Michael McDonell, PhD

Personal Statement

My primary interest is on determining how behavioral technologies can be used to improve alcohol and drug abuse outcomes for those suffering from addiction health disparities. Behavioral technologies are non-talk therapy approaches to addiction treatment, such as motivational incentives where we provide rewards for people who abstain from or reduce their drinking. This low-cost, strength based approach to addiciton can be implimented in low-resources settings by non clinicians. In fact, our group is investigating how smartphones might be used to impliment this treatment, allowing us to reach the millions of individuals suffering from alcohol problems worldwide.  

My second research interest in evaluating the accuracy of alcohol biomarkers in addiction treatment settings. These include alcohol urine tests, such as ethyl glucuronide (EtG) and mobile phone linked Bluetooth breathalyzers. These tools allow us to accurately assess  the sucess of alcohol treatments, as well as provide valuable research tools.      

Importantly all of my ressearch studies are conducted in collaboration with two communities that suffer dispproporationately high rates of alcohol and drug miuse, 1) adults with severe mental illnesses, like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and 2) American Indians and Alaska Natives. My reserach team and I work closely with community partners who are providing addiction treatment to these populations with the goal of reducing the burden of alcohol and drug use in these communities. 

Recent Publications

Financial incentives for reduced alcohol use and increased isoniazid adherence during tuberculosis preventive therapy among people with HIV in Uganda: an open-label, factorial randomised controlled trial.
(2023 Dec)
Lancet Glob Health 11(12): e1899-e1910
Chamie G, Hahn JA, Kekibiina A, Emenyonu NI, Beesiga B, Marson K, Fatch R, Lodi S, Adong J, Thirumurthy H, McDonell MG, Gandhi M, Bryant K, Havlir DV, Kamya MR, Muyindike WR

Coming together for something good: recommendations from a scoping review for dissemination and implementation science to improve indigenous substance use disorder treatment.
Front Public Health 11(): 1265122
Hirchak KA, Oluwoye O, Nadeau M, Richardson M, Bajet K, Brigman M, Herron JL, Hernandez-Vallant A, Vasquez A, Pham C, Oliver KA, Baukol P, Webb K, Belone L, McDonell MG, Venner KL, Campbell ANC

Budget Impact Tool for Implementing Contingency Management for Co-occurring Alcohol Use Disorders and Serious Mental Illness.
(2023 Oct 19)
Psychiatr Serv
Lu TT, Parent SC, Chaytor N, Amiri S, Palmer K, McPherson S, Jett J, Ries R, McDonell MG, Murphy SM

Culturally tailored digital therapeutic for substance use disorders with urban Indigenous people in the United States: A randomized controlled study.
(2023 Dec)
J Subst Use Addict Treat 155(): 209159
Campbell ANC, Rieckmann T, Pavlicova M, Choo TH, Molina K, McDonell M, West AE, Daw R, Marsch LA, Venner KL

An unexplored equity factor: differential beliefs and attitudes toward contingency management by providers' ethnicity.
(2023 Aug 23)
BMC Health Serv Res 23(1): 902
Oluwoye O, Weeks DL, McDonell MG

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