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

Mixed-methods trial of a phosphatidylethanol-based contingency management intervention to initiate and maintain alcohol abstinence in formerly homeless adults with alcohol use disorders.
(2021 Jun)
Contemp Clin Trials Commun 22(): 100757
Fraser ER, Hill-Kapturczak N, Jett J, Beck R, Oluwoye O, Kriegel LS, Alcover KC, McPherson S, Cabassa LJ, Javors M, McDonell MG

Effect of Incentives for Alcohol Abstinence in Partnership With 3 American Indian and Alaska Native Communities: A Randomized Clinical Trial.
(2021 Mar 3)
JAMA Psychiatry
McDonell MG, Hirchak KA, Herron J, Lyons AJ, Alcover KC, Shaw J, Kordas G, Dirks LG, Jansen K, Avey J, Lillie K, Donovan D, McPherson SM, Dillard D, Ries R, Roll J, Buchwald D, HONOR Study Team.

Disparities in Access to Opioid Treatment Programs and Office-Based Buprenorphine Treatment Across the Rural-Urban and Area Deprivation Continua: A US Nationwide Small Area Analysis.
(2021 Feb)
Value Health 24(2): 188-195
Amiri S, McDonell MG, Denney JT, Buchwald D, Amram O

The rewarding recovery study: a randomized controlled trial of incentives for alcohol and drug abstinence with a rural American Indian community.
(2020 Nov 21)
McDonell MG, Skalisky J, Burduli E, Foote A Sr, Granbois A, Smoker K, Hirchak K, Herron J, Ries RK, Echo-Hawk A, Barbosa-Leiker C, Buchwald D, Roll J, McPherson SM

Cannabis use and metabolic syndrome among clients with first episode psychosis.
(2020 Sep 2)
Early Interv Psychiatry
Stiles E, Alcover KC, Stiles B, Oluwoye O, McDonell MG

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