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Carla Danielson Ph.D.

Carla K. Danielson Ph.D.

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  • Professor
  • College of Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Academic Focus
  • Adolescent trauma
  • Adolescent substance use and risky sexual behaviors
  • Cross cultural issues in the treatment of traumatic stress


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Broadly, Dr. Danielson's research interests focus on treatment and prevention with high-risk adolescent and traditionally underserved populations, including basic and translational science studies that inform applied clinical research. Her particular area of research and clinical expertise is in the treatment of comorbid PTSD and substance use problems, as well as HIV sexual risk behaviors, among trauma-exposed adolescents. Dr. Danielson has been continuously extramurally funded (e.g., NIDA, NIMH, NIAAA, Brain & Behavior Foundation, SAMHSA) as an MUSC faculty member. Her studies include randomized controlled trials (RCTs), assessment and lab-based studies that focus on biomarkers and mechanisms underlying the etiology of PTSD, addiction, and other psychopathology among trauma-exposed young people, and mixed methods investigations related to m-Health intervention development and evaluation. Of note, Dr. Danielson is the developer of Risk Reduction through Family Therapy (RRFT), which is the only exposure-based integrative treatment for comorbid PTSD symptoms and substance use problems among adolescents with published RCT support (Danielson et al., 2012). She is currently leading a NIDA R01-funded large scale RCT evaluation of RRFT. She is the Founding Director of the EMPOWERR Program, which is dedicated to reducing HIV infection and substance use among local at-risk youth. Dr. Danielson is PI on a NIDA K24 (Mentorship and Research in HIV and Addiction Prevention among Traumatized Youth) and an NIMH T32 (Basic and Translational Research Training on Traumatic Stress Across the Lifespan)--and serves as a dedicated mentor to early stage investigators, post-doctoral fellows, psychology interns, and medical residents and students. Dr. Danielson serves as Co-Chair of the Faculty Development Committee for the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences.