American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Honors Leading Researchers

 American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Honors Leading Researchers

Recipients include pioneer of the Safety Plan Intervention, Dr. Barbara Stanley, and leading youth suicide prevention expert Dr. Jeff Bridge

NEW YORK, May 21, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the largest private funder of suicide prevention research globally, will honor its 2024 Research Award recipients at its annual Research Dinner on May 22 at the Conrad Hotel in New York City. The honorees include trailblazing suicide prevention researcher Barbara H. Stanley, PhD who will be recognized posthumously with the Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as Jeff Bridge, PhD, whose research is focused on youth suicide and improving outcomes and care for young people at-risk for suicide.

“Research is the foundation of all our efforts to prevent suicide including our public education, advocacy, and support for those affected by suicide” said AFSP Senior Vice President of Research Dr. Jill Harkavy-Friedman. “It’s through the tireless work of researchers like Dr. Stanley and Dr. Bridge that we learn more about what leads to suicide and how we can save lives. We are honored to spotlight their many contributions to the field of suicide prevention and the efforts of the entire research community who dedicate their time to tackling this urgent public health challenge. Recognizing all that we have achieved through research reminds us that there is hope and that suicide can be prevented.”

The event is closed to the public, but media interested in reporting on suicide prevention research and award recipients are invited to contact AFSP’s PR Team for more information. This year’s research awardees include:

AFSP Lifetime Achievement Research Award

Barbara Stanley, PhD (1949-2023, Awarded Posthumously)

Dr. Barbara Stanley was a trailblazing clinical psychologist who dedicated her life to advance learning and interventions to improve mental health. She specialized in the treatment of individuals with borderline personality disorder, depression, and self-harm. With her colleague Dr. Gregory Brown, Dr. Stanley developed the widely used Safety Planning Intervention. It is implemented in emergency departments, inpatient and outpatient facilities, Veterans Affairs, and crisis hotlines and has no doubt played a role in saving countless lives. She has also mentored several young investigators on fMRI studies examining the interpersonal dysfunction dimension of borderline personality disorder, genetics studies of borderline personality disorder, and treatment engagement trials with suicidal individuals.

Dr. Stanley was a force in her field authoring and editing more than 200 articles and book chapters, was editor-in-chief of the Archives of Suicide Research and served on several editorial boards. She was a past chair and member of the American Psychological Association Committee on Human Research, and also served as a standing member of the Adult Psychopathology and Disorders of Aging NIH CSR study section. Besides serving on the faculty in Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, she held numerous appointments across private and government sectors. At AFSP, she served on both the Research Grant Committee and Scientific Council and was the recipient of several AFSP research grants throughout her career.

Annual AFSP Research Award

Jeff Bridge, PhD

Dr. Jeff Bridge is director of the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research in the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He is receiving this year’s Annual Research Award for his outstanding recent work related to youth at risk for suicide. His research focuses on the risk factors contributing to suicide and suicidal behavior in young people and improving the quality of care they receive. He has received multiple AFSP grants for his work including a 2006 Young Investigator Award and 2011 AFSP Early Career Researcher Award in 2011. He was also a senior investigator for a 2014 AFSP Linked Standard Research Grant.

Dr. Bridge is also the Nationwide Foundation endowed chair of innovation in behavioral health research, and professor of pediatrics, psychiatry, and behavioral health at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. At AFSP, Dr. Bridge serves as a scientific advisor, member of the Research Grants Committee, and Scientific Council member.

Annual AFSP Paula J. Clayton Early Career Research Grant Award 

Alison Athey, PhD

Dr. Athey is an associate behavioral/social scientist at RAND and a licensed clinical psychologist in Maryland. A recipient of a 2023 AFSP Early Career Research Grant, her study aims to identify what interventions will help loss survivors stabilize their own mental health after their loss and where these interventions are best delivered.  

This award honors Athey’s work that reflects the career focus of the late Dr. Paula J. Clayton, a leader in the field and AFSP’s Chief Medical Officer from 2006-2013. By setting out to test the effectiveness of a postvention intervention for suicide loss survivors, Dr. Athey’s study relates closely to one of Dr. Clayton’s primary research interests, bereavement by suicide.

Her work focuses on understanding risk for and preventing life-threatening behaviors including suicide, overdose, and gender-based violence. She has a special interest in evaluating strategies to promote the implementation of evidence-based assessment, prevention, and postvention strategies with high-risk groups, following high-risk events, and in low-resource settings.

AFSP Lifetime Achievement Award in Public Health & Community Impact for Suicide Prevention

Catherine Barber, MPA

Catherine Barber, MPA, is a senior researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health’s Injury Research Center where she led the effort to design and test the pilot for the CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS). This novel database is used across sectors to provide the public and professionals with a clearer understanding of violent deaths so they can be prevented.

This award honors Barber’s leadership in public health and community action, for her contributions to the field of suicide prevention, which led to programs and broad community change at AFSP and across the U.S, with respect to how we address firearm suicide.

Barber’s expertise is in designing and evaluating injury surveillance systems and interpreting their data for prevention. She is the founding director of Means Matter, a project to disseminate research and interventions aimed at reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal suicide methods. Barber was the lead author with Elaine Frank on the original CALM-Online (Counseling on Access to Lethal Means), a free online course for health care and social services providers that was produced with the Suicide Prevention Research Center (SPRC). She was also one of the originators of the Gun Shop Project, a novel approach to bringing firearm retailers, instructors, and other firearm stakeholders into the suicide prevention field. She was the recipient of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Allies in Action Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.

Learn more about the role of research in preventing suicide.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide, including those who have experienced a loss. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through public education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, with a public policy office in Washington, DC, AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states, DC and Puerto Rico, with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and TikTok.  

Media interested in comment on this news are encouraged to fill out this press request form and review AFSP’s Ethical Reporting Tips.

SOURCE American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

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