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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 offers a two-year NIDA T32 postdoctoral research training program in substance abuse prevention. A renewal application for the program is pending, funding is available for one year with the second year funded upon renewal of funding. A call for applications will be posted here at a later date and the information below (Scientific Projects) will be modified as necessary.

The program emphasizes five research training aims: 1) to understand substance use 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 use 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) commitment to 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. 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.

Faculty Mentors

  • Angela M. Haeny, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Racial 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.

  • Grace Kong, PhD, is an Associate 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 and young adult tobacco use. Dr. Kong leads an NIH and FDA-funded R01 research project that examines diverse social media platforms 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 and young adult-focused tobacco interventions and policies; 2) conduct content analysis of social media data which includes human coding and advanced methods, such as supervised machine learning; 3) work in a multi-disciplinary team of computational and behavioral scientists; and 4) 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.

  • Linda Mayes, MD, is the Arnold Gesell Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Psychology in the Yale Child Study Center; and Chair, Child Study Center. She is also Special Advisor to the Dean in the Yale School of Medicine and is a Distinguished Visiting Professor in psychology at Sewanee: The University of the South where she is working on intervention programs to enhance child and family resilience. Trained as a pediatrician, Dr. Mayes’s research focuses on stress-response and regulatory mechanisms in young children at both biological and psychosocial risk. She has especially focused on the impact of prenatal substance use on children’s long-term outcomes. She has made contributions to understanding the mechanisms of effect of prenatal stimulant exposure on the ontogeny of arousal regulatory systems and the relation between dysfunctional emotional regulation and impaired prefrontal cortical function in young children. Given the nature of her work with children at significantly high-risk for developmental impairments from both biological and psychosocial etiologies, Dr. Mayes also focuses on the impact of parenting on the development of arousal and attention regulatory mechanisms in their children, and specifically on how substance abuse impacts reward and stress regulatory systems in new parents. With other colleagues in the Center, she studies how adults transition to parenthood, especially when substance abuse is involved, and the basic neural circuitry of early parent-infant attachment using both neuroimaging and electroencephalographic techniques. She and her colleagues have developed a series of interventions for parents including an intensive home-based program called Minding the Baby. Dr. Mayes's research programs are multidisciplinary, not only in their blending basic science with clinical interventions but also in the disciplines required including adult and child psychiatry, behavioral neuroscience, obstetrics, pediatrics, and neuropsychology.

  • 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 alcohol use disorder. 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.

  • 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, including research to inform tobacco regulations. 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.

  • 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.

  • John Pachankis, Ph.D. is the Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Public Health and, secondarily, of Psychiatry and Psychology. As Director of Yale's LGBTQ Mental Health Initiative, his goals are to: (1) identify the complex reasons that LGBTQ populations experience one of the highest risks for mental health morbidity across all of psychiatric epidemiology and (2) bring effective mental health treatments to LGBTQ people in the US and around the world. His NIH-funded studies span population-based cohorts, clinical trials, and community implementation research. This research first seeks to identify the developmental precursors and biopsychosocial mechanisms of LGBTQ people's disproportionate mental health burden. These studies then also engage these mechanisms as treatment targets. These treatments have shown efficacy for reducing the co-occurring mental health risks commonly affecting LGBTQ people (e.g., depression, anxiety, substance use disorders) across several randomized controlled trials. He has published 180+ scientific papers on LGBTQ people's mental health and co-edited the Handbook of Evidence-Based Mental Health Practice with Sexual and Gender Minorities (Oxford University Press). His research has received several awards, has influenced policy, and appears in international media.

  • Marc N. Potenza, PhD, MD, is an Albert E. Kent Professor of Psychiatry, in the Child Study, and of Neuroscience; Director, Division of Addiction Research at Yale; 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, qualitative 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 and large data sets like ABCD. 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. He and others are also working on developing an app for deliver cognitive behavioral therapy to people with gambling problems and then test the app in a randomized clinical trial.

  • Yusuf Ransome, MPH, DrPH, is an Associate Professor of Public Health (Social and Behavioral Sciences). His purpose in life is to inspire and empower people to fast track their way to holistic wellbeing (health, wealth, and happiness).

    Dr. Ransome pursues his purpose through scientific research that investigates and evaluates how to leverage social connectedness, social capital, and spirituality to reduce health disparities, with specific focus on mental health, substance use, and HIV-related outcomes. Dr. Ransome’s research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), and the John Templeton Foundation.

  • Helena Rutherford, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Child Study Center and in Psychology, Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, and Combined Program in Biological and Biomedical Sciences. She is also faculty at University College London and the Anna Freud National Center for Children and Families and Dr. Rutherford directs a Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology master’s program. Her research focuses on a unique neurodevelopmental period in adulthood: the transition to parenthood. In particular, her current work examines neuroplasticity of the parental brain during pregnancy and the postpartum period, employing neuroimaging (EEG/ERP, MRI/fMRI), behavioral (observed behavior, reaction time tasks, interview/self-reports), and physiological (hormonal, cardiac) approaches. Through her work in The Before and After Baby Lab, Dr. Rutherford’s program of research seeks to examine mechanisms that are critical to support parenting and understanding under what conditions those mechanisms may be compromised, particularly in the context of addiction.

  • Rajita Sinha, PhD, is Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry and Professor in the Child Study Center and of Neuroscience; Director, Yale Interdisciplinary Stress Center; Deputy Chair of Psychiatry for Psychology and Chief, Psychology Section in Psychiatry. Her research is focused on understanding the biobehavioral processes by which stress, trauma and adversity are associated with both risk for addiction and relapse and treatment failure for addictive disorders and other chronic mental and physical illness risk. Her research also elucidates stress resilience mechanisms and processes by which those mechanisms are affected by stress and trauma to increase within and inter-generational vulnerability to addiction and other mental and physical illnesses. Her program also develops and tests novel addiction prevention and treatment strategies that target stress pathophysiology in addictive disorders 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, sociobehavioral and clinical treatment outcome studies and prevention approaches. These objectives are accomplished through various NIH funded research projects available for fellow involvement.

  • Tami P. Sullivan, PhD, is Professor of Psychiatry (Psychology), Co-Director of the Division of Prevention and Community Research, Co-Director of the Postdoctoral Fellowship in Substance Use 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 (e.g., real-time assessment). 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, a peer-led IPV support group intervention, a single-session, technology-facilitated hope-based intervention for women who have experienced IPV; and an effectiveness implementation study to promote retention in opioid treatment among women who experience IPV by targeting PTSD.