Mentoring Profile: Allison Wainer, PhD, Rush Medical College

The Rush Women Mentoring Program fosters professional development and a sense of community and collaboration among women faculty at Rush University. In this series, we highlight program mentors and mentees and learn more about how mentoring has impacted them.

Allison Wainer, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Rush Medical College, joined Rush in 2015.

Tell us about your background.

I am a licensed clinical psychologist, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and the assistant research director at the Autism Assessment, Research, Treatment and Services Center at Rush University Medical Center. I am a clinical scientist with experience in developing and evaluating behavioral interventions and service delivery models for young children with autism spectrum disorder, or ASD. The central theme of my published scientific work has been to identify ways to support the transportation of effective intervention to the “real world” and increase access to high-quality intervention for all children with ASD.

What inspired you to get into your field?

When I was in high school, I participated in a program called Best Buddies, which helped connect students with special needs and their typically developing peers. The friendships I made through that program are still strong today and inspired me to pursue a career path committed to helping to improve the lives of individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities and related conditions.

What excited you about your work at Rush?

Through Rush I have been able to work with hospital and community partners to determine the best strategies for reaching underserved families and helping to enroll them in research and clinical services.

What is your opinion of mentoring and sponsorship?

The mentoring I have received at Rush has been invaluable as I transition to a junior faculty member. In particular the experiences and support afforded by the Rush Research Mentoring Program have been critical in helping me to secure external funding and grow as a clinical scientist.

Do you have tips or advice you would recommend for someone looking to enter your field of work?

Make sure you are passionate about your field of study!

What are your hobbies? How do you like to spend your free time?

I like reading, exercising, doing pottery and taking my dog, Lolli, to the dog park.