Research Mission Statement
The research mission of the UK College of Medicine Department of Psychiatry is to conduct highly collaborative, pioneering extramurally funded research through multidisciplinary teams of scientists focused on improving the lives of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and beyond. The department also aims to educate and train the next generation of researchers in translational and clinical research methods with a focus on vulnerable populations to decrease health disparities.
The department of psychiatry is actively engaged in five overlapping areas of research with children, adolescents, and adults focusing on:
3. Substance use and addiction
4. Suicide prevention
5. Tobacco control
Research Spotlight : Caitlyn Hood, PhD
What is your educational background?
I earned a Bachelor of Science from the College of Charleston (psychology - 2014), and a Master of Science from the University of Kentucky (clinical psychology - 2019), and a PhD from the University of Kentucky (clinical psychology – 2022). I completed my clinical psychology internship at the Charleston Consortium—housed within the Medical University of South Carolina and the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center—and specialized in evidence-based approaches to treating traumatic stress.
What is your main area of research and your current project?
My research centers around increasing access to evidence-based treatments for mental health and substance use disorders among individuals who have experienced trauma. My work aims to bridge the gap between what we know works in research and what actually happens in clinical practice by using novel treatment delivery models.
My current project is funded by the Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) and the Center for Research on Violence Against Women (CRVAW). In this study, we are using the Socioecological Model to explore barriers and facilitators of trauma-informed mental health and substance use services among women on probation and parole in Kentucky.
How did you get interested in doing this type of research?
My passion for working with trauma-exposed individuals initially developed during my undergraduate education at the College of Charleston, where I volunteered for an organization that offered support services for sexual assault survivors. As a victim advocate, I answered crisis hotline calls and acted as part of an in-person support system for individuals undergoing evidentiary exams. Using substances to cope following sexual assault was common among the individuals seeking crisis services. Yet, providing survivors referrals for evidence-based mental health and substance use treatments in the community was challenging due to long wait times and a lack of trained providers. This experience led me to pursue graduate training in clinical psychology.
What do you hope that the main benefit of your research will be?
My ultimate goal is to ensure that high-quality trauma-informed mental health and substance use services are available to anyone and everyone in our community, especially individuals who have been historically excluded from traditional care settings.
What do you like most about doing research at UK?
One of my favorite aspects of doing research at UK is collaborating with other scientists and clinicians who share the goal of improving the lives of Kentuckians across the state.