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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 with start dates beginning June or July 2022.

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 DirectorJacob Tebes. 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. As per NIH/NIDA, trainees must be a citizen or a noncitizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time of appointment. A notarized statement verifying possession of a permanent residency documentation must be provided.

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.

Krysten Bold, PhD , is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry. Her program of research focuses on understanding cigarette and e-cigarette use among youth and adults to inform tobacco prevention, intervention, and policy. Her research involves use of multiple methods including qualitative interviews, focus groups, longitudinal surveys, randomized controlled trials, and EMA studies. Ongoing projects include 1) investigating longitudinal trends in tobacco use and identifying factors associated with initiation, switching, and cessation of cigarettes and e-cigarettes to inform prevention and intervention efforts; 2) examining the impact of flavors in cigarettes and e-cigarettes to inform tobacco regulatory policies; and 3) leveraging advances in mobile technology and wearable biosensors for real-time assessment and intervention. T32 fellows would have access to these projects and existing datasets and would have the opportunity to collaborate with researchers studying tobacco regulatory science to inform tobacco policies and benefit public health.

Elizabeth Connors, PhD , is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry (Psychology) and in the Child Study Center. Dr. Connors’ program of research focuses on implementation of evidence-based practices in school and community settings to support the mental health and wellbeing of children, adolescents and their families. Dr. Connors specializes in the selection and application of implementation science frameworks, methods and strategies to promote sustained change in under resourced school and community settings that are critical access points for mental health promotion, prevention, early intervention and treatment for youth social, emotional, and behavioral health needs. She currently studies evidence-based practices such as 1) measurement-based care to drive person-centered, data-driven treatment; and 2) trauma informed strategies for students and school staff to promote resilience from chronic stress and adversity. As a Child-Clinical and Community Psychologist, Dr. Connors uses participatory methods and is dedicated to community partnered and stakeholder informed research built on the foundation of university-school-family-community partnerships.

Joan Cook, PhD , is a Clinical Psychologist and Professor of Psychiatry. She has peer-reviewed publications in the areas of traumatic stress, geriatric mental health, and implementation science fields. She has served as the principal investigator on seven federal grants, was a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) Guideline Development Panel for the Treatment of PTSD and the 2016 President of APA’s Division of Trauma Psychology. She is currently the PI on a large comparative effectiveness trial examining two online peer-led interventions to encourage sexual and gender minorities male sexual abuse survivors to enroll in formal mental health treatment and reduce trauma-related emotional distress (posttraumatic stress disorder, substance misuse, depression, anxiety). Fellows have access to data from to conduct secondary data analysis projects.

Lisa Fucito, PhD , is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the 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. Dr. Fucito recently completed an RCT of a multimodal mobile sleep intervention for heavy-drinking young adults (N=120). As a follow-up to this recent trial, she is conducting a pilot RCT of a personalized feedback + self-monitoring brief intervention targeting sleep and heart rate variability for this population utilizing new commercially marketed PPG biosensors. Additional current NIH funded projects include: 1) RCT of a pre-surgical contingency management tobacco intervention for cancer patients; 2) RCT of a gain-framed + NRT sampling tobacco intervention for lung cancer screening patients; 3) a preliminary study to investigate whether new oral nicotine pouches help adults switch from smoking combustible cigarettes; and 4) the implementation and evaluation of proactive outreach and pharmacist-embedded care to improve tobacco treatment reach and engagement for patients with cancer.

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 postdocs 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.

Angela M. Haeny, PhD , is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Race Equity and Addiction Lab (REAL). Dr. Haeny’s research primarily aims to address racial disparities in drug and alcohol treatment with a focus on Black adults. Ongoing projects include 1) the Self-Change study, which seeks to understand the process of self-change from substance use disorders among Black adults; 2) the Craving Study, which aims to develop a patient-rated outcome measure of drug and alcohol craving, and 3) Sawubona, which involves collecting data on an African-centered virtual healing group to inform how this group might be applied as an adjunctive support for Black adults with substance use disorders. Dr. Haeny has a career development award focused on culturally adapting alcohol treatment for Black adults to include experiences of racial stress and trauma. In addition, Dr. Haeny has access to data assessing the impact of COVID-19 and racial stress on substance use and other mental health outcomes, the impact of psychedelic use on racial trauma, and data from the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. T32 fellows in the REAL at Yale would have access to these projects and data sets and would have the opportunity to work with a team of folks working collaboratively to achieve racial equity in addictions research.

Joy S. Kaufman, PhD , is 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: 1) 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); or 2) examination of data (including criminal justice, law enforcement, qualitative interviews with law enforcement, service providers and victims longitudinal victim interviews), 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.

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 wellbeing of adolescents and emerging adults.

Grace Kong, PhD , is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry. She uses multi-methods (e.g., social media analysis, qualitative focus groups, quantitative surveys) to understand tobacco use behaviors and marketing to inform intervention development and policies to prevent youth tobacco use. Dr. Kong leads an NIH and FDA funded R01 research project that examines social media platforms such as YouTube to understand tobacco use trends and marketing. Fellows will gain a deep understanding of using social media data to 1) develop research questions that will inform the development of youth-focused tobacco interventions and policies; 2) conduct content analysis of social media data which includes human coding and advanced methods, such as social network analysis and machine learning; and 3) apply knowledge learned from social media analysis to human behaviors using surveys and focus groups.

Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, PhD , is 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 an 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.

Sarah Lowe, PhD , is an Assistant Professor of Public Health (Social and Behavioral Sciences) and the Director of the Trauma and Mental Health Lab, and a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. Her research program focuses on the long-term mental health consequences of range of potentially traumatic events, and the interplay between post-trauma psychological functioning and other domains of well-being, including social relationships and physical health. Her work sees to 1) elucidate varied patterns of well-being in the aftermath of trauma; 2) identify factors along the pathway from trauma exposure to long-term mental health symptoms; and 3) examine the independent and joint effects of factors at multiple socio-ecological levels on post-trauma functioning. T32 fellows would have the opportunity to join a supportive lab community that includes undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral trainees. Current projects include a longitudinal study of low-income mothers from New Orleans who experienced Hurricane Katrina; survey studies of healthcare workers and persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic; an investigation of intergenerational trauma after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and Rwanda; and the relationship between climate change anxiety and mental health symptoms. In addition to secondary data analyses, fellows would also receive support in pursuing independent research projects.

Carolyn M. Mazure, PhD , is the 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.

Sherry McKee, PhD , is Professor of Psychiatry, Director of the Yale Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory, and Clinical Director of the Forensic Drug Diversion Clinic. Her research is focused on improving treatment for those with addiction. Using a transdisciplinary perspective, she uses human laboratory paradigms, clinical trials, 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 an interdisciplinary research effort to develop gender-informed interventions for alcohol use disorders. 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 drinkers. 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 adults who are re-entering their communities following incarceration.

Jaimie P. Meyer, MD, MS , is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Health. She is an infectious disease physician who is also board certified in Addiction Medicine. Her research focuses on HIV prevention and treatment for women with substance use disorders, including several ongoing and recently completed projects that address social determinants of health: 1) a clinical trial of a PrEP decision aid for women in drug treatment; 2) adaptation of the PrEP decision aid for women in domestic violence service settings; 3) implementation of an integrated housing and substance use treatment intervention for people who are justice-involved and homeless; and 4) a micro-longitudinal study of HIV care outcomes among women living with HIV who are IPV-exposed.

Ijeoma Opara, PhD, MSW, MPH , is an Assistant Professor of Public Health (Social and Behavioral Sciences) and the Director of The Substance Abuse and Sexual Health (SASH) Lab. Dr. Opara defines herself as a community-based participatory researcher with experience in working with youth and community organizations dedicated to reducing substance use in urban communities. Dr. Opara’s research focuses on strengths-based approaches for urban youth substance use and HIV prevention. Her second line of research involves highlighting racial and gender specific strategies in prevention research for Black girls. Her current projects include: (1) The Paterson Prevention Project, which is a 5-year study funded by the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award. The Paterson Prevention Project is a community-based study that focuses on neighborhoods impact on substance use and mental health for urban racial-ethnic minority youth in Paterson, New Jersey. The goal of the project is to use formative data to develop a sustainable substance use and mental health prevention program in Paterson. (2) The Dreamer Girls Project is a strengths-based HIV/STI and drug use prevention program that seeks to improve health outcomes for Black girls. The Dreamer Girls Project is currently recruiting for its formative study which will inform the development of a HIV/STI and substance use prevention program for Black girls. Dr. Opara is also involved in other studies that focus on using multiple sources of data and methodologies to inform and develop strengths-based substance use prevention interventions that involve community support, promote racial-ethnic identity and pride, strengthen social support and youth empowerment for Black and Hispanic youth and their families.

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, neighborhood factors, discrimination, and religious involvement 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 cultural and environmental risk and protective factors. Fellows have access to data from large-scale studies of youth and young adults to conduct secondary data analysis projects.

Tami P. Sullivan, PhD , is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry (Psychology), Co-Director of the Division of Prevention and Community Research, Co-Director of the Postdoctoral Fellowship in Substance Abuse Prevention Research, and Director of Family Violence Research and Programs. Her program of research is centered on individual- and system-level factors that affect the wellbeing of victims of intimate partner violence (IPV), with specific attention to daily processes and micro-longitudinal designs. At the individual level, Dr. Sullivan's work aims to advance understanding of the relationships among IPV and its highly prevalent negative outcomes such as posttraumatic stress, substance use, and sexual risk in an effort to develop preventive interventions that promote safety and resilience. At the systems-level, she conducts IPV research and evaluation within the criminal justice and other service systems (e.g., Health Care system, HIV service system). She studies the impact of the system’s response on victims’ wellbeing including the ways in which it promotes or impedes victims’ safety, recovery and resilience. Dr. Sullivan is a licensed psychologist with extensive clinical experience with victims and offenders of IPV, providing services in a range of settings from community programs, dual diagnosis programs, inpatient settings, and outpatient clinics to domestic violence shelters, transitional living programs, and community programs. Current projects include but are not limited to a focus on the role of firearm threat in the lives of women experiencing IPV, the ways in which IPV impacts the daily functioning of women living with HIV, the ways in which the emergency department can better support victims of IPV and a national multi-site study focused on homicide prevention among IPV victims. Additional projects may include a focus on smoking cessation among American Indian women living with IPV and separately, the heterogeneity among women experiencing IPV.