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VISN 1 MIRECC Staff: Suzanne Decker, Ph.D.

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Suzanne Decker, Ph.D.

Dr. Suzanne E. Decker is a licensed Psychologist at the VA Connecticut HealthCare System and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Decker’s research examines Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Groups to help Veterans acquire and use new coping skills to reduce suicidal ideation and behavior. This line of research has included pilot work evaluating this intervention with Veterans, an ongoing multi-site hybrid effectiveness-implementation trial with mPI Steve Martino, PhD, and examination of implementation barriers and facilitators within VHA. Alongside these activities, Dr. Decker has partnered with the Women’s Mental Health division of Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, and MIRECC investigator Frances Aunon, PhD, to develop and implement a national training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Groups at VHA. Other interests include emotion dysregulation as a potential mechanism for suicidal and other high-risk behavior. Dr. Decker is Director of the Advanced Fellowship in Mental Illness Research and Treatment for psychology postdoctoral fellows at the West Haven MIRECC.


  • B.A., Psychology and English/Creative Writing, University of Rochester, 2003
  • M.A., Clinical Psychology, Western Michigan University
  • Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, Western Michigan University, 2011

Areas of Research Interest

  • Suicide
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Skills based interventions
  • Implementation
  • Emotion regulation

Projects & Grants

  • A Hybrid Effectiveness-Implementation Multisite Trial of a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Group for Veterans at High-Risk for Suicide Attempt (mPI; Dr. Steve Martino, PI)
    This hybrid trial, funded by HSR&D, will examine barriers and facilitators to DBT skills groups while testing these groups to reduce suicide reattempt among high-risk veterans at four clinical trial sites. 2021-2026.
  • Development of a Brief, Motivational Interviewing Intervention Manual for Lethal Means Safety Counseling for Implementation within Primary Care and Primary Care Mental Health Integration (Faculty Mentor; Dr. Frances Aunon, PI)
    Funding from VA’s HSR&D Suicide Prevention Research Action Network supports this qualitative project to develop a feasible, acceptable manual to reduce suicide risk. 2021-2022.
  • Pre-piloting a Motivational Interviewing-based Intervention for Lethal Means Safety in Primary Care (Faculty Mentor; Dr. Frances Aunon, PI)
    This Career Development Award supports Dr. Aunon’s work to pilot an intervention to improve safety and reduce suicide risk.  2021-2023.



Mehmet Sofuoglu, M.D., Ph.D.

Megan M. Kelly, Ph.D.
VISN 1 New England MIRECC Co-Director

Erin D. Reilly, M.Ed., Ph.D.
Director for Education

Richard Carson, LCSW
Administrative Officer
203-932-5711 Ext. 4338