Ms. Keator is Director of the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice (NCMHJJ) and Program Area Director at Policy Research Associates (PRA) for children’s behavioral health policy, trauma, and juvenile justice initiatives. Ms. Keator has worked for PRA since 2006, participating in a wide variety of research and policy initiatives. She has extensive experience with policy and program development, as well as instrumentation, data collection and analysis.

Specific areas of interest include research and technical assistance activities that support development of evidence-informed public policy to:

  • identify and respond to mental health, substance use, and traumatic stress related needs among children and adolescents in contact with the juvenile justice system;
  • reduce behavioral healthcare disparities among children and adolescents, in particular American Indian youth and youth living in rural communities; and
  • address issues related to inadequate access to and availability of behavioral healthcare, specifically policies that integrate and maximize use of federal and state funds, Medicaid, private insurance and other private resources to develop a continuum of behavioral healthcare services and supports.

Since 2011, Ms. Keator has been the project director for a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and MacArthur Foundation collaborative that aims to increase the number of youth with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders diverted out of the juvenile justice system to appropriate community-based behavioral health services at the earliest points of contact. In addition, she is the project director on an effort funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to test the use of the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment model in juvenile justice settings. Ms. Keator received her Master of Public Health from the University at Albany’s School of Public Health.