Meet Our Staff
To manage and carry out our ambitious agenda, the African American Behavioral Health Center of Excellence will need a staff of five: Principal Investigator, Medical Director, Project Director, and two Coordinators. Given the collaborative nature of our approach, our consultants, subcontractors, and community of partner organizations will be deeply involved in this work.
Principal Investigator: Dawn Tyus, PhD, LPC
Along with her role as Principal Investigator (PI) of the African American Behavioral Health Center of Excellence, Dawn Tyus is also the PI and the Director of the Southeast Addiction Technology Transfer Center (SATTC), a member of the Addiction Technology Transfer Center National Network and a sister center to the new AABH-COE at Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM). Dr. Tyus has been affiliated with MSM and SATTC for 14 years, first as a Project Consultant, and then as Director beginning in 2009. At the Southeast ATTC, Dr. Tyus has consistently taken a visionary approach to her leadership and management duties. Among the innovative programs she has spearheaded there are the Center’s “Minority to Priority” initiative, focusing on the strengths and needs of African Americans; and a faith initiative aimed at bridging secular and spiritual efforts to address substance use disorders, called “Let’s Have the Conversation! One Voice: One Mission.” Dr. Tyus is also on the board of the Georgia School of Addiction Studies and the Advisory Board of Clark Atlanta University’s HBCU C.A.R.E.S. She brings a wealth of experience from a wide variety of professional perspectives, with a background ranging over many disciplines, including the not-for-profit and corporate sectors, government services, professional counseling, consulting practice, strategic planning, and group and individual coaching. She received her Ph.D. in Counseling Studies from Capella University, and both her Master of Education degree in Community Counseling and her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Mercer University. Dr. Tyus is also a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Georgia, where she provides family, individual, and group behavioral health therapy.
Medical Director: Sarah Vinson, MD
Sarah Y. Vinson, M.D., F.A.P.A. is a physician who specializes in adult, child and adolescent, and forensic psychiatry. She is the founder of the Lorio Psych Group, an Atlanta, GA-based mental health practice providing expert care and consultation. Dr. Vinson is also the founder of Lorio Forensics, which provides consultation in a wide variety of criminal, civil, and family court cases. After graduating from medical school at the University of Florida with Research Honors and as an Inductee in the Chapman Humanism Honors Society, she completed her general psychiatry training at Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School. While there, she also received specialized training in trauma through the Victims of Violence Program. She then returned to the South to complete fellowships in both child and adolescent and forensic psychiatry at Emory University School of Medicine.
In addition to providing mental health care services such as psychotherapy, consultation, and psychopharmacology through her private practice, Dr. Vinson is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at Morehouse School of Medicine. Just two years after joining the faculty she was honored as Psychiatry and Faculty of the Year in 2015. She is also Adjunct Faculty at Emory University School of Medicine. She has been elected and/or appointed to national and statewide office by her professional peers. She is the Past President of the Georgia Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Treasurer of the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association. Additionally, she is an Advisor for the Judges Psychiatry Leadership Initiative. She has been a speaker at national conferences, including the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Annual Meeting, and The National Urban League Annual Meeting. Dr. Vinson has received numerous awards in recognition of her service and leadership, including the University of Florida College of Medicine Outstanding Young Alumna Award and the APA Jeanne Spurlock Minority Fellowship Alumna Achievement Award