VISN 2 Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention
Elizabeth Karras, PhD
Biography: Dr. Karras is a Research Investigator for the VA Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention, and a Senior Clinical Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester. She earned her PhD in Communication from the State University of New York at Buffalo and completed her Postdoctoral Fellowship in Health Communication and Informatics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Research Interests: Dr. Karras specializes in health communication. Her research is largely focused 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. She maintains multiple research lines that examine the formative process and summative evaluation of health communication and information management strategies that aim to reduce suicide risk among military and Veteran populations. Dr. Karras currently directs several studies investigating outcomes associated with exposure to VA suicide prevention communication efforts among Veterans and their broad social networks, and has recently published on strategies that enhance effective risk communication, and improve awareness and use of crisis support services among Veterans.
Ramchand, R., Ayer, L., Kotzias, V., Engel, C., Predmore, Z., Ebener, P., Kemp, J., Karras, E. & Haas, G. (accepted for publication). Suicide risk among female Veterans in distress: Perspectives of responders on the Veterans Crisis Line. Women’s Health Issues.
Karras, E., Lu, N., Elder, H., Tu, X., Thompson, C., Tenhula, W., Batten, S.V., & Bossarte, R.M. (in press). Promoting help seeking to veterans: A comparison of public messaging strategies to enhance the use of the Veterans Crisis Line.Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention.
Elder, H.,Karras, E. & Bossarte, R.M. (2016). Promoting help seeking to veteran households: Associations between exposure to multiple health messages and intentions to utilize related hotlines.Military Medicine, 181(7), 649-654.
Karras, E., Lu, N., Stephens, B., Tu, X., Draper, J., Thompson, C., & Bossarte, R.M. (2016). Measuring associations of the VA’s suicide prevention campaign on the use of crisis support services.Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 46(4), 447-456.
Bossarte, R.M.,Karras, E. Lu, N., Tu, X., Stephens, B., Draper, J., & Kemp, J. (2014). Associations between the VA’s suicide prevention campaign and calls to related crisis lines.Public Health Reports, 129, 428-438
Karras, E., Stephens, B., Kemp, JE, & Bossarte, R.M. ((2013). Using media to promote suicide prevention hotlines to Veteran households.Injury Prevention, 20(1), 62-65.
Karras, Stephens, B., & Bossarte, R.M. (2016, Oct). Use of campaigns to modify suicide risk factors: An examination of public messaging to promote the safe storage of firearms to Veterans. To be presented at the annual conference for the American Public Health Association, Denver, CO.
Karras, E., McCarten, J., Brown, T., & Stephens, B. (2016, Sept). How do we effectively promote suicide prevention? An examination of data and model-driven approaches to public health messaging to facilitate help seeking. To be presented at the New York State Conference on Suicide Prevention, Albany, NY.
Karras, E. (2016, Sept). Designing data-driven public messaging to promote suicide prevention to the veteran population. Invited presentation for the Injury Control Research Center on Suicide Prevention. University of Rochester, Rochester, NY.
Karras, E., Bahraini, N., Brenner, L., & Thompson, C. (2016, March). An examination of the use of targeted public health messaging to promote firearm safety among Veterans. Presented at the annual conference for the American Association for Sucidology, Chicago, IL.
McCarten, J., Elder, H., Brown, T., Stephens, B., & Karras, E., (2016, March). An exploration of mental health-related attitudes and normative beliefs among Veterans with self-reported poor mental health. Presented at the annual conference for the American Association for Sucidology, Chicago, IL
Karras, E, McCarten, J., Elder, H., Brown, T., & Stephens, B. (2015, Oct). Unlocking the potential for public education campaigns to support suicide prevention initiatives: An examination of the use of targeted public health messaging to promote help seeking. Presented at the International Academy of Suicide Prevention/American Foundation for Suicide Prevention International Summit on Suicide Prevention, New York, NY.
Karras, E, McCarten, J., Stephens, B., & Thompson, C. (2015, July). Communication strategies to increase receptivity to help seeking and promote mental health service use. Presented at the VA HSR&D/QUERI National Conference, Philadelphia, PA.
Bossarte, R.M., Karras, E., & Thompson, C. (2015, May). Strategies and interventions for promoting means safety. Invited presentation for the VA HSR&D suicide prevention lecture series.
Karras, E, McCarten, J., Elder, H., Kane, C., & Stephens, B. (2015, Apr). Normalizing help seeking: An examination of the use of public messaging to address mental health stigma. Presented at the annual conference of the American Association for Suicidology, Atlanta, GA.
Karras, E, (2015, Jan). Assessing the impact of outreach: Opportunities for evaluation. Presented at the 2015 VA/DoD Suicide Prevention Conference, Dallas, TX.
Karras, E, Lu, N., Wojcio, S., Stephens, B., Tu, X., & Bossarte, R.M. (2014, Nov). Measuring the associations between public education campaigns and use of crisis support services. Presented at the American Public Health Association, New Orleans, LA.
Karras, E, Wojcio, S., Stephens, B., & Bossarte, R.M. (2014, Apr). Considerations for the evaluation of public communication efforts for suicide prevention. Presented at the annual conference of the American Association of Suicidology, Los Angeles, CA.
Principal Investigator: 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. Agency: Center for Innovations, Department of Veteran Affairs. (Mar2014-Sep2016).
Principal Investigator: Evaluation of the VA’s suicide prevention communication and outreach activities. Agency: Mental Health Services, Department of Veteran Affairs. (Oct2014-Sep2016).
Co-Investigator: Implementation of firearm safety counseling trainings to VA providersAgency: Mental Health Services, Department of Veteran Affairs. (Oct2014-Sep2016)