About MARI

Core Values

  1. Compassionate, science-informed services
  2. Excellence in clinical training
  3. Quality of life
  4. Respect for diverse values and goals

The Mary A. Rackham Institute (MARI) is comprised of three units that each focus on a different aspect of mental, developmental and literacy health. We offer services such as counseling and resources like free workshops to help members of our community.

  • University Center for Language and Literacy (UCLL)

    UCLL offers intensive language and literacy evaluations and intervention services for children, youth, young adults, and adults. Learn more about UCLL

  • University Center for the Child and Family (UCCF)

    UCCF provides mental health services to children, couples, and families through individual and group therapies and evaluations. Learn more about UCCF

  • University Psychological Clinic

    The Psych Clinic provides mental health services for those who are 18 years and older and includes individual and group therapy. Learn more about the Psychological Clinic

Mary A. Rackham

Our History

The Mary A. Rackham Institute was established in the late 1930s when our namesake Mary Rackham funded a $1 million dollar endowment for an institute to provide “social and rehabilitative services” to individuals from the University and surrounding communities.

The Institute’s first two centers were the Speech Clinic (now the University Center for Language and Literacy) and the University Psychological Clinic, which has kept its name through time. The University Center for the Child and Family became part of the Institute in 1987.

We currently house those three centers. However, since its establishment, MARI has been home to many other centers including: the Reading and Learning Skills Center, University of Michigan Autism and Communication Center (UMACC), the Fresh Air Camp, the Sociological Research Unit, the Bureau of Psychological Services, and the Division of Gerontology.

For many years, MARI was known as the Institute for Human Adjustment. In keeping up with compassionate care, we went back to our founding roots and officially changed our name to the Mary A. Rackham Institute in 2014 to honor our founder and the legacy she ensured.

“Our clients — individuals, couples, and families with mental health, language, and learning concerns — each present unique histories and special circumstances. It is our challenge to provide the most effective, scientifically and culturally informed, compassionate services possible; to train the next generation of mental health professionals to do the same; and to support collaborative, high-quality research at the University.”
    -Dr. Cheryl King, Director of the Mary A. Rackham Institute

Our Commitment to Performance Quality and Improvement

MARI is committed to providing the best service to our stakeholders.

We developed a Performance Quality Improvement (PQI) Program to ensure we do. The program objectives are to:

  • Promote excellence in all aspects of our mission: clinical service delivery, training and education, and research collaboration.
  • Ensure that processes are in place for continuous evaluation and improvement of the quality, nature, and efficiency of these activities.
  • Continue to carefully consider data in evaluating changes and improvements to processes and activities, including client outcome, staff satisfaction, effectiveness, efficiency, and budget.
  • Make data-driven decisions that also take into account our Institute’s core values and strategic priorities.

PQI Structure

The structure of our PQI program includes an Institute-wide PQI Steering Committee, in addition to four PQI subcommittees that serve the quality improvement needs and goals of our Institute’s sub-units:

  • University Psychological Clinic (Psych Clinic)
  • University Center for the Child and Family (UCCF)
  • University Center for Language and Literacy (UCLL)
  • Central Office (CO)

These subcommittees convene on a regular basis to carefully consider and make recommendations regarding quality improvement initiatives, provide input into selected initiatives, and monitor the process and completion of such initiatives.

Our PQI Steering Committee is responsible for advising in relation to sub-unit initiatives, reviewing PQI plans and findings, facilitating initiatives, and maintaining a record of all PQI activities at MARI.

Our PQI Steering Committee is comprised of MARI staff in addition to mental health professionals (referring providers) from the university community. These stakeholders have the opportunity to provide input into PQI initiatives, to assist in review and interpretation of findings, and to provide input regarding the implications of these findings.

We also welcome input from a wider range of stakeholders. To assist in this, we are committed to sharing Institute PQI information on this website and in future electronic newsletters.


Recent PQI activities include stakeholder surveys (e.g., staff satisfaction), case record reviews at each of our Centers, a detailed analysis of staff on-boarding processes, and a review of our new website.

The Mary A. Rackham Institute (MARI) is currently implementing two performance quality improvement (PQI) initiatives.

University Psychological Clinic Improving Clinical Case Documentation
A quarterly Case Record Review at the University Psychological Clinic (Psych Clinic) indicated that too many termination summaries and case transfer summaries were missing medical director signatures and/or outcome assessment data (metrics). Baseline data was collected in 2016. A plan was developed for timely monitoring and improved routing procedures.  More specifically, individuals were identified to carry the responsibilities of monitoring, and procedures were put in place to route summaries to the medical director for signatures on a timely basis. The outcomes of these interventions will be measured at the planned August-September Case Record Review.

MARI – Improving Staff Onboarding and Orientation Procedures
Because professional/clinical training is one of MARI’s primary missions, a significant proportion of the MARI clinical workforce changes on an annual basis. These individuals include psychology practicum students, psychology interns and postdoctoral fellows, social work interns and postgraduate fellows, Applied Behavior Analysis therapists, and undergraduate interns and students. This turnover is in addition to the usual level of staff turnover at an Institute of this size.  Staff feedback pointed to the need to improve MARI on-boarding processes to be more efficient and to provide more clarity regarding staff roles and timelines.

The Director of UCCF teamed up with the MARI Assistant Director to implement this initiative. As a baseline evaluation, employees at the University Center for the Child and Family (UCCF) and the Psych Clinic completed an Orientation/On-boarding survey through Qualtrics.  This provided specific data regarding points of delay (e.g., network access, EMR access) and training needs. Stakeholder interviews were also conducted.  This resulted in several ideas for process improvements, including a clear delineation of staff on-boarding roles (designated “point people”), development of a new on-boarding form that includes all needed information (e.g., computer file access level), and an improved key request form.  It also resulted in recommendations for improved technology training at MARI.

A repeat survey for new employees will be administered via Qualtrics in 2018 to assess outcomes.

In 2016, we developed a new website at the Mary A. Rackham Institute (MARI) with the overall goals of an improved online presence and improved service for our stakeholders.  Several of our specific goals were as follows: increased traffic/visits to the main pages of each of our Centers/Clinics; increased unique page views at each site; increased time spent on the sites (engagement); and improved functionality for use with mobile technology (cell phones, tablets, etc.).

Our Central Office staff worked with our Marketing and Communications Specialist to develop the Performance Quality Improvement (PQI) plan.  The Marketing and Communications Specialist used Google Analytics to measure basic web metrics during two 3-month periods, October – December of 2015 (prior to launch of new website) and October – December of 2016 (following the launch of new website).

Despite the relatively recent launch, which is generally associated with a drop in traffic due to the need for re-indexing by search indexes and broken links with some external sites, the new site was already performing as well or better than the previous site according to a number of metrics.  Using weighted comparisons to account for changes in the layer of content (we consolidated content for more surface level access), MARI experienced a 10% increase in traffic to the homepages of each of the centers/clinic.

In addition, people are spending approximately 24% longer on our pages (approximately 20 seconds each).  The number of visits to main pages has increased for the Psych Clinic, UCCF, and UCLL.  This was not found for the University of Michigan Aphasia Program (UMAP), which will receive further consideration.  Our plan is to continue to monitor web analytics of the MARI website.

The University Center for the Child and Family (UCCF) conducted an evaluation in 2015 to determine whether or not their child care support pilot program should be continued and, if so,  ways in which the program could be approved.

This Performance Quality Improvement (PQI) initiative was led by a postgraduate social work fellow, working closely with the Director of UCCF, Dr. Ewell Foster and a senior social worker, Helen Kaplan.  A number of undergraduate student volunteers also assisted with this project.

A needs assessment survey was administered to clinicians and parents in July, 2015.  Parents and clinicians expressed satisfaction with the child care support pilot program; however, it was noted that this program was not being used to its capacity, with only 32% of child care time slots being used.  The parents reported that the program improved their access to mental health services, increased their flexibility in scheduling appointments, and improved their communications with their family’s clinical provider.

The recommendations were to continue the program, assess current clinicians’ needs for this support for their families and adjust the time slots accordingly, create a centralized sign-up system, and reassess for possible expansion of the program in the future.

This report was shared with stakeholders, UCCF faculty and clinical providers, and clinic directors in August, 2015.