Professor & Associate Director
UCLA & Veterans Administration Los Angeles

Dr. Alex Young is a psychiatrist, health services researcher. He is Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA and Director of Health Services for the VA Desert Pacific MIRECC. Dr. Young’s work focuses on studying and improving healthcare services, with a particular emphasis on the implementation and effectiveness of interventions, and clinical informatics that support improvement in mental health care.  Dr. Young has led multiple studies of the implementation, usability, and effectiveness of technologies to improve care. He co-led CHIACC, which conducted a systematic literature review, national expert panel process, and development of informatics use cases for diabetes, depression, and schizophrenia. He also developed and studied MINT, a software system that interacts with clinicians through the medical record to improve care, and populates a web-based panel management package for clinicians. He led development of PAS, the first audio, computer-assisted self-interviewing tool to meet the needs of people with serious mental illness, which often include limited literacy and cognitive disabilities. The PAS accurately delivers standard research instruments and was well accepted by patients. He led a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Innovations contract that integrated the PAS with the VA national electronic medical record. PAS was also incorporated into care across 4 states in EQUIP, a VA project to improve the quality of care. He recently studied an approach to helping individuals with serious mental illness lose weight. He led development of a computerized, internet-based system that provides tailored education regarding diet and exercise, in conjunction with structured support from peer wellness coaches. This was studied in a randomized, controlled trial using qualitative and quantitative methods, which found that the computerized approach had excellent usability, resulted in clinically meaningful weight loss, and greater weight loss than in person services or usual care. Recent grants include a mixed methods study of the usability, feasibility and effectiveness of a computerized system to elicit the treatment preferences of mental health clients at public mental health clinics.