Kelly Beck is an assistant professor for the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program and a Clinical and Translational Science Scholar (KL2 Scholar) with the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Clinical Research Education. She is a rehabilitation scientist, clinical educator, and Licensed Professional Counselor that works clinically with individuals with disabilities across the lifespan. Beck’s specialty is using mindfulness-based interventions with a variety of disability populations and settings. She is a qualified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher and has over 11 years of experience with mindfulness meditation. Beck is a contracted MBSR teacher at the UPMC Center for Integrative Medicine.
Beck conducts several clinical research projects that evaluate the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She has evaluated the use of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder with aims to improve quality of life and established preliminary feasibility and efficacy. Beck is a co-developer of the Emotion Awareness and Skills Enhancement Program (EASE), a mindfulness-based intervention for adolescents and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. EASE utilizes a combination of mindfulness practices and cognitive behavioral therapy in an individual setting to improve emotion regulation impairment. She and several investigators are conducting clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy of this intervention and are working to adapt EASE for individuals with co-occurring Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disability (PI- Mazefsky). Beck was recently awarded a competitive career development award (KL2) to expand her research to implement mindfulness-based interventions for adolescents and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder into community settings. Beck also conducts research on novel methodological and statistical approaches to rehabilitation research.
Beck’s clinical and research expertise inform her graduate teaching philosophy and approach, resulting in a style that embraces constructivist learning theory and experiential learning. She incorporates simulated clients, real-life case studies, and current empirical evidence into her courses to ensure that all of her students graduate as strong evidence-based clinicians. She also engages in research related to professional graduate programs. She is a co-investigator on a SAMSHA funded project that is developing a new training curriculum on screening and brief intervention for individuals at risk for substance misuse and disorders for occupational therapy and counseling graduate students (SBIRT-PLUS; PI-Stover).