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Early Career Investigator (ECI)

The SPRINT Early Career Investigator (ECI) group is open to investigators with an interest in suicide prevention research who are looking for mentorship, guidance, and/or an opportunity to connect with others in the field.

Meetings are held monthly, September through May, and are designed to benefit Early Career Investigators by offering:

  • mentorship pairing;
  • opportunities to share ideas and receive feedback;
  • access to suicide prevention research resources;
  • opportunities to learn from other suicide prevention researchers;
  • access to funding announcements and opportunities;
  • a space to connect with others in the field.

Meetings are designed to encourage information sharing, conversation, and connection. Meetings will include presentations from experts and leaders in suicide prevention research. They will also feature the work of early career investigators, offering an opportunity to showcase their emerging research, connect with others with similar interests, and receive supportive feedback from other researchers in the network. In addition, some meetings will focus on special topics that are of interest for early career researchers such as finding mentors, tips for obtaining funding, and other topics nominated by ECI members.

Schedule of Events

Upcoming Meetings

Meetings will resume in September 2024.

All meetings are held virtually at 2:00pm ET. Please email to be added to the ECI mailing list for calendar invites, updates, and resources.


Past Meetings

May 15, 2024

Responding to Grant Proposal Critiques

SPRINT Core Investigators shared advice and led a discussion on best practices for navigating and responding to grant proposal review feedback.

April 24, 2024

Early Career Investigators Dr. Daniel Reis and Dr. Jaclyn Kearns presented on their current research. Dr. Kearns’ research focuses on identifying proximal, time-varying, and modifiable risk factors for suicide among individuals at high-risk for suicide during high-risk times (e.g., following discharge from acute inpatient psychiatry). Dr. Reis’s research is focused on the role that disruption of daily biobehavioral rhythms plays in suicide and upstream mood and sleep disturbances. He is also interested in how data gathered from wearable sensors can guide personalized and chronobiologically informed interventions, such as timed bright light exposure.

March 20, 2024

VA Operations Programming and Funding Opportunities

Drs. Watts and Vincenti from the Office of Rural Health and Ms. Lauver from the Suicide Prevention Program in the Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention joined to discuss operations priority areas and program funding opportunities designed to support Veteran health and well-being. Discussion included ideas about how ECIs in the field of suicide prevention can pursue funding that supports VA operations programming and evaluation activities.

February 21, 2024

Dr. Craig Bryan delivered an engaging and inspirational presentation on his work blending suicide prevention research, clinical practice, and advocacy.

January 17, 2024

Drs. Jennifer Barredo and Jason Chen each presented on their Career Development Awards. Dr. Barredo shared an early look at her recently completed VA CSR&D funded CDA-2 titled, “Identification of Veterans at-risk for Suicide: A Multidisciplinary Approach.” Dr. Chen presented on his currently funded VA HSR&D CDA titled, "Enhancing Social Connectedness Among Veterans at High Risk for Suicide through Community Engagement."

December 20, 2023

Navigating the Career Development Award Process

Panel: Drs. Tate Halverson, Claire Houtsma, and Joseph Simonetti

Early career investigator panelists discussed their own unique experiences as CSR&D, HSR&D, and RR&D CDA awardees. The discussion provided a unique opportunity to delve into their research journeys, gain insights into their work, and understand the challenges and triumphs they have encountered.

November 15, 2023

Dr. Nathan Kimbrel

Dr. Kimbrel is a SPRINT PI, the Co-Director for the Clinical Core of the Mid-Atlantic MIRECC, and an Associate Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University School of Medicine. Dr. Kimbrel’s primary areas of interest include the etiology, assessment, and treatment of self-injurious behaviors, PTSD, and depression. He is currently leading a genome-wide gene x environment interaction study (GEWIS) of suicidal thoughts and behaviors within the Million Veteran Program and several other projects that utilize big data and machine learning methods to predict suicide among Veterans. He discussed these projects, how to navigate and use large datasets, lessons learned, career development issues, and the importance of team science.

October 18, 2023

Dr. Brian Marx and Dr. Nicholas Livingston

Drs. Marx and Livingston discussed considerations and methods for working with large databases. The meeting included the opportunity to discuss existing suicide-related databases, tips for gaining access to these databases, and how ECIs can recognize opportunities to utilize large data sets in suicide prevention research. Dr. Livingston presented on Project Cope, and studies that utilize Commercial, Medicaid, and VHA claims data, and VHA electronic record clinical note data, with a focus on suicide mortality data. Discussions included a focus on mentoring and career development in the field of suicide prevention and precision medicine.

September 20, 2023

SPRINT Core investigators shared updates on recent and future SPRINT initiatives, an overview of FY2024 ECI meeting plans, and provided an opportunity to interact with fellow ECIs through an interactive breakout session.

June 21, 2023

Dr. David Oslin

Understanding the physiological and genetic components of mental health has been the focus of recent efforts to improve psychiatric treatment outcomes, including those for suicide prevention. A precision medicine approach incorporates these and other factors to improve prediction of risk, prognosis, and treatment response in a way that ultimately improves mental health outcomes. Most recently, Dr. Oslin completed the PRIME Care Clinical Trial, which evaluated the effects of pharmacogenomic testing on antidepressant treatment. To help us better understand this growing area of research, Dr. Oslin shared some key findings from his research, presented concepts in precision medicine, and discussed applications of genetics in clinical practice.

February 22, 2023

Dr. Cheryl King

Dr. King shared her impactful work with adolescents and their families/peers and discussed potential applications to our work with Veterans and their families. As a prominent mentor in the field of suicide prevention, Dr. King facilitated a discussion on future directions for the field of suicide prevention and how Early Career Investigators can make a meaningful impact.

August 24, 2022

SPRINT Early Career Investigator Meeting Kick-Off

This was the initial meeting for this group. The agenda included a welcome and introduction of SPRINT and ECI members, a look forward to future ECI meetings, and information about the restructuring of the Office of Research & Development (ORD).


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