intervention manual developed at the University of California, San Diego.
2014Chavira, D.A., Drahota, A., Garland, A.F., Roesch, S., *Garcia, M., & Stein, M.B. (2014). Feasibility of two modes of treatment delivery for child anxiety in primary care. Behaviour Research & Therapy, 60, 60-66.
2014Drahota, A., Stadnick, N., & Brookman-Frazee, L. (2014). Therapist perspectives on training in a package of evidence-based practice strategies for children with autism spectrum disorders served in community mental health clinics. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Research, 41(1), 114-125.
2014Drahota, A., *Meza, R., & *Martinez, J.I. (2014). The Autism-Community Toolkit: Systems to Measure and Adopt Research-Based Treatments. www.actsmarttoolkit.com
2013Drahota, A., Sterling, L., & Wood, J.J. (2013). Daily living skills in school-age children with and without anxiety disorders. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 52(1), 107-112.
2013Stadnick, N., Drahota, A., & Brookman-Frazee, L. (2013). Parent perspectives of an evidence-based intervention for children with autism served in community mental health clinics. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 22, 414-422.