Susan Douglas, PhD (’89)
“I have so many fond memories of my time at CBU. The common thread is the people — my teachers, the Christian Brothers, and my friends became like my family. I am still very close to my college roommates and sorority sisters, raising our children together and supporting each other through life’s challenges and joys.”
A graduate of Bartlett High School, Susan Douglas came to Christian Brothers College in 1985. She found her life’s calling as a Psychology major and a member of the Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society and graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in 1989.
She fondly remembers Brother Justin Lucien, who taught Psychology and set up the original peer counseling program at the school. “Brother Justin Lucian was one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Brother Justin called me ‘Super Susie,’ which made me feel special, and was there standing with me when I was confirmed in the Catholic faith. He guided me with wisdom and love when I struggled with seeing the effects of religious violence while working with UNICEF in Bosnia in the mid-1990s. He even connected me to friendly faces in the Philippines when I lived in Asia for a year on a global fellowship.”
As alluded to in her memory of Brother Justin, Susan continued her education and travelled the world after she left CBU. She entered the master’s program at Vanderbilt University, during which time she was also named the Henry Luce Scholar in the Department of Psychiatry at Prince of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong, where she served a year-long fellowship, and returned to Vanderbilt to earn her MS in Psychology in 1993. Susan received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Vanderbilt University in 1999, followed by pre- and post-doctoral fellowships at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School — where she also held her first faculty appointment as an Instructor in the Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry from 2001 to 2003.
Susan now has 20+ years of experience as a senior leader in education, healthcare technology, and non-profit sectors. She is currently an Associate Professor of Practice in the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations at Vanderbilt University, where she has been teaching and conducting research since 2005. She is also the Clinical Product and Innovation Lead for Mirah, a software platform that aids providers in delivery of measurement-based care, and is in private practice as a clinical psychologist who supports leaders and teams to effectively achieve goals through coaching, organizational consulting, and strategic workforce development. As a global thought leader in measurement-based care, Susan presents and published widely, with an active research and consulting portfolio focused on implementing effective workforce development strategies to improve healthcare practice and organizational learning.
Susan and her husband live in Nashville with their son — who is entering his first year at Tulane University this fall – and two dogs. She also gives back to her community through service and has served on non-profit boards in international healthcare and in professional organizations both nationally and internationally. She was appointed by the Governor to serve on Tennessee Board of Examiners in Psychology in 2018 and served as chair in 2020-21, is a member of the Advisory Committee for the American Psychological Association Measurement-based Care and Mental and Behavioral Health Registry, a member of the Board of Directors of the Nashville Cathedral Haiti Mission, and has also served as a member and as Executive Secretary of the Board of Directors for the Lwala Community Alliance, a non-profit providing support to healthcare systems for mothers and children in Kenya.
“I found my vocation to serve others at CBU, and have been guided by that ever since. We are here on this earth to share laughter and sorrow together, to grow with each other even when it is uncomfortable, and to look for small shifts we can do every day to make the world a kinder and better place. My personal motto is ‘Do good well,’ which is my shorthand for the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, my patron saint.”