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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 three fellows, with start dates beginning June or July 2021.

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 PhD 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. Applicants should email 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 (see Scientific Projects Listed by Faculty Member below) and three letters of recommendation to the Training Director, Jacob Tebes at:jacob.tebes@yale.edu. Reviews of applications will begin immediately and continue until positions are filled. Yale University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes applications from women, members of minority groups, persons with disabilities and protected veterans.

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.

Lisa Fucito, PhD , is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Tobacco Treatment Service Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven. Her program of research focuses on tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis use with an emphasis in three areas: (1) better understanding these behaviors and their co-occurrence with other negative health behaviors, (2) identifying innovative strategies to engage individuals about their use (e.g., wellness topics such as sleep), and (3) developing novel interventions that promote multiple health behavior change and utilize mobile technology. Through mentored research, fellows have access to data from various ongoing and completed studies that include health data and trial data, and opportunities for collaboration on additional secondary data analyses. Current NIH-funded studies include: (1) RCT of a multimodal mobile sleep intervention for heavy-drinking young adults, (2) RCT of a pre-surgical contingency management tobacco intervention for cancer patients, (3) RCT of a gain-framed + NRT sampling tobacco intervention for lung cancer screening patients, and (4) the implementation and evaluation of an enhanced tobacco cessation program for patients treated at Yale Cancer Center.

Derrick Gordon, PhD , Associate Professor of Psychiatry (Psychology Section), and Child Study Center, Director of the Program on Male Development in the Division of Prevention and Community Research of the Department of Psychiatry, and Core scientist in the Community Research Core of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA). Dr. Gordon has considerable experience in intervention and prevention development having served as an investigator on several federal, NIH, CDC and state-funded projects and studies focused on substance use and mental health correlates to men’s healthy involvement in family and community life. Dr. Gordon’s research focuses on men’s use of preventive health care services, factors that either facilitate or inhibit their access to preventive health services, men and young men’s reproductive health needs, and factors that support men’s community reentry following incarceration. In his mentorship role, pre- and postdoctoral fellows get to explore with Dr. Gordon how issues like adolescent fatherhood, low-income fatherhood status, transitioning from prison to the community, and how men’s access and use of health care services impact their efforts to be healthy community members. Overall, Dr. Gordon in his research seeks to identify those factors that enhance the access and use of preventive and indicated health care services by men on the “fringes.”

Carlos M. Grilo, PhD , is Professor of Psychiatry and of Psychology and Director of the Yale Program for Obesity, Weight, and Eating Research (POWER). Dr. Grilo’s primary research focus is on disordered eating, obesity, and eating disorders; he has broad research interests and his secondary foci span psychopathology, addictions, personality disorders, and the sociocultural contexts of functioning including health disparities, discrimination, and stigma. Dr. Grilo’s current grant-funded efforts focus on controlled treatment studies testing behavioral, cognitive-behavioral, and pharmacotherapy interventions for eating/weight disorders and for obesity in diverse patient groups/settings. His current RCTs include adaptive “SMART” stepped-care designs. Central to this T32, Dr. Grilo is performing numerous studies of “behavioral addictions” including “food addiction,” "food craving," and "emotional/stress-related overeating." His current collaborative work is interdisciplinary, integrating laboratory and neurobiological methods, extends across diverse settings and patient groups, and includes epidemiological and longitudinal outcome studies, with an increasing emphasis on health disparities and stigma. T32 fellows would have the opportunity to join a vibrant collaborative team of peer post-docs and faculty investigators evaluating eating/weight disorder and behavioral food addiction issues, have access to numerous datasets for secondary analyses, and be supported in initiating independent studies to produce pilot data to support their viable NIH mentored career award applications.

Trace Kershaw, PhD , is Department Chair and Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Public Health (Social and Behavioral Sciences). Dr. Kershaw focuses on the social and structural determinants of health (e.g., sexual health, substance use, mental health, reproductive health) among adolescents and emerging adults. His current focus is using innovative technologic methods to understand how social (e.g., how one's friends, partners, and family) and geographic context (e.g., how the places one goes and lives) influences their behaviors and health. Further, he is an expert in developing interventions aimed to improve the health and well-being of adolescents and emerging adults.

Joy S. Kaufman, PhD , Professor of Psychiatry (Psychology), Deputy Director for The Consultation Center, and Director of Evaluation Research in the Division of Prevention and Community Research. Trained as a Clinical and Community Psychologist, Dr. Kaufman conducts large-scale, multi-level evaluations of health service delivery systems, provides consultation to governmental and community organizations regarding these evaluations, and carries out related research. These evaluations take place in under-resourced communities; involve close partnerships with state and municipal governments, community organizations, and other public stakeholders; and generate data that informs program and policy development. A unique feature of her work is the training of public stakeholders to evaluate the services they receive or to utilize data so that they can provide rigorous and systematic feedback to improve services and participate in decision-making about their community. Dr. Kaufman's research interests include the identification of contextual factors that impact outcomes for individuals with emotional and behavioral difficulties. The fellow would have the opportunity to join one or more of the following projects: (a) an evaluation of the implementation and outcomes of statewide systems of care for children with severe emotional and behavioral issues (e.g., youth substance use, exposure to traumatic events, parental stress, social and emotional difficulties); (b) examination of data collected as part of a national multi-site study to evaluate the implementation and outcomes of model programs to reduce the rate of homicide resulting from domestic violence; and/or (c) engage in a community-based participatory research project where youth receiving behavioral health services will be trained to gather and analyze data assessing the behavioral health system of care.

Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, PhD , Professor of Psychiatry and Chair of the Human Investigations Committee at Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Krishnan-Sarin leads many tobacco-related initiatives at Yale including a FDA/NIH funded center focused on tobacco regulatory science research, and an American Heart Association initiative focused on developing interventions for e-cigarette use among youth. 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. The fellow could be involved in qualitative and quantitative research related to developing and dissemination e-cigarette cessation interventions, and analyzing evidence from local surveys with middle and high school adolescents, or from national datasets like the Populations Assessment of Tobacco and Health, to understand use rates and perceptions and attitudes towards tobacco products.

Linda Mayes, MD , Arnold Gesell Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Psychology in the Yale Child Study Center; Chair, Yale Child Study Center; Deputy Dean for Professionalism and Leadership, Office of the Dean, School of Medicine. Helena J. V. Rutherford, PhD, 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.

Carolyn M. Mazure, PhD , Norma Weinberg Spungen and Joan Lebson Bildner Professor in Women's Health Research and Professor of Psychiatry and of Psychology; Director, Women's Health Research at Yale. Dr. Mazure’s contributions in women's health began with her own internationally recognized research in depression. Focusing on the gender differences in this disorder, she was the first to demonstrate how stress is a more potent pathway to depression in women than men and use these findings to inform treatment interventions. Understanding the value of uncovering gender differences in depression, combined with recognizing that such data are sorely lacking in other fields, she created Women's Health Research at Yale. Since its inception in 1998, the center has been recognized as a national model for launching research on the influence of sex and gender on human health, translating findings into practice, and providing mentored training.

Stephanie S. O'Malley, PhD , is Professor of Psychiatry and Deputy Chair, Clinical Research. Her research uses assessment, human laboratory and clinical trial methods to investigate alcohol and tobacco use and the prevention of long-term problems. She is Co-Director of the Center for the Translational Neuroscience of Alcoholism (CTNA) and Co-PI of the Yale Tobacco Center for Regulatory Research (TCORS). Fellows have access to several large data sets for secondary analyses as well as the opportunity to develop new studies and to apply for pilot funds through the CTNA and TCORS.

Marc N. Potenza, PhD, MD , 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 (including pornography use), 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. His group has also been investigating the neural correlates of spirituality and how spirituality and recovery capital may operate in people with addictions.

Carolyn E. Sartor, PhD ,is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry. Her program of research is aimed at refining etiological models of problem substance use in adolescents and young adults using a developmental psychopathology approach. The identification of differences by gender and race/ethnicity in the contribution of socioenvironmental influences such as trauma, discrimination, and religious involvement - as well as genetic liability - 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 risk and protective factors. Fellows have access to data from multiple large-scale studies of adolescents and adults to conduct secondary data analysis projects.

Rajita Sinha, PhD , 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 understanding the biobehavioral processes by which stress, trauma and adversity are associated with both risk for addiction and in relapse and treatment failure in addictive disorders. Her program also develops and tests novel addiction prevention and treatment strategies that target stress pathophysiology in addictive disorder patients and stress regulation in individuals at-risk for addiction problems. She utilizes a number of different approaches to address these objectives, including human experimental studies, neuroimaging, neurocognitive approaches, pharmacological approaches and clinical treatment outcome studies. These objectives are accomplished through various NIH funded research projects available for fellow involvement.

Megan V. Smith, DrPH, MPH , Associate Professor of Psychiatry and in the Child Study Center and in Public Health (Social and Behavioral Sciences); Director, Mental health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) Partnership; Director, Yale Child Study Center Parent and Family Development Program. 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.