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Post-Doctoral Associate Positions in LGBTQ Mental Health

Post-Doctoral Associate Positions in LGBTQ Mental Health

Job Title: Post-Doctoral Associate
Department: Social and Behavioral Sciences, Yale School of Public Health
Location: Pachankis lab, New York, NY
Salary Range: Salary and benefits are commensurate with experience

Advertised Summary Job Description:

We are seeking two post-doctoral associates for several studies related to LGBTQ mental health. Two of these studies are funded by NIH: “Biopsychosocial mechanisms underlying internalizing psychopathology in a prospective, population-based cohort of sexual minority young adults” (Project PLUS) and “Building mobile HIV prevention and mental health support in low-resource settings” (Project Comunică). The first project is led by Drs. John Pachankis (Yale University), Mark Hatzenbuehler (Columbia University), and Richard Bränström (Karolinska Institute). The second project is led by Dr. John Pachankis (Yale University) and Dr. Corina Lelutiu-Weinberger (Rutgers University). A third study is funded by the David Kessler, MD, ‘55 Resource Fund for LGBTQ Mental Health Research at Yale: “A randomized controlled trial of online LGBTQ-affirmative cognitive behavioral therapy to reduce depression and associated health risks among youth” (Project EQuIP), led by Dr. John Pachankis.  The post-doctoral associates would be mentored by Dr. Pachankis and would collaborate (as appropriate) with other study investigators. 

Study Description (Project PLUS)

Sexual minority (SM) individuals are substantially more likely than heterosexuals to experience internalizing psychopathology and associated comorbidity. Young and early adulthood represents the period during which significant sexual orientation disparities in internalizing psychopathology emerge. Yet, little is known about the biopsychosocial mechanisms underlying the sexual orientation disparity in mental disorders during this critical developmental stage. We have created a rare opportunity, currently unavailable in US-based studies, to address these knowledge gaps by capitalizing on methodological advancements available in a large prospective, population-based dataset in Sweden.  We will follow a new representative cohort of SM young adults and a matched heterosexual cohort. We will administer to this cohort an online battery of self-report and behavioral measures of internalizing psychopathology and proposed mechanisms for four years annually to evaluate whether psychosocial mechanisms explain the young adult SM disparity in internalizing psychopathology. We will also evaluate whether biological mechanisms explain the young adult SM disparity in internalizing psychopathology.  

Study Description (Project Comunică)

This project is designed to remedy unaddressed and interlocking HIV-prevention and mental health needs among gay and bisexual men (GBM) in the Central Eastern European country of Romania, and their underpinning stigma-related mechanisms. Rampant stigma contributes to the increasing prevalence of HIV among Romanian GBM and keeps GBM out-of-reach of HIV-prevention services. Our mHealth pilot intervention (titled “Comunica”), which reduced US and Romanian GBM’s risk for HIV infection while also reducing depression and alcohol abuse in initial pre-post trials, is now being tested in a randomized controlled trial with a large national sample compared to an education attention condition (EAC) that serves as a control. We hypothesize that 1) compared to GBM randomized to EAC, those randomized to the mHealth Comunica condition will report significant reductions in condomless anal sex across the 12-month follow-up, 2) social-cognitive and minority stress mechanisms will statistically mediate intervention efficacy, and 3) compared to EAC, the DMDN intervention will prove cost-effective in terms of HIV infections averted and reduced depression and alcohol abuse. If efficacious and cost-effective, DMDN presents a highly disseminable intervention that could significantly prevent HIV infection among GBM in high-stigma, low- resource areas, where GBM are disproportionately affected by HIV, yet kept out-of-reach of brick-and-mortar prevention services.

Study Description (Project EQuIP)

This project is testing the efficacy of a 10-session skills-building intervention designed to reduce young sexual minorities’ co-occurring mental health risks by reducing the underlying pathways through which minority stress impairs LGBTQ mental health. Because this treatment has only previously been tested using an in-person modality, this precludes reaching LGBTQ young adults across geographic locales, including those locales that might not provide LGBTQ-affirmative brick-and-mortar services. Therefore, we propose to test an online version of EQuIP in high-stigma, low-resource geographies across the US. To evaluate the preliminary efficacy of an LGBTQ-affirmative online CBT treatment, we propose a 3-arm RCT that would examine whether online EQuIP demonstrates significant mental health improvements compared to standard online CBT and compared to self-monitoring of stress and mood.

Primary Responsibilities:  

The post-doctoral associate will be appointed in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Yale School of Public Health and based at Dr. Pachankis’ lab in New York, NY. The fellowship’s duration is two years and the appointment term is one year that is renewable for an additional year, contingent on funding and performance. 

The post-doctoral associate will work closely with Dr. Pachankis and the study teams to:
• Obtain data across longitudinal time points and prepare data for analyses
• Develop analysis plans to test study hypotheses and conduct statistical analyses
• Supervise the delivery of mental health interventions as part of clinical trials (if so qualified)
• Prepare manuscripts for publication (the post-doctoral associate will have the opportunity to be the first author on several papers and a co-author on others)
• Assist in other daily activities related to the study (e.g., coordination of team meetings, IRB renewals, etc.)

Minimum Qualifications:

The applicant must meet these minimum qualifications to be considered:

The successful candidate will have doctoral training in psychology, epidemiology, sociology, or an allied discipline, and will have particular strengths in multilevel modeling, latent growth curve modeling, and other methods of analyzing longitudinal data; and knowledge of psychosocial influences on mental health. Knowledge of research on sexual minority mental health is encouraged but is not required for this position. Candidates must have completed all requirements for the PhD prior to starting the position. Yale requires proof of the doctoral degree. 

To apply:

To apply for this position please submit a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, and the names and contact information of two references.  For further information, please contact Dr. John Pachankis ( Applications will be reviewed in December 2019 and January 2020, with an ideal start date in summer 2020. 

Yale University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Yale values diversity among its students, staff, and faculty and strongly welcomes applications from women, persons with disabilities, protected veterans, and underrepresented minorities.

Date posted: 10/24/2019