Psychology Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Harm Reduction Research and Treatment (HaRRT) Center - working with homeless individuals from culturally diverse backgrounds to reduce substance-related harm and improve quality of life

To find out about this 499 opportunity contact:

Contact name: Susan Collins
Telephone: (206) 744-9181

Faculty Information

Faculty Advisor:
Department: Psychology; Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Does faculty advisor meet with students?

If yes, how often? Dr. Collins will meet with students once weekly.

Direct supervisor of students:

Susan E. Collins, Emily Taylor
Supervisor Title: Susan E. Collins, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the University of Washington - Harborview Medical Center. For more information about Dr. Collins's research, please check out her website: Emily Taylor, BS, is a UW Psychology graduate and is the primary HaRRT Center Research Coordinator for the Psych 499 students.
Will 499 students participate in weekly or biweekly discussions sessions about research or project?

Short Project Description

The Harm-reduction Research and Treatment(HaRRT) center is led by Drs. Susan E. Collins and Seema Clifasefi ( Our mission is to develop, implement, evaluate and disseminate interventions that aim to reduce substance-related harm and improve quality of life for affected individuals and their communities without requiring abstinence from substance use. We work primarily with homeless individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds as well as the agencies that serve them. Currently projects that are open for PSYCH499 participation include: 1) HaRP study (PI: Collins): The Harm Reduction with Pharmacotherapy (HaRP) study is a four-arm, NIH-funded R01 randomized controlled trial in which we are testing the efficacy of extended-release naltrexone and harm reduction counseling as ways to reduce alcohol-related harm, improve quality of life and decrease emergency health-care utilization and costs among homeless individuals with alcohol dependence. 2) HaRT-A study (PI: Collins): The Harm Reduction Treatment for Alcohol (HaRT-A) project is a three-year, NIH-funded R34 treatment development grant. We will use a community-based participatory research framework to develop, implement and pilot test a novel harm-reduction intervention for currently and formerly homeless adults with alcohol-use disorders that is geared towards improving alcohol-use, health and quality-of-life outcomes. 3) HaRT-S study (PI: Collins): The Harm Reduction Treatment for Smoking (HaRT-S) project is a two-year, three-phase treatment development and pilot evaluation study. We are using a community-based participatory research framework to codevelop and evaluate a treatment for homeless smokers to help them reduce their smoking-related harm and improve their health-related quality of life. This study is funded by the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute. 4) LEAP project (PI: Clifasefi): The Life Enhancing Alcohol-management Program (LEAP) is a five-year, NIH-funded pilot project that entails the community-based participatory development and evaluation of harm-reduction programming for formerly chronically homeless people with alcohol dependence who are living in a Housing First in Seattle, WA. 5) Navigation Center Evaluation (Co-PIs: Clifasefi and Collins): We have been contracted by the City of Seattle to qualitatively and quantitatively evaluate the new Navigation Center, a short-term shelter that aims to help homeless individuals navigate into permanent housing. 6) King County Mental Health Court and Veterans Court Evaluation (Co-PIs: Clifasefi and Collins): We have been contracted by King County to qualitatively evaluate the Mental Health and Veterans Courts of King County to document their mechanisms of action and how they compare to other, similar models in the US. We are looking for responsible, motivated students to work with us on these innovative research projects. In working on these studies, students will learn to prepare research materials, enter and manage research data (including learning how to calculate blood alcohol levels!), qualitatively code and quantitatively analyze data. Students will also be exposed to the exciting world of Harborview and will be responsible for running biological specimens to HMC labs. More advanced students who stay for more than one quarter may have the opportunity to conduct assessments or interviews in the field. One very popular feature of this 499 is that you will receive training via a weekly research methods classes. In this class, we use actual study data, come up with research questions, conduct qualitative and/or quantitative analyses (excel, atlas.ti, SPSS), and create a poster and/or paper. Interested students have the option of presenting this poster at the Undergraduate Research Fair or professional conferences. These opportunities will build your CV in ways to prepare you for grad school or jobs in research. We value diversity and are committed to creating and maintaining an environment that respects diverse identities, traditions, heritages, and experiences. If you are interested, please send us a copy of your CV/resume and your unofficial UW transcript, and we will set up a personal interview time. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Work Schedule

Min. number of hours/weekstudent must work:
Evenings/weekends OK? Yes
Times a student must bepresent/work: Our timing is relatively flexible, and we will work out the schedule with you personally. You also must be able to commit to our Tuesday afternoon research methods class that meets from 2-4pm.
Student commitment: We require at least a 2-credit per 2-quarter commitment so you can attend the full research methods course that we offer as part of the PSYCH 499 credit.

499 Responsibilities

Working with Data Working with Subjects Working with Animals/physiology
50 % data entry 0 % video taping 0 % animal care
10 % database management 0 % interview subjects 0 % animal observation
20 % encoding data 0 % scheduling appt 0 % surgical techniques
10 % library research 0 % running subjects 0 % histology
0 % data collection 0 % child care 10 % laboratory protocols
0 % recruiting subjects

Other:We work at Harborview, which is a really great place to get experience! Students must be willing to commute to the researchers’ offices in the Patricia Steel building in the Harborview Medical Center. We recommend taking the free Health Sciences Express bus from the UW campus, which runs regularly throughout the day (see express bus schedule:

Skills / Experience Preferred

Experience with REDCap and Excel is preferred. We will teach you how to use atlas.ti and/or SPSS! Experience working with multicultural and/or homeless populations is a plus.