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PLU Psychology professor awarded $2.5M to lead implementation of evidence-based trauma treatment

PLU Psychology professor awarded $2.5M to lead implementation of evidence-based trauma treatment

Funds awarded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to address trauma-related mental health challenges for college students

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A professor sits in front of a book shelf and smiles into the camera.
November 28, 2023
By MacKenzie Hines
Marketing and Communications

Pacific Lutheran University Chair and Associate Professor of Psychology Tiffany Artime, Ph.D. has been approved for a $2.5M funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to disseminate and implement research findings on Skills Training in Affect and Interpersonal Regulation with Narrative Therapy (STAIR-NT) for PTSD in University Counseling Centers (UCCs). 

“We hope this implementation project will help to address the need for effective and efficient care for trauma-exposed students who are seeking services in over-burdened UCCs,” said Artime. “As the recipient of this funding, PLU will be able to lead this important work and participate as an implementation site, extending STAIR to our students.”

STAIR-NT is a skill-based treatment with flexibility that can be adapted to the college counseling setting. It was developed to address post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and it has demonstrated efficacy in several randomized control trials and across many populations exposed to trauma.

Even the most impactful findings from clinical research studies can take years to become widespread clinical practice. This PCORI-funded project will cut that lag time and smooth the path by implementing STAIR in 31 UCCs across the United States. These STAIR programs will offer structured trauma treatment that is responsive to the patient-, provider-, and system-level factors associated with the delivery of trauma-focused mental health challenges for college students.

“This project is part of a portfolio of PCORI-funded projects that aim to improve the awareness, uptake and use of results from patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research,” said PCORI Executive Director Nakela L. Cook, M.D., MPH. “Through a highly competitive review process, awardees’ proposals were assessed for the importance of the findings being shared and implemented and the potential for the project to lead to changes in practice and improvements in health care and health outcomes.”

Led by principal investigators Tiffany Artime, Ph.D. (PLU) and Katherine Buchholz, Ph.D. (Wellesley Centers for Women), the leadership team, including STAIR developer Marylene Cloitre, Ph.D. (National Center for PTSD Dissemination and Training Division), will refine a culturally-informed adaptation of STAIR for implementation in UCCs which was developed during a previous engagement project.

The project plans to train 345 University Counseling Center (UCC) providers in 31 centers, providing STAIR to an estimated 6,540 student clients, using an approach accommodating to the academic schedule and responsive to the unique contextual and developmental aspects of college counseling. By using ongoing evaluation in UCCs to assess clinical and implementation outcomes, the project will establish pathways for scaling up its implementation across UCCs in the United States.

PLU’s funding award has been approved pending the completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract.

PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress with a mission to fund patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research that provides patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information they need to make better informed health and healthcare decisions.