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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


Past Meetings

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).

Upcoming Meetings

January 17, 2024

Drs. Jennifer Barredo and Jason Chen will each present on their Career Development Awards. Time will be provided for discussions and Q&A following their presentations. We look forward to hearing about their important work and the impact on Veteran suicide prevention.

Jennifer Barredo, PhD is a Health Scientist at the Center for Neurorestoration and Neurotechnology at the VA Providence Health System (VAPHS) and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine of Brown University. She uses neuroimaging to investigate suicidal thoughts and behaviors, disorders of emotional regulation, and responsiveness to psychiatric and psychosocial treatments. Dr. Barredo will present on her recently completed VA CSR&D funded CDA-2 titled, “Identification of Veterans at-risk for Suicide: A Multidisciplinary Approach.”

Jason Chen, PhD, is a Core Investigator at the VA HSR&D Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care (CIVIC) and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University. His research focuses on mechanisms of suicide risk and the implementation and dissemination of suicide prevention programming. Dr. Chen will present on his currently funded VA HSR&D CDA titled, "Enhancing Social Connectedness Among Veterans at High Risk for Suicide through Community Engagement."

February 21, 2024

Dr. Craig Bryan will present on his work blending suicide prevention research, theory, and advocacy. He will discuss his recently published book Rethinking Suicide: Why Prevention Fails, and How We Can Do Better as well as how to develop a career as a suicide prevention clinician/researcher.

March 20, 2024

Stay tuned for details coming soon!

April 24, 2024

Stay tuned for details coming soon!

May 22, 2024

Stay tuned for details coming soon!

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


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