Alison Duncan

Assistant Professor; Medical Director, Psychiatric Emergency Service; Psychiatrist; Outpatient Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; Researcher

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Volunteer Basis


Achieving Research Together in Psychiatry

In this lab, student volunteers are exposed to a variety of mental health and psychiatry-related research activities—with specific emphasis on improving the quality of care provided to adults and youth seen in BMC’s Psychiatric Emergency Services and Psychiatric Bridge Clinics. Student responsibilities may include: participant recruitment; interviewing participants, helping study coordinators in data collection; completing data entry and conducting data quality assurance checks; conducting literature reviews; supporting research protocol and regulatory logistics; assisting in IRB submissions; and assisting in grant proposals. The student volunteers work alongside a diverse group of attendings from emergency medicine and psychiatry, psychologists, graduate students and PhD researchers. Outstanding students may have the chance to be involved in the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data, contribute to research manuscripts, and present research at poster sessions and conferences.

Lab meetings are currently scheduled at 9am on Fridays. The student will specifically assist with two main research projects under the supervision of Principal Investigator Dr. Alison Duncan:

1. Implicit association testing for suicidality in the ED: A study testing the efficacy of the suicide Implicit Association Test (IAT), a measure of the implicit associations between the self and death/suicide vs. life/living, as a possible indicator of one’s likelihood of self-harm, within the diverse patient population served at BMC’s Psychiatric Emergency Services and Community Behavioral Health Center. The IAT has previously been developed and tested on mostly white populations, so there is a need to analyze the measure applied to a larger, more diverse patient population.

2. COVID Mental Health Effects Survey of Psychiatric ED Patients: A survey of patient with serious mental illness presenting to the BMC ED to analyze the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and access to mental health resources (e.g. day programs, self-help groups, in-person partial hospitals).

The student may also gain clinical experience through multiple activities, which could include shadowing physicians and conducting clinical assessments with human subjects as part of research protocols.

Personal Qualities:

Adherence to the highest standards of professional conduct, including both verbal, non-verbal and written (including email) forms of communication
Team-oriented attitude with ability to also work independently
Strong interpersonal aptitude for working with vulnerable and challenging mental health populations including those with serious mental illness (e.g. schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, etc…)
Extremely well-organized and detail-oriented
Ability to handle concurrent, competing and shifting priorities
Excellent writing and communication skills

Desirable Skills (not required):

Fluency in Spanish
Fluency in Haitian Creole
Basic knowledge of biostatistics including use of SPSS software
Experience in human subjects research
Basic knowledge of qualitative data analysis
Basic knowledge of data management software (i.e. REDCAP)


Posted 3 months ago on

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