Cara C. Lewis, PhD

“My research seeks to identify how community mental health care providers can optimize client outcomes by leveraging data and the best available evidence.”

Cara C. Lewis, PhD

Associate Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute


Cara C. Lewis, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and Beck Scholar recognized by the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She is interested in identifying strategies to improve community mental and behavioral health care through the integration of evidence-based practices and measurement feedback systems.

Dr. Lewis is an international leader in implementation science, serving as President of the Society for Implementation Research Collaboration. She was expert faculty for the Implementation Research Institute and is a scientific advisory board member for Academy Health’s 10th Annual Conference on Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health. She was recently recognized by three of psychology’s largest associations for her early career accomplishments:

  • a Rising Star of the Association for Psychological Science,
  • Theodore Blau Early Career Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Clinical Psychology for the American Psychological Association, and
  • President’s New Research Award for the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy.

Dr. Lewis’ research is currently funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). She is the principal investigator (PI) of a multi-site implementation trial in which the goal is to compare the effectiveness of standardized versus tailored approaches to implementing measurement based care for depression.

Dr. Lewis is PI of a second R01 in which she seeks to advance implementation science through measure development and evaluation. Her team is developing new measures of implementation outcomes in hopes of revealing tools that are psychometrically strong and pragmatic. This work will also contribute a repository of quantitative measures for scientists and practitioners to integrate into their implementation efforts.

Dr. Lewis recently joined the steering committee for SONNET – the Social Needs Network for Evaluation and Translation, funded by the national KP Community Benefit and aims to address the social, economic and behavioral needs of KP members.

Dr. Lewis is an affiliate assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the School of Medicine at the University of Washington. She is also an assistant professor at Indiana University where she leads the Training Research and Implementation in Psychology (TRIP) lab. In collaboration with her students in the TRIP lab, she is exploring mechanisms of change in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for depression and the implementation of CBT into youth residential settings. 

Research interests and experience

  • Implementation Science

    Measures and methodologies; tailored approaches; measurement based care; health information technologies; cluster randomized trials; systematic reviews

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

    Mechanisms of change; adolescent and adult depression; predictors, moderators and mediators of outcome; therapy knowledge and competence; training; supervision

  • Clinical Decision Making

    Clinical judgments; cognitive processes; case conceptualization; hypothesis testing; measurement feedback systems

Recent publications

Lewis CC, Lyon AR, McBain SA, Landes SJ. Testing and exploring the limits of traditional notions of fidelity and adaptation in implementation of preventive interventions. J Prim Prev. 2019 Jan 25. doi: 10.1007/s10935-019-00539-2. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Powell BJ, Fernandez ME, Williams NJ, Aarons GA, Beidas RS, Lewis CC, McHugh SM, Weiner BJ. Enhancing the impact of implementation strategies in healthcare: a research agenda. Front Public Health. 2019 Jan 22;7:3. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2019.00003. eCollection 2019. PubMed

Scott K, Lewis CC, Marti CN. Trajectories of symptom change in the Ttreatment for Adolescents with Depression Study. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2019 Jan 8. pii: S0890-8567(19)30003-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2018.07.908. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Stanick CF, Halko HM, Dorsey CN, Weiner BJ, Powell BJ, Palinkas LA, Lewis CC. Operationalizing the 'pragmatic' measures construct using a stakeholder feedback and a multi-method approach. BMC Health Serv Res. 2018 Nov 22;18(1):882. doi: 10.1186/s12913-018-3709-2. PubMed


Researcher profile

Why does Cara Lewis study implementation science?

We profile the KPWHRI associate investigator, a clinical psychologist who also studies social factors that affect health.

Read it in News and Events.

Behavioral health

Let’s put measurement-based care in behavioral health treatment

Dr. Cara Lewis reflects on using implementation science to integrate patient-reported symptoms into behavioral health care.

Read it in Healthy Findings.

healthy findings blog

Cara Lewis brings mental health implementation expertise to GHRI

Dr. Lewis joins the MacColl Center to work on making community mental health care more effective, efficient, and accessible.

Read it in Healthy Findings.