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FAAST - Facilitating Assessment of At-Risk Sailors using Technology

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About the Research

Study Leader: Lisa A. Brenner, PhD, ABPP
Research Study Clinical Lead: Lisa M. Betthauser, MBA, PhD
Research Study Operations Lead: Kelly A. Stearns-Yoder, MA

Naval personnel experience high levels of anxiety, stress, and suicidal thoughts while deployed. We want to find better ways to address Sailors’ mental health needs, particularly during post-deployment transitions. We are interested in exploring how a smartphone application (app) can be used to assess emotional distress in Sailors, as well as evaluating Sailors’ experiences and preferences in using the app.

Current outcomes: This study has completed recruitment. The study team is currently working on data analysis to share results and findings.

For more information, contact the Study PI, Lisa Brenner, at (303) 724-4588, or visit

If you would like to find out more about the Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Veteran Suicide Prevention, please visit our website.


This work is in part supported by the Military Suicide Research Consortium (MSRC), funded by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs under Award No. (W81XWH-16-2-0004). Opinions, interpretations, conclusions and recommendations are those of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by the MSRC or the Department of Defense.

Study Team


If you would like to find out more about the Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Veteran Suicide Prevention, please visit our website.

Lisa Brenner

Lisa Brenner, PhD (Principal Investigator)
I have over 20 years of experience working with Veterans and have championed nationalefforts to prevent suicide among Veterans. My research interests include traumatic brain injury and comorbid mental health conditions, including suicide. Providing high-quality, evidence-based care and resources to Veterans and their loved ones is very important to me.

Lisa Betthauser

Lisa Betthauser, MBA, PhD (Co-Investigator)
I am a clinical research psychologist and investigator at the Rocky Mountain MIRECC. It has been my pleasure to provide clinical and research services to our nation’s Veterans for 12 years. My research interests focus on complementary and integrative health interventions specifically for Veterans with PTSD and TBI, acceptability and feasibility of using smartphone technology to enhance upstream suicide prevention efforts, and associations between transitions between identity status (e.g., Active Duty to civilian) and suicide risk.

Diana Brostow

Diana Brostow, RDN, MPH, PhD (Co-Investigator)
I am a Research Nutritionist at the Rocky Mountain MIRECC, and a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. I have five years’ experience working with Veterans, particularly populations struggling with food insecurity and mental health disorders. My primary research interest is nutrition in relation to traumatic brain injury and mental health.

Jeri Forster

Jeri Forster, PhD (Co-Investigator)
I am a Biostatistician, and Director of the Rocky Mountain MIRECC’s Data and Statistical Core. My primary research interests are longitudinal data analysis, nonignorable dropout, and varying-coefficient models. My work has focused on methods that adjust for potential nonignorable dropout in longitudinal studies and clinical trials. I have additionally led analyses on numerous studies related to TBI, PTSD and suicide risk.


Erin Higgins, LCSW (Study Clinician)


Morgan Nance, MA (Study Coordinator)
I am a professional research assistant at the Rocky Mountain MIRECC and the study coordinator on the FAAST study. I have worked on several studies investigating traumatic brain injuries and negative psychiatric outcomes.


Molly Penzenik, MPH (Data Analyst)
I have worked for the Rocky Mountain MIRECC for four years, first as a research assistant and then as a member of the Data and Statistical Core. I have extensive experience with online data collection methods. I am currently completing an MPH degree in Biostatistics.


Emerald Saldyt (Research Assistant)

Kelly Stearns-Yoder

Kelly Stearns-Yoder, MA (Co-Investigator)
I am a Research Program Director at the Rocky Mountain MIRECC and University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. My primary research interests include operational and functional outcomes in the Veteran population, as well as critically appraising and synthesizing bodies of literature.


Captain Aaron D Werbel, PhD (Co-Investigator)
Captain Werbel serves as Director, Midshipmen Development Center at the U.S. Naval Academy. He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical and Medical Psychology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and a certified trainer of mental health providers in “Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk.”

For Participants

If you need immediate medical or mental health attention, please contact 911.

If you are distressed or feel that you need to speak to someone please call the Veterans Crisis Line:
1-800-273-8255 then press 1 at the prompt.

Confidential chat is also available at

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also free, confidential, and available to anyone 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255

Self-Help Mobile Apps

For all available mobile apps, please visit

Last Updated 29 September 2022