Division of Prevention and Community Research and The Consultation Center

Postdoctoral Fellowship

The Division of Prevention and Community Research, Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine invites applications for a two-year NIDA T32 postdoctoral research training program in substance abuse prevention. Applications are now being accepted for an earliest start date of July 2014 for up to two fellows.

The program emphasizes five areas of research training: 1) conceptualization, design, and implementation of prevention research using a social ecological framework; 2) knowledge development and application in pre-intervention, intervention, and dissemination research; 3) use of state-of-the-art data analytic and research methods; 4) interdisciplinary research through collaborations across programs, departments, centers, and institutions; and 5) translational research from controlled settings to real-world contexts with the purpose of impacting prevention practice and policy. Training occurs through seminars, focused research activities, and close mentorship with faculty scientific advisors in order to prepare fellows as future prevention researchers.

Postdoctoral fellows participate in core seminars on Research and Data Analytic Methods, Grant Development, and Professional Development as well as in seminars and colloquia that cover related topics, such as the ethical conduct of research and current topics in substance abuse prevention. Fellows also receive mentor-based training on two scientific projects while working concurrently with two core faculty who serve as their scientific advisors. Faculty available to serve as mentors are located in several research divisions in the Department of Psychiatry, such as the Division of Prevention and Community Research, the Division on Addictions, the Yale Stress Center, and Women’s Health Research at Yale, as well as in other Yale settings, such as the Department of Psychology and the School of Public Health.

Competitive candidates should have: 1) a Ph.D. in community, clinical, developmental, counseling, or health psychology, or a doctoral degree in public health or family studies; 2) a strong research background; and 3) interest in pursuing an academic career. Applicants should send a CV, representative reprints, a statement of interests and future goals, identification of up to three faculty members with whom they wish to work listed in order of priority (available below), and three letters of recommendation to: jacob.tebes@yale.edu, or to: Jacob K. Tebes, Ph.D., Director, Division of Prevention and Community Research, , Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, 389 Whitney Avenue, New Haven, CT 06511. Reviews of applications will begin immediately and continue until the positions are filled. Yale University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and minority group members are encouraged to apply.

Overview: Postdoctoral Training Program in Substance Abuse Prevention Research

Jacob K. Tebes, Ph.D., Program Director

As noted above, our training program emphasizes five areas of research training (described further below) as well as training in the ethical conduct of research. These include:

  1. a theoretical focus on the conceptualization, design, and implementation of research within a social ecological framework that emphasizes relevant developmental, neurobiological, environmental, and cultural contexts, such as families, schools, worksites, neighborhoods, and communities;
  2. training in prevention science as a process of knowledge development and application that progresses through specific phases – a pre-intervention phase (problem analyses using epidemiological and risk/protective factor research), an intervention phase (in which change strategies involving universal, selective, or indicated designs are chosen that are most likely to modify identified risk and protective factors and then implemented through the conduct of efficacy and effectiveness trials), and a dissemination or going-to-scale phase (in which effective interventions are disseminated on a broad basis, implementation fidelity is monitored, and dissemination efforts are evaluated);
  3. the application of rigorous research methodologies, including training in state-of-the-art quantitative research methods and data analytic strategies as well as the use of mixed methods designs;
  4. training in interdisciplinary research and team science, focused either on collaborations among scientists or among scientists and community stakeholders; and,
  5. the translation of research into real-world contexts that impact prevention practice and policy, such as moving from laboratory to clinic, from clinic to neighborhood, from classroom to school district, or from community settings to policy contexts.

These program emphases are reinforced through didactic seminars and individually-tailored research training experiences across two years that include a close working relationship with two faculty scientific advisors and participation in related institutional training and research experiences.

Scientific Projects Listed by Faculty Member Available July 2014

All fellows work with two faculty scientific advisors, and as part of their application, are asked to identify up to three faculty with whom they wish to work, listed in order of priority. Once matched with two faculty scientific advisors, fellows join research teams based on their interests and experience.

Christian M. Connell, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry, and Director, Child Development and Epidemiological Research, Division of Prevention & Community Research. His research addresses issues related to the prevention of risk behaviors and the promotion of positive outcomes for at-risk child and adolescent populations within community settings or served through formal systems of care. A primary focus of his current research examines outcomes for children exposed to maltreatment and other trauma, or who are involved in the child welfare or children’s behavioral health systems. This research includes a focus on child, family, and other factors that interact to influence youth outcomes, as well as the evaluation of community-based services and supports to improve child and family outcomes. Other areas of research include the development of risky behaviors (including substance use, risky sexual behavior, or antisocial/delinquent activity) among community-based child and adolescent populations and the use of advanced multivariate data analytic methods to examine risk and protective processes associated with developmental processes in these types of behavioral outcomes.

Cindy A. Crusto, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry and Director, Program and Service System Evaluation at The Consultation Center. Dr. Crusto’s program of research examines the impact of psychological trauma (e.g., family and community violence) on children, and ecological influences on child and family well-being. Dr. Crusto also studies social processes and influences on the health and development of young children, including parent experiences of racism and neighborhood context. Opportunities are available to join NIH-funded research on the influence of child factors and broader social determinants and processes on young children’s health and/or to work with existing cross sectional and longitudinal databases to examine the impact of services and supports on children’s clinical and functional outcomes as well as assess the risk and protective factors (e.g., parental substance use, parenting stress, children’s exposure to psychological trauma) associated with children’s mental health.

Derrick M. Gordon, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry and Director, Program on Male Development at The Consultation Center. His program of research seeks to identify factors that impact whether men and boys are able to function as healthy family and community members. Dr. Gordon is interested in understanding how young men use preventive health care services and the factors that either facilitate or inhibit access. His research also focuses on examining how adolescent fatherhood, low income fatherhood status, and transitioning from prison to the community impact men’s health. This research seeks to understand the resources needed to support men and boys to successfully attain the skills needed to assume productive roles in their family and community systems.

Joy S. Kaufman, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at Yale. Her research program utilizes data from rigorous evaluations of community-based programs to examine contextual factors, such as exposure to violence, substance use or familial stress that impact outcomes for populations at risk. Dr. Kaufman is currently examining data collected from a longitudinal evaluation of a behavioral health system of care for children under the age of 6 to determine the impact of contextual factors (e.g., parental substance abuse; exposure to traumatic events; parental depression) on outcomes for young children with severe social and emotional difficulties.

Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Vice-Chair of the Human Investigations Committee at Yale School of Medicine, and Co-PI on a P50 center focused on tobacco regulatory research. Her research is focused on developing a bio-behavioral understanding of the underpinnings of alcohol, tobacco (nicotine) and marijuana use, in adolescent and adult populations, and developing new pharmacological and behavioral interventions to reduce and prevent use of these substances. She is also conducting qualitative and quantitative tobacco regulatory research in adolescents. The fellow would be involved in analyzing evidence from an ongoing study that is conducting surveys with middle and high school adolescents and college-aged young adults to assess use rates and perceptions and attitudes towards modified risk tobacco products, as well as analyzing evidence from an ongoing high school-based smoking cessation trial.

Rajita Sinha, Ph.D., is Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry, Child Study, and Neurobiology; Director, Yale Stress Center; and Chief, Psychology Section in Psychiatry. Her research is focused on the mechanisms linking stress to addiction and seeks to: (a) elucidate sex-specific neurobiological mechanisms underlying stress in humans; (b) examine neurobiological alterations in stress and reward circuits associated with addictive disorders; and (c) develop effective addiction prevention and treatment strategies that target stress and emotion regulation in individuals both at-risk for and those with addiction problems. These objectives are accomplished through various NIH funded research projects available for fellow involvement.

Jacob K. Tebes, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry, Child Study, and Public Health; Director, Division of Prevention and Community Research & The Consultation Center; and, Chief Psychologist, Connecticut Mental Health Center. His research is focused on promoting resilience and well-being in vulnerable populations, including youth at risk and individuals in recovery from addiction and mental illness and their families, and on examining the impact of multi-level interventions on individual and community-level health outcomes. This research is often carried out in collaboration with interdisciplinary researchers and community stakeholders using a team science approach. The fellow will join a new, large-scale demonstration trial of vulnerable and troubled youth in the child welfare system who are transitioning to community-based services from intensive, out-of-home treatment. We will seek to identify mediators and moderators of well-being and permanency outcomes for youth, such as intervention fidelity, youth and family engagement, and youth and parental substance use.

Nadia L. Ward, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry and Director, Urban Education. Her research examines cultural and contextual factors that influence social, behavioral, health, and achievement outcomes for low-income and minority youth. This work involves the design, implementation and assessment of preventive interventions that promote adaptive functioning and reduce problem behaviors (e.g., substance abuse, delinquency, academic failure) associated with negative developmental outcomes among urban youth. Dr. Ward is the principal investigator of two, DOE-funded seven-year longitudinal studies of a comprehensive urban school reform initiative that is designed to support the social-emotional, academic, and behavioral health outcomes of 3,000 low-income and urban middle school students. Fellows join a research team study that examines stress and coping mechanisms among urban adolescents (and their mothers) and the role that social support plays in mediating mental health, primary health and academic achievement outcomes.