Mary Spooner, PhD

Mary Spooner holds the position of research assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Her expertise is in family violence, children and adult mental health, and systems outcomes management. 

Spooner graduated from the Public Policy PhD Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston in December, 2001. Drawing on her experience and studies in Social Policy and Planning at the London School of Economics,  Spooner focused her research interests while in the doctoral program on issues related to gender and family violence. Her dissertation–“Women under Subjection of the Law:  A Study of the Legal Responses to Women’s Abuse in the English-speaking Caribbean"–for which she received a Woodrow Wilson Johnson & Johnson Women’s Health Fellowship in 2000, represents the culmination of her course work and provided the foundation for her work with children and families from underserved communities. 

Spooner is principal investigator of a $9.5 million Center for Mental Health Services grant that funds a longitudinal study of the effectiveness of systems of care for children with serious emotional disorders. The ultimate goal of the study is to redesign and transform the delivery of local mental health services. Spooner has made several presentations regarding children’s mental health outcomes at the local and national levels. She consults with mental health boards on systems outcomes and implementation of mental health policy. 

Prior to joining the faculty of the Feinberg School of Medicine, Spooner was the program evaluation director for the largest nonprofit organization serving children and families across the State of Michigan; a position that she assumed directly after graduating from the Public Policy program at the University of Massachusetts Boston. As director, Spooner evaluated services for children in residential, foster care, supervised independent living, and juvenile justice programs.  

According to Spooner, “The Public Policy PhD Program provided a strong foundation upon which to build my career. Supported by dedicated faculty with expertise in diverse disciplines, the program enabled me to develop invaluable skills of inquiry and critique across a broad range of topics. It also provided invaluable exposure to the world of policymaking through a demanding practicum and internship in my area of interest. Students seeking a rigorous course of instruction that would adequately prepare them for policy making in the real world should look no further than the Public Policy Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston.”