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American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Invests $6.2M in Scientific Research to Prevent Tenth Leading Cause of Death  

4 Sep 2019 — 5 min read



AFSP is the largest private funder of suicide prevention research

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American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Invests $6.2M in Scientific Research to Prevent Tenth Leading Cause of Death  

NEW YORK (September 4, 2019) – The largest private funder of suicide prevention research, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), today announced 26 new grants totaling over $6.2 million. These grants were awarded to researchers from across the world who focus their work on studies that help us learn more about suicide and how to prevent it.

“Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death, and we are learning how to prevent it through research. These new studies will provide us with an even deeper understanding of suicide to aid in our prevention efforts. The studies cover a broad range of topics including new ways to screen for suicide risk, the development of effective interventions, and efforts to increase our understanding of the biology of suicidal behavior. I am so proud to announce the researchers who AFSP will be supporting this year,” said Dr. Jill Harkavy-Friedman, the vice president of research for AFSP.  

Each application is reviewed multiple times by the top suicide prevention researchers in the world. The research grants are funded mainly through individual donors who attend the AFSP walks and other public education events. Many of the AFSP grantees then go on to receive further funding from the National Institute of Mental Health and other large funding agencies.

The 26 grants awarded this year address six key suicide research areas: Neurobiological, Psychosocial, Genetic, Treatment, Community or Loss Survivors: 

1. Title: “Opiate Suicide Study in Patients with Major Depression”
Amount: $1,416,096
Researcher: Alan Schatzberg, MD, Kenneth T. Norris, Jr. Professor
Location: Stanford University, Stanford, CA

2. Title: “Inpatient Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy to Reduce Suicide Risk Post-Discharge”
Amount: $1,049,024
Researcher: David Tolin, PhD, Director
Location: Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital, Hartford, CT

3. Title: “An Integrated Approach to Understanding the Biology of Suicidal Behavior”
Amount: $1,488,788
Researcher: Virginia Willour, PhD, Associate Professor
Location: University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

4. Title: “Virtual Interaction Training in Emotional Self-Awareness for Working with Suicidal Patients”
Amount: $300,000
Researchers: Igor Galynker MD, PhD Professor of Psychiatry & Adriana Foster, MD, Professor, Vice-Chair for Clinical and Research Programs
Locations: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, and Florida International University, Miami, FL

5. Title: “MicroRNA Mediators of Early-Life Stress Vulnerability in Suicidal Behavior”
Amount: $125,000
Researcher: Yogesh Dwivedi, PhD Elesabeth Ridgley Shook Endowed Chair, Professor of Psychiatry
Location: University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL

6. Title: “Comparison of brain and blood suicide signatures: From mechanisms to biomarkers”
Amount: $100,000
Researcher: Adolfo Sequeira, PhD, Assistant Research Professor
Location: University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA

7. Title: “Risk of Suicide Mortality Among 1 Million Handgun Purchasers: A Cohort Study”
Amount: $100,000
Researcher: David Studdert LLB, ScD, MPH, Professor of Law, Professor of Medicine
Location: Stanford University, Stanford, CA

8. Title: “Post-Hospital Suicide Prevention Intervention for Patients with Schizophrenia-Spectrum Disorders”
Amount: $100,000
Researcher: Brandon Gaudiano, PhD Research Psychologist, Associate Professor
Location: Butler Hospital/Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI

9. Title: “Validating the Ask Suicide-Screening Questions (ASQ) for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Neurodevelopmental Disability”
Amount: $100,000
Researcher: Paul Lipkin, MD, Director, Interactive Autism Network
Location: Hugo W. Moser Research Institute at Kennedy Krieger, Inc., Baltimore, MD

10. Title: “Improving Prevention of Youth Suicide Clusters: A Systems Approach”
Amount: $99,368
Researcher: Anna Mueller, PhD, Assistant Professor
Location: Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

11. Title: “Feasibility, Acceptability, and Preliminary Efficacy of a Novel Personalized Mobile Intervention for Suicide”
Amount: $97,684
Researcher: Heather Schatten, PhD, Research Psychologist, Assistant Professor
Location: Butler Hospital/Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI

12. Title: “Pain-Based Catastrophic Thinking and Suicidality: A Cognitive-Interpersonal Examination”
Amount: $99,990
Researcher: Golan Shahar, PhD, Professor of Clinical-Health Psychology
Location: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-sheva, Negev, Israel

13. Title: “GABA-related mechanisms of suicidality reduction”
Amount: $100,000
Researcher: Etienne Sibille, PhD, Deputy Director
Location: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

14. Title: “Suicidality in Depressed Adolescents: A Study of Neural Changes with a Mind-Body Intervention”
Amount: $100,000
Researcher: Olga Tymofiyeva, PhD, Assistant Professional Researcher
Location: University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

15. Title: “Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence to Reduce the Risk of Death by Suicide”
Amount: $99,468
Researcher: Bradley Watts, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Location: Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

16. Title: “The Gut-Brain Axis and Suicide Attempts: New Markers for Assessment and Prevention”
Amount: $100,000
Researcher: Faith Dickerson, PhD, MPH, Director of Psychology
Location: Sheppard Pratt Health System, Towson, MD 

17. Title: “Pilot Study to Identify Modifiable Transdiagnostic Suicide Attempt Risk Factors”
Amount: $100,000
Researcher: Carolyn Rodriguez, MD, PhD Assistant Professor
Location: Stanford University, Stanford, CA

18. Title: “Elucidating the Polygenic Architecture Underlying Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors”
Amount: $68,761
Researcher: Emma Johnson, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate
Location: Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO

19. Title: “Evaluation of Suicide Risk, Opioid, and Pain Screening Protocols in West Virginia Primary Care”
Amount: $89,276
Researcher: Mary LeCloux, PhD, Assistant Professor/MSW Program Director
Location: West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV

20. Title: “Characterizing Suicides Among Opioid-Related Deaths”
Amount: $90,000
Researcher: Paul Nestadt, MD, Assistant Professor
Location: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD

21. Title: “Neural markers of NSSI and Suicide Risk: Acute Physical Pain Modulation of Neural Processing of Social Rejection”
Amount: $80,000
Researcher: Caroline Oppenheimer, PhD, Assistant Professor
Location: University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

22. Title: “Examining the Association between Social Cognitive Deficits and Suicidal Ideation in Eating Disorders”
Amount: $90,000
Researcher: Emily Pisetsky, PhD, Assistant Professor
Location: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

23. Title: “Characterization of rare genetic variants involved in risk of death by suicide”
Amount: $112,000
Researcher: Emily DiBlasi, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow
Location: University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

24. Title: “Individual and Contextual Level Correlates of Suicide in Rural Areas of the United States”
Amount: $112,000
Researcher: Danielle Steelesmith, PhD, MSW, Quality Data Manager
Location: Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

25. Title: “Identifying molecular, cellular, and synaptic changes associated with suicide”
Amount: $30,000
Researcher: Sujan Chandra Das, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate
Location: University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

26. Title: “Using genomic and clinical data to distinguish child psychiatry outpatients at high risk for suicide”
Amount: $29,989
Researcher: Alysa Doyle, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Location: Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube

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