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Rachael Ellison, PhD

Rachael Ellison, PhD
Assistant Professor

Dr. Ellison is a clinical neuropsychologist who aims to intersect cognitive functioning with issues related to systemic inequities and social determinants of health.

Ellison is a clinical neuropsychologist and researcher, with expertise in applied neuropsychological research with a social and racial justice focus. Prior to her training in neuropsychology, her research and practice focused on issues related to social justice and social determinants of health (e.g., cultural competence, diversity, racial privilege, etc.). With Dr. Ellison’s current research, she aims to continue to intersect clinical neuropsychology with social and racial justice through her Socially Conscious Lab.

Ellison completed her postdoctoral fellowship in Clinical Neuropsychology through the two-year APA neuropsychology specialty accredited fellowship at Edward Hines Jr., VA Hospital (with specialized rotations in inpatient/outpatient neuropsychology, TBI, cognitive rehabilitation, and health promotion/disease prevention), and clinical psychology internship at the VA San Diego Healthcare System (with specialized rotations in neuropsychology, TBI, cognitive rehabilitation, and PTSD). She received her PhD in Clinical/Community Psychology from DePaul University. Prior to joining RFUMS, Dr. Ellison was a faculty member in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at Illinois Institute of Technology.

Ellison is currently the Chair of the Women in Neuropsychology (WIN) Committee of the Society for Clinical Neuropsychology (SCN; American Psychological Association; APA Division 40), and engaged in private practice as a clinical neuropsychologist where she conducts comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations as well as cognitive rehabilitation. She was one of the inaugural editorial fellows for Neuropsychology’s Early Career Editorial Fellowship. Dr. Ellison was nominated and accepted to Northwestern University’s Council of 100 (membership by invitation only). She is an incoming council representative for APA Division 40.

Are You a Prospective Graduate Student? Dr. Ellison will be reviewing applications for the Clinical Psychology PhD program for the 2025-2026 academic year. Please note that to remain unbiased in the review of applications and to be equitable across all applicants, it is our department’s policy to not meet individually with applicants prior to our PhD Interview Day. However, if you have a specific question that cannot be answered through our webpage and would influence your decision to apply, you are welcome to reach out with brief questions.

Graduate Students

Christopher Gonzalez, MS
Christopher is a 4th year PhD student specializing in neuropsychology. His research interests include the cultural effects of subjective cognitive decline (SCD) and social determinants of health (SDOH), particularly in the preclinical stages of Alzheimer's disease. His other research interests are SARS-CoV-2, imaging markers, cardiovascular health, memory, and health disparities among English/Spanish speaking non-Hispanic Black and Latine/Hispanic populations. Christopher actively contributes to his field as a Student Liaison for the Hispanic Neuropsychological Society and as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Ambassador for New2Neuropsychology. Through these roles, he promotes collaboration and awareness of the challenges faced by underrepresented communities. He hopes to unravel the complexities of neuropsychology and advocate for marginalized communities drives with the ultimate goal of improving the lives of individuals affected by cognitive decline and related health disparities.
Humza Khan, MS
Humza is a sixth-year Ph.D. student in the Illinois Institute of Technology’s clinical psychology doctoral program. Prior to starting at IIT, he received his B. S in Neuroscience at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Humza's current research interests include examining social determinants and health in the context of neuropsychology, specifically identifying differences between health information and executive functioning. Outside of research, Humza is interested in non-profit work, architecture, and racket sports.
Jared Cherry
Jared is a 1st-year Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student specializing in Neuropsychology. He received his B.A. in History and B.F.A. in Music Performance from York University in Toronto. He has work experience as a teacher and course designer for multiple international educational institutions, and he has a variety of research experience with several Neurology, Neuropsychology, and Neuroscience based laboratories throughout North America. His research interests lie at the intersection of neuroscience and psychology with a focus on the use of neuroimaging and neuropsychological assessment for the development and administration of cognitive and behavioral interventions such as psychoeducation, cognitive rehabilitation, cognitive training, and counseling.
Karen Basurto
Karen is a first-year student in the clinical psychology PhD program. Her research interests include multicultural neuropsychology, currently through assessment and evaluation to further understand best-practices for overall healthcare in the context of diverse sociodemographic and culture-specific backgrounds, primarily in Latin American populations. In her free time, she enjoys exploring novel skills such as learning new languages, dancing, and self-defense alongside spending time with her family and friends. 
Hannah VanLandingham, MS/MA
Hannah is a 4th year clinical psychology Ph.D. student at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science and an adult neuropsychology extern in the department of psychiatry at the University of Illinois - Chicago. She previously trained as a complex medical care extern at Edward Hines, Jr. VA hospital. She is primarily interested in integrating neuropsychology and rehabilitation in her areas of interest, namely cognitive health for underserved populations with complex medical conditions, brain injury and/or neurodegenerative pathology. Her current research centers on the impact of health inequities on cognitive functioning, cognitive rehabilitation, and examining the neurocognitive sequelae and profiles of various medical pathologies. Prior to attending RFUMS, she earned her M.S. in psychology at Illinois Institute of Technology and completed her clinical master’s thesis on verbal and nonverbal processing speed discrepancy profiles for Veterans with co-occurring mTBI and PTSD. Moreover, she earned an M.A. in Psychology from San Diego State University and her B.S. in Psychology with a minor in English at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Selected Publications

Dr. Ellison was an invited guest editor for a special issue with the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology (JCEN; 10/2022) on Mentoring in Neuropsychology. She has a forthcoming special issue as a guest editor for The Clinical Neuropsychologist (TCN) on Current Directions in Women’s Neuropsychology Research.

Kaseda, E. T., Arentoft, A., Bangen, K. J., Mahmood, Z., Thomas, K., Kim, S. H., Tan, A., Prieto, S., Dawson, E. L., Riegler, K., Sullivan-Baca, E., & Ellison, R. L. (in press). Parental, caregiving, and family leave during clinical neuropsychology postdoctoral training: Recommendations and guidelines from the Women in Neuropsychology (WIN) committee and Education Advisory Committee (EAC) of the Society for Clinical Neuropsychology (SCN; APA Division 40). The Clinical Neuropsychologist. doi: 10.1080/13854046.2023.2217673

Ellison, R. L. & Sparks, J. (Eds.). (2022). WIN/JCEN Special Issue [Special Issue]. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology (JCEN), 44(5-6). https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/ncen20/44/5-6?nav=tocList

Sparks, J. & Ellison, R. L. (2022). WIN/JCEN Special Issue: Mentoring in neuropsychology: How theory and practice can support diverse mentees. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology (JCEN), 44(5-6), 337-344. https://doi.org/10.1080/13803395.2022.2125500

Ellison, R. L. & Sparks, J. (2022). WIN/JCEN Special Issue: Mentoring in neuropsychology: Sage advice compilation from our field. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology (JCEN), 44(5-6), 345-365. https://doi.org/10.1080/13803395.2022.2130181

Calamia, M., Kaseda, E. T., Price, J. S., De Vito, A., Silver, S. H., Cherry, J., VanLandingham, H., Khan, H., Sparks, J., & Ellison, R. L. (2022). Mentorship in clinical neuropsychology: Survey of current practices, cultural responsiveness, and untapped potential. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology (JCEN), 44(5-6), 366-385. https://doi.org/10.1080/13803395.2022.2128068

Lindsey, A., Ellison, R. L., Herrold, A. A., Aaronson, A. L., Kletzel, S. L., Stika, M., Guernon, A., & Bender Pape., T. (in press). rTMS/iTBS and cognitive rehabilitation: A theoretical framework and review examining paired treatment to remediate deficits associated with TBI and PTSD. The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. doi: 10.1176/appi.neuropsych.21090227

VanLandingham, H., Ellison, R. L., Laique, A., Cladek, A., Khan, H., Gonzalez, C., & Dunn, M. R. (2021). A scoping review of stereotype threat for BIPOC: Cognitive effects and intervention strategies for the field of neuropsychology. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 1-20. doi.org/10.1080/13854046.2021.1947388

Stika, M. M., Riordan, P., Aaronson, A. A., Herrold, A. A., Ellison, R. L., Kletzel, S., Drzewiecki, M., Evans, C. T., Mallinson, T., High, W. M., Babcock-Parziale, J., Urban, A., Bender Pape, T. L., & Smith, B. (2021). Cognition and other predictors of functional disability among Veterans with mild traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 36(1), 44-55. doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000611

Ellison, R. L., Cory, M., Horwath, J., Barnett, A., & Huppert, E. (2020). Can mentor organizations impact mentor outcomes? Assessing organizational norms on mentor intent to stay and willingness to ‘go the extra mile’. Journal of Community Psychology, 48(7), 2208-2220. doi:10.1002/jcop.22391

Ellison, R. L., Todd, N. R., Orth, R. D., & McConnell, E. A. (2019). Openness to diversity and White privilege awareness: The moderating role of gender for White Christian students. Journal of College Student Development, 60(5), 563-576. doi:10.1353/csd.2019.0050

Ellison, R. L. (2018). Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and prospective employment decisions: Exploring social change through college students. Journal of College and Character, 19(4), 275-291. doi:10.1080/2194587X.2018.1517648

Ellison, R. L., & Stika, M. (Winter, 2018). Feedback on invalid neuropsychological testing: Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Journal of Health Service Psychology, 44(1), 19-23.

Todd, N. R., Boeh, B. A., Houston-Kolnik, J. D., & Suffrin, R L. (2017). Interfaith groups as mediating structures for political participation: A multilevel analysis. American Journal of Community Psychology, 59(1-2), 106-119. doi:10.1002/ajcp.12121

Todd, N. R., Houston-Kolnik, J. D., & Suffrin, R. L. (2017). Understanding community issues of interfaith groups. Journal of Community Psychology, 45(2), 160-177. doi:10.1002/jcop.21840

Suffrin, R. L., Todd, N. R., & Sanchez, B. (2016). An ecological perspective of mentor satisfaction with their youth mentoring relationships. Journal of Community Psychology. 44(5), 553-568. doi.org/10.1002/jcop.21785

Todd, N. R., Houston, J. D., & Suffrin, R. L. (2015). Applying affiliation social network analysis to understand interfaith groups. Psychosocial Intervention, 24(3)147-154. doi:10.1016/j.psi.2015.07.007

Todd, N. R., Suffrin, R. L., McConnell, E. A., & Odahl-Ruan, C. A. (2015, March 25). Understanding associations between religious beliefs and White privilege attitudes. Sociological Perspectives, 58(4)649-665. doi:10.1177/0731121415572689

Todd, N. R., McConnell, E. A., & Suffrin, R. L. (2014). The role of attitudes toward White privilege and religious beliefs in predicting social justice interest and commitment. American Journal of Community Psychology, 53, 109-121. doi:10.1007/s10464-014-9630-x