Active Projects

  • Exploring medical students' choice of Psychiatry as a career

    Period: 2016-2020

    PI: Leonard Gralnik, MD, PhD       

    Co-Is: Rodolfo Bonnin, PhD; Adriana Foster, MD; Karin Esposito, MD, PhD; Thomas Schwartz, MD

    The survey administered through this study will focus on medical students who have chosen to pursue psychiatry residency training, and to current psychiatry residents. The survey will examine factors in the medical school curriculum that may be amenable to change, and therefore could be modified to help recruit future students into psychiatry.

  • The use of virtual patients in interprofessional education

    Period:  2018-2023

    PI:   Adriana Foster, MD    

    Co-Is:  Jean Hannan, PhD; Chelsea Cosner; Christina Rios (Medical Student),  Matison Alderman (Medical Student)

    This research aims to engage study participants into virtual human interactions (VHIs) to yield feasible educational modalities. The study participants will have the opportunity to improve their communication and diagnostic skills by engaging with a virtual human, occurring in addition to “teaching as usual” in their educational program (e.g. lectures, small groups, standardized patients).

  • Impact of clinician virtual human interaction training in emotional self-awareness on patients suicidal ideation and suicide crisis syndrome: a randomized controlled trial

    Funding Agency:  National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

    Period: 2019-2021

    Amount: $226,000

    Site PI: Adriana Foster, MD     Grant PI: Igor Galynker, MD, PhD     Co-Is: Benjamin Lok, PhD; Erica Musser, PhD; Karina McCoy, PsyD

    Working with suicidal patients is stressful and often elicits clinicians’ powerful negative emotional responses that may adversely affect suicidal outcomes. Web-based, scalable and easy to disseminate clinician training in effective management of negative emotions towards suicidal patients can result in improvement in suicidal outcomes. We will use Virtual Human Interactions (VHI) to train clinicians in emotional self-awareness (ESA), which includes recognition of one's own negative emotional responses, and ability to engage empathically with suicidal patients. We will assess outcomes of VHI ESA training compared with a Control-condition in a prospective multisite (Mount Sinai Health System/New York and FIU/Citrus Health Network), blinded, and randomized trial. We will also measure the impact of ESA training on patients' suicidal outcomes at various stages throughout the project.

    Now recruiting!

    Adriana Foster at 305-348-8463 or
    Aniuska Luna at 305-348-4147 or

Collaborative Projects

  • FIU behavioral health workforce education and training (BHWET) fellowship

    Funding Agency: Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

    Period: 2018-2022

    Amount: $1,865,590.60

    PI: Eric Wagner, PhD                           Co-PI: Adriana Foster, MD

    The FIU Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) is a four year fellowship funding through a HRSA grant to provide inter-professional and integrated behavioral health-primary care training to students from three FIU master's programs: Master of Social Work, Professional Counseling, and Clinical Mental Health Counseling, in their last year of study. As a requirement of the granting agency (HRSA), and to advance knowledge in inter-professional education and integrated behavioral health-primary care, we will obtain baseline and post course student feedback about the course. The knowledge resulting from this research will improve teaching of inter-professional and integrated behavioral health primary care and thus contribute to a higher quality of care that the professional workforce ultimately delivers to underserved populations.

  • An evaluation of a mindfulness based community summer program for youths and adolescents

    Period: Pending

    PI: Eduardo Camps-Romero, MD

    Co-Is: Gregory Schneider, MD; Linda Freeman, MS; Gus Castellanos, MD; Sophia Lacroix

    This study is a naturalistic field evaluation of Gen2050, a summer program for at risk youth, as it is delivered day-to-day in the community. The design is a simple pre- and post-test with no control group. A mixed methods approach will be utilized with a specific focus on mindfulness, depression and stress.

  • Using rTMS for depression

    Funding Agency: National Science Foundation

    Period: 2019 - 2020

    PI: Malek Adjuadi, PhD

    Co-Is: Mercedes Cabrerizo, PhD, Adriana Foster, MD, Carlos Salgado, MD, Tamara Zec, MD, Luis Carcache, MD

    This study is a two-week clinical trial that compares active rTMS versus sham, and the efficacy of rTMS in the treatment of depression with longer treatment courses (6 weeks). rTMS is a noninvasive technology that is FDA approved for the treatment of depression. It is considered as a non-invasive treatment to antidepressants. We have at our disposition the MagVenture’s Magvita TMS machine, which is FDA approved for “treatment of Major Depressive Disorder in adult patients who have failed to achieve satisfactory improvement from two prior antidepressant medications, at or above the minimal effective dose and duration in the current episode.”

    Despite advances in pharmacotherapy, depression remains one of the most common and disabling medical illnesses. The World Health Organization has estimated that by the year 2020, major depression will be exceeded only by ischemic heart disease in global disease burden. TMS has become a promising treatment alternative for the estimated 30% to 50% of people with depression who don't respond sufficiently to antidepressant medications.

    Now recruiting!

    Niovi Rojas at 305-348-7054 or
    Mercedes Cabrerizo, PhD, at 305-348-7053 or