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James Albert Cartreine, Ph.D.

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I see the mass dissemination of empirically supported interventions as one of the major challenges facing behavioral healthcare today. Although psychologists and others have developed effective ways of helping people change behavior to promote health and treat mental health problems, these methods typically rely on trained clinicians or paraprofessionals. Unfortunately, there is more demand than supply and access to these trained professionals. One approach to this problem is to train providers en masse on interventions such as HIV prevention counseling or behavior therapy for depression. Another approach is to deliver interventions in ways that do not require a provider, using technology. My research has focused on both approaches.

In graduate school, I developed and evaluated a video and interactive workbook to teach clinical interviewing skills to mental health center paraprofessionals. This training package was the first reported in the psychology literature to have been developed to meet a predetermined criterion for educational effectiveness. It provided the basis of my “Criterion-based Development Model” for maximizing the effectiveness of self-instructional training programs.

After completing a clinical psychology postdoctoral fellowship, I joined the faculty of Dartmouth Medical School and co-developed an NIH-funded interactive multimedia program to teach cancer patients how to manage the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy. Subsequently, I co-developed a CDC-funded program to teach HIV prevention counseling to medical professionals, counselors, and outreach workers. The goal of this program is to teach and disseminate best practices for HIV risk behavior change on a mass scale. This program also provided the foundation for a recent proposal to develop a program that provides HIV prevention counseling directly to adolescents, without the involvement of a counselor.

As a Harvard Medical School faculty member, I have been PI on 3 grants funded by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI). These are major projects comparable in scope and funding to R-01 grants. The first was to develop an interactive multimedia program to help astronauts prevent, detect, assess, and manage psychosocial problems that might arise on long-duration missions to the International Space Station, the Moon, and Mars. The system’s architecture was developed in the first project, and supplemental funds were awarded to complete a section on interpersonal conflict management training. The second project involved the development and evaluation of a self-help program to treat depression. It was evaluated in a randomized, controlled trial. The third NSBRI study was to develop an interactive media-delivered intervention for interpersonal conflict in the workplace. It was the first study to evaluate an intervention for co-worker conflict across multiple settings and persons in any field.

I have also produced a documentary-style video sponsored by NIH to introduce academics to the field of disaster mental health research.

In addition to research, I have had the opportunity to co-lead a seminar on cognitive-behavioral therapy for third-year residents in the Longwood psychiatry residency program. I have also participated annually in the HMS Office for Diversity’s Program for Research and Investigation in Science and Math. I have also served as an examiner for fourth-year medical students’ Objective Structured Clinical Examination.

Currently I am a course director for didactics that teach psychiatry residents how to perform cognitive behavioral therapy and problem-solving treatment. I am also course director for Human Development, another psychiatry resident didactic.

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Funded by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through its Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program, grant number UL1TR002541.