VA/STARRS-LS Researcher-in-Residence Program
SPRINT is pleased to announce Dr. Emily Edwards and Dr. Claire Houtsma as the inaugural cohort of the VA / STARRS-LS Researcher-in-Residence program. The program will embed selected VA investigators into STARRS-LS investigative teams, allowing these VA investigators full access to STARRS-LS data for the purpose of examining suicidality and related outcomes in Veterans. STARRS-LS is the longitudinal follow-up to Army STARRS (Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Service Members) and is a Department of Defense (DoD)-funded project that commenced in 2009 and was designed to comprehensively investigate risk and protective factors for suicide, suicide-related behavior, non-suicidal self-injury, and other mental/behavioral health issues among Army Soldiers. It is the largest study of mental health risk and resilience ever conducted among Army personnel.
During their 2-year residencies, Drs. Houtsma and Edwards will be STARRS-LS team members who will pursue independent research projects. Additionally, Drs. Houtsma and Edwards may assist in responding to queries from the Office of Mental Health and Suicide prevention and other shareholders and will help establish processes for linking STARRS-LS and VA data.
Emily Edwards, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist in New York State and Director of the VISN 2 MIRECC Clinical Core. As a scientist-practitioner, Dr. Edwards embraces integration of clinical practice and research. Her work focuses on themes of suicide, justice involvement, military-to-civilian transition, and mental health of military Veterans and on transdiagnostic interventions for Veterans affected by these difficulties. She has authored over 40 publications, received over $3M in grant funding to date, and provided consultation services to local problem-solving courts, the Veteran Benefits Association, and NYC Department of Corrections, among others.
Dr. Claire Houtsma is a Clinician Investigator and Suicide Prevention Coordinator at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System and the South Central Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC). She also holds academic appointments in the schools of medicine at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and Tulane University. Dr. Houtsma is currently completing a VA Clinical Science Research & Development Career Development Award-1, which aims to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of peer-delivered lethal means counseling among firearm owning Veterans. In particular, Dr. Houtsma is passionate about using community-engaged research approaches to develop interventions that can reach firearm owning Veterans before a suicidal crisis emerges.