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Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Full Time Faculty

Dr. Carla Danielson   Carla Kmett Danielson, Ph.D.
   Director, Empowerr Program
   Director of Training

   National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center 

   (843)792-3599 phone
   (843)792-3388 fax


Biographical Sketch
Dr. Carla Kmett Danielson is an Associate Professor at the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center (NCVC) in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at MUSC. Dr. Danielson received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Case Western Reserve University in 2003. She completed a Pre-Doctoral Internship in Clinical Psychology at the Charleston Consortium Psychology Internship Program at MUSC, followed by a 2-year, NIMH-supported Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the NCVC. Broadly, Dr. Danielson’s research interests focus on both treatment and prevention with high-risk adolescent populations and traditionally underserved populations.  In the area of treatment, her current program of research, funded by a NIDA K-23 award (K23DA018686), involves the development and evaluation of Risk Reduction through Family Therapy (RRFT), an ecologically-based intervention targeting substance abuse, trauma-related psychopathology, and HIV-risk behaviors among adolescent sexual assault victims.  Dr. Danielson has recently received an R01 from NIDA (R01DA031285) to continue this line of research through the conduct of a larger scale randomized controlled trial of RRFT. In the area of prevention, Dr. Danielson is the PI and Program Director on the SAMHSA-funded EMPOWERR Program (1U79SP015156), which focuses on prevention of HIV and substance abuse among local African American adolescents. As an extension of the HIV prevention work she has done with the EMPOWERR Program, she is currently investigating web-based approaches to bringing evidence-based HIV prevention curriculum to African American teen girls.  Dr. Danielson also has an active program of translational research focused on factors and mechanisms underlying the etiology of PTSD and addiction among trauma exposed young people. Specifically, she serves as PI on an NIAAA-funded Alcohol Research Center Clinical Research Component (P50 AA010761; Center PI: Randall), which is a 5-year lab-based study, examining the relation between acute stress and drinking behavior in trauma and non-trauma exposed emerging young adults, as well as an NIMH-funded study (R21MH086313) focusing on the identification of mechanisms underlying the development of PTSD, substance abuse, and other high risk behaviors among disaster-exposed teens.   Finally, Dr. Danielson is actively involved in the training of future researchers, mentoring promising predoctoral and postdoctoral fellows training at the NCVC and serving as Training Director and Co-PI on our T32 grant (T32MH18869; PI: Kilpatrick). She has published more than 50 papers on issues related to high risk adolescents, addiction, and mental health and been the recipient of numerous awards in recognition of her work in the aforementioned areas, including the APA (Division 37, Child Maltreatment Section) Early Career Award for Outstanding Contributions to Practice (2008), a NIDA Women and Sex Junior Investigator Travel Award (2008), and an Early Career Investigator Award from the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (2005).

Clinical and/or Research Expertise
rauma, Sexual Abuse, Adolescents, Substance Use, HIV; Treatment outcome research in the evaluation of Risk Reduction through Family Therapy (RRFT) as a comprehensive intervention approach for adolescent sexual assault victims; Evaluating the roles of distress tolerance and risk taking propensity, as measured through behavioral assessment tasks, in the etiology and maintenance of PTSD, substance abuse, and other high risk behaviors among youth; Cultural adaptations of a trauma-focused assessment and treatment of Hispanic and African American families; Prevention of HIV and substance abuse in high risk adolescent populations.



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