Mike Lyons, Julia Taylor, Natoya Haskins

News in Brief: EHD Faculty Win UVA Public Service Award

Professors Natoya Haskins, Mike Lyons and Julia Taylor were recognized for their leadership roles in a state-wide partnership working to address the mental health crisis in Virginia’s schools.

Laura Hoxworth

UVA School of Education and Human Development faculty Natoya Haskins, Mike Lyons and Julia Taylor have received a 2024 UVA Collaborative Excellence in Public Service award. Given annually by the UVA Office of the Provost, the award recognizes a team of faculty members for outstanding community-engaged scholarship undertaken with students.  

Haskins, Lyons and Taylor received the award for their leadership of the Virginia Partnership for School Mental Health (VPSMH), a statewide partnership launched in 2019 to address the school mental health crisis. By forging partnerships with universities and school divisions across the state, VPSMH has established a collaborative training and professional development network to increase the quantity and quality of school mental health professionals and services in historically underserved communities.  

With VPSMH, Haskins, Lyons and Taylor have trained more than 150 graduate students for engagement in high-need K-12 schools and coordinated training, networking and support for nearly 200 in-service mental health providers. They are also conducting research on their approach, disseminating the findings to both practitioners and to the scholarly community.

“In VPSMH, Professor Haskins, Lyons and Taylor have built a model for how universities can collaborate across programs, across institutions, and with public agencies to better serve the public good,” Dean Stephanie Rowley wrote in her nomination letter.  

Joseph Wharff, director of the Office of Behavioral Health and Wellness in the Virginia Department of Education, praised the team’s commitment to student well-being in a letter of support. “It's remarkable to have witnessed the positive impact our collaborative efforts have had on schools and PK-12 youth,” he said. “The VPSMH faculty is highly deserving of this prestigious award.”

They will be honored, alongside the other award winners, at an event on Tuesday, April 30. 

Photo, from left: Mike Lyons, Julia Taylor, and Natoya Haskins

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Laura Hoxworth