Data registry + early career mentoring + undergrad research + community impact.


Virginia Commonwealth University's Institute for Research on Behavioral and Emotional Health (IRBEH) is an interdisciplinary institute with the mission of advancing scientific understanding in the area of behavioral and emotional health, and applying this knowledge to support mental health and wellbeing in our university and the broader community, through innovative coursework, programming and collaborations.


  • Maintain and grow the Spit for Science Registry as a research resource for VCU and the broader scientific community.
  • Provide mentoring, networking, and community-bridging opportunities for faculty and trainees working in the area of behavioral and emotional health.
  • Grow undergraduate research opportunities, with special attention to serving students traditionally underrepresented in the sciences.
  • Develop programs aimed at bringing research to the community

Meet our team

IRBEH leadership

Karen Chartier, Ph.D.
Headshot of faculty member and IRBEH director Karen Chartier

Learn more about Dr. Chartier.

Ananda Amstadter, Ph.D.
Headshot of Ananda Amstadter
  • Associate Director, IRBEH
  • Chair, Traumatic Stress and Mental Health Outcomes Working Group
  • Psychiatry, Psychology, and Human and Molecular Genetics
  • ananda.amstadter@

Learn more about Dr. Amstadter.

Working group chairs

Shannon Cusack, Ph.D.
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Learn more about Dr. Cusack.

Oswaldo Moreno, Ph.D.
 Headshot of Oswaldo Moreno
  • Chair, Minoritized Ethnic and Racial Students' Experiences Working Group
  • Psychology

Learn more about Dr. Moreno.

Traci Wike, Ph.D.
Headshot of Traci Wike
  • Chair, Facilitating Positive Outcomes for LGBTQIA Students Working Group
  • Social Work

Learn more about Dr. Wike.

Hermine Maes, Ph.D.
 Headshot of Hermine Maes

Learn more about Dr. Maes.

Roseann Peterson, Ph.D.
 Headshot of Roseann Peterson

Learn more about Dr. Peterson.

Christina Sheerin, Ph.D.
 Headshot of Christina Sheerin

Learn more about Dr. Sheerin.

Methodology cores

Amy Adkins, Ph.D.
Headshot of faculty member Amy Adkins

Learn more about Dr. Adkins.

Adrienne Baldwin-White, Ph.D.
Headshot of Adrienne Baldwin-White

Learn more about Dr. Baldwin-White.

Katie Bountress, Ph.D.
Headshot of Katie Bountress

Learn more about Dr. Bountress.

Featured in The New York Times

A story from April 2023 cited a study by VCU IRBEH faculty in the Journal of American College Health that found 70 percent of college students report that they have been exposed to at least one traumatic event.

The New York Times. Should college come with trigger warnings? At Cornell, it is a hard no. When the student assembly voted to required faculty to alert students to upsetting educational materials, administrators pushed back.