Division of Prevention and Community Research and The Consultation Center


The program emphasizes five research training aims: 1) to understand substance use/abuse and related behaviors using an ecological framework that emphasizes relevant developmental, family, social, cultural, and neurobiological contexts; 2) to enhance knowledge development and application in pre-intervention, implementation, and dissemination research; 3) to learn state-of-the-art data analytic methods that incorporate rigorous field and laboratory research methods, including mixed method designs when appropriate; 4) to gain experience in interdisciplinary research through collaborations with scientists in other departments, centers, and programs; and 5) to increase knowledge about the translation of research into real-world contexts that impact prevention practice and policy, and ultimately, public health.

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 at least 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 School of Public Health, the Yale Stress Center, the Yale Child Study Center, and Women’s Health Research at Yale.

Competitive candidates should have: 1) a Ph.D. in community, clinical, developmental, counseling, or health psychology, or a doctoral degree in public health, family studies, social work, or social welfare; 2) a strong research background; and 3) interest in pursuing an academic career. Yale University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and minority group members are encouraged to apply.

Scientific Projects Listed by Faculty Member

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.

Derrick M. Gordon, Ph.D. , is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry (Psychology) and Director, of Research, Policy and Program on Male Development at The Consultation Center.  His program of research seeks to identify factors that impact men and boys’ healthy family and community functioning. In this work, attention is paid to factors such as community violence, poverty, incarceration, substance use, school truancy, parenting, social supports, masculinity, educational outcomes, intimate partner violence, and their impact on the functioning of men and boys. Dr. Gordon is also interested in understanding how young men use preventive health care services and identifying factors that either facilitate or inhibit access. 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 an Associate Professor of Psychiatry (Psychology), Deputy Director for Operations at The Consultation Center, and Director of Evaluation Research within the Division of Prevention and Community Research. Her research program examines contextual factors, such as exposure to violence, substance use and familial stress that impact outcomes for populations at risk. Utilizing qualitative and quantitative methods including community-based participatory research, Dr. Kaufman and her team evaluate the implementation of evidence-based practices within community-based networks of care and the impact of system functioning on service recipient outcomes. The fellow would have the opportunity to: (a) join a team evaluating the implementation and outcomes of statewide systems of care for children with severe emotional and behavioral issues (youth substance use, exposure to traumatic events, parental stress, youth outcomes); and/or (b) join a team evaluating the implementation and outcomes of a multi-site national evaluation of model programs to reduce the rate of homicide resulting from domestic violence.

Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, Ph.D. , is 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.

Linda C. Mayes, M.D. , the Arnold Gesell Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology in the Child Study Center, is Chair of the Child Study Center, Special Advisor to the Dean of the Yale School of Medicine; and Chief, Department of Child Psychiatry at Yale-New Haven Hospital.  Helena J. V. Rutherford, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Child Study Center, and Course Tutor for the UCL-Yale Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology MRes Course. Drs. Mayes and Rutherford use multi-modal imaging methods to study the impact of addiction on mothers’ neural response to infant cries and faces and its association with caregiving behaviors, with an emerging focus on women during pregnancy in their transition to motherhood, as well as fathers. The Fellow would have access to the collection and analysis of behavioral, EEG/ERP and fMRI data in substance-using parent populations.

Sherry McKee, Ph.D. , is Professor of Psychiatry; Director, Yale Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory; and Clinical Director, Forensic Drug Diversion Clinic. Her research is focused on improving treatment for those with nicotine and alcohol use disorders. Using a transdisciplinary perspective, she uses human laboratory paradigms, survey research, epidemiological research, and policy research to uncover the mechanisms underlying poor outcomes and translate these findings into improved interventions. In particular, Dr. McKee is interested in improving treatment outcomes for women and those with criminal justice involvement. Dr. McKee leads a large interdisciplinary research effort to develop smoking cessation interventions that are sensitive to gender differences in smoking behavior. Researchers spanning diverse areas of expertise (e.g., molecular biology, neuroimaging, pharmacology, pharmacogenetics, health economics, policy) are collaborating to develop effective interventions for female and male smokers. Dr. McKee also leads a SAMSHA-funded partnership between Yale and the State of Connecticut Department of Corrections and Department of Addiction and Mental Health Services to improve addiction outcomes in offenders who are re-entering their communities following incarceration.

Stephanie S. O'Malley, Ph.D. , is Professor of Psychiatry; Director, Division of Substance Abuse Research in Psychiatry; and Deputy Chair, Clinical Research. Her research uses human laboratory methods and clinical trials methods to investigate alcohol and tobacco use behaviors and the prevention of long-term problems. She is Co-PI of the Yale Tobacco Center for Regulatory Research and has expertise in tobacco use including emerging products. Fellows have access to several large data sets for secondary analyses as well as the opportunity to develop new studies.

Marc N. Potenza, M.D., Ph.D. , is Professor of Psychiatry, in the Child Study, and of Neuroscience; Director, Center of Excellence in Gambling Research; Director, Yale Program for Research on Impulsivity and Impulse Control Disorders; Director, Women and Addictive Disorders, Women’s Health Research at Yale. His research is focused on the substance and non-substance (behavioral) addictions, with the latter including excessive or problematic engagement in gambling, gaming, Internet use, sex, shopping or eating. He and his group utilize multiple approaches including brain imaging (fMRI, sMRI, DTI and PET), genetic, pharmacological, behavioral, cognitive, survey, and other assessments. Data from completed and ongoing studies that are available include those from or involving youth (particularly adolescents) and adults at-risk or with addictions, including longitudinal data. Data from multiple modalities (e.g., relating brain imaging measures to clinical outcomes in the treatment of addictions) are available from completed and ongoing studies. Similarly, data from completed and ongoing studies of mother/child interactions that include maternal neural responses to infant stimuli in substance-using and non-substance-using mothers are available for study.

Carolyn E. Sartor, Ph.D. , is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry. Her program of research is aimed at refining etiological models of substance use disorders in adolescents and young adults by integrating a developmental psychopathology perspective with genetically-informative designs. The identification of differences by gender and race/ethnicity in the contribution of various risk and protective factors to substance use behaviors is central to this pursuit. Dr. Sartor’s work focuses in particular on the progression through stages of alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use (e.g., initiation, onset of symptoms) and the timing of stage transitions in relation to the onset of psychiatric disorders and trauma exposure. Fellows have access to data from multiple large-scale population based longitudinal studies as well as a large-scale cross-sectional study of college students to conduct secondary data analysis projects. They also have opportunities to develop new data collection projects.

Rajita Sinha, Ph.D. , is Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry and Professor in the Child Study Center and of Neuroscience; Director, Yale Interdisciplinary Stress Center; Chief, Psychology Section in Psychiatry; and Co-Director of Education, Yale Center for Clinical Investigation. 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.

Megan V. Smith, Ph.D. , is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry, in the Child Study Center and of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases); and Director, New Haven Mental health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) Partnership. Dr. Smith's work is focused on community-partnered or community-based participatory research and the co-creation of interventions to address depressive anxiety and addictive disorders among low-income, racial and ethnic minority women and their children. Dr. Smith's current projects include: (1) a mobile health technology intervention to prevent relapse to smoking in the postpartum period for low-income women; (2) a study to examine the acceptability and feasibility of collecting biomarkers in community settings to assess toxic stress among mothers and young children; and (3) a longitudinal, randomized neighborhood study focused on the delivery of interventions to address maternal mental health and economic stability for families in novel community settings such as supermarkets and public housing complexes.

Tami P. Sullivan, Ph.D. , is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry (Psychology); Co-Director, Division of Prevention and Community Research; and Director, Family Violence Research and Programs. Her program of research centers on individual- and system-level factors that affect the wellbeing of women victims of intimate partner violence (IPV). At the individual level, she conducts risk and protective factor research and applies micro-longitudinal designs and is particularly interested in conducting research that informs the development of interventions to be implemented in community settings. Specifically, Dr. Sullivan focuses on advancing knowledge of IPV, posttraumatic stress, substance use, and HIV/sexual risk – as well as other co-occurring problems. At the system-level, she focuses on understanding the capacity of systems (e.g., criminal justice system) to meet the unique needs of IPV-exposed women. 

Jacob K. Tebes, Ph.D. , is Professor of Psychiatry (Psychology), in the Child Study Center and in Public Health; Director, Division of Prevention and Community Research & The Consultation Center; Chief Psychologist, Connecticut Mental Health Center and T32 Training Director. Dr. Tebes uses participatory research methods to examine the prevention of substance abuse and related problem behaviors and the promotion of resilience in various community contexts (e.g., schools, families, clinics, neighborhoods). He also studies how participatory and team-based approaches to science, particularly in relation to substance abuse and addiction, promote innovation and enhance scholarly impact. Fellows would have access to one or more datasets in these areas that were funded with NIH, SAMHSA, state, or foundation support.