Center of Excellence Personnel - MIRECC / CoE
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Center of Excellence Personnel

 Elizabeth Karras-Pilato, Ph.D.

VA Appointment: Co-Research Director
Academic Affiliation: Clinical Senior Instructor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester
Research Affiliate: Injury Control Research Center, West Virginia Univeristy

Elizabeth Karras, Ph.D.

Contact Info
(585) 393-7285


Research Interests

My research interests largely focus on the use of communication strategies in public health approaches to suicide prevention with domains of inquiry designed to inform the development of evidence-based messaging. More specifically, my program of research employs a systematic, theory-driven approach to examine the mechanisms and effects of public messaging to prevent and reduce risk behaviors related to suicide among military and veteran populations.

Currently, I maintain multiple research lines that examine the (a) formative process of message design and (b) summative evaluation of messaging strategies to examine the persuasive effects on attitude and behavior change to understand their social influence. This includes mixed methods studies to identify message characteristics salient to veteran audiences at increased risk for suicide and implementation strategies (e.g., community-based) to enhance message effects as well as longitudinal, population studies to assess changes in outcomes associated with VA campaign and outreach efforts. Findings from this scholarship contribute to a nascent but significantly underdeveloped body of research that examines the role of strategic communication to help reduce population suicide risk.

Current Funding

07/18-06/19 Department of Veterans Affairs, Health Services Research & Development (HSR&D) Developing public messaging strategies to facilitate help seeking among Veterans at risk for suicide PI
09/17-08/21 Department of Veterans Affairs,
Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
Understanding Heterogeneity in Treatment of Mood Disorders Co-I
09/17-08/20 Department of Veterans Affairs,
Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
Pilot to test the use of community-based toolkits for safe firearm storage among active duty and veteran populations: Partnered program with the National Shooting Sports Foundation & DoD Co-I

Past Funding

04/17-03/18 CDC Injury Control Research Center, West Virginia University Development of publc educatin messaging to address opioid misuse among West Virginia residents Co-I
03/14-09/17 Department of Veterans Affairs, Center for Innovations Shaping determinants of behavior to promote mental health: An application of the VA's Make the Connection narrative video messages to facilitate help seeking among at-risk Veterans PI
10/15-09/16 Department of Veterans Affairs, Mental Heath Services Unlocking the potential of VA means safety programs: An evaluation of the use of public messaging to promote firearm safety to Veterans PI
10/14-09/16 Department of Veterans Affairs, Mental Health Services Evaluation of the VA's suicide prevention public communication and outreach activities PI
10/14-09/16 Department of Veterans Affairs, Mental Health Services Implementation of firearm safety counseling trainings to VA providers Co-I
10/14-09/15 Department of Veterans Affairs, Mental Health Services Understanding the unique needs of female Veteran callers to the Veterans Crisis Line Co-I
12/10-08/11 Illinois Informatics Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign An examination of health information avoidance among Deaf people PI
11/09-10/10 Mark Diamond Research Grant, State University of New York Understanding Health Information Management of the Deaf PI