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VISN 1 MIRECC Staff: Suzanne Decker, Ph.D.

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Suzanne Decker, Ph.D.

Dr. Suzanne E. Decker is a licensed Psychologist at the VA Connecticut HealthCare System. She is also Director of the Advanced Fellowship in Mental Illness Research and Treatment for psychologists at VISN1 Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC) and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine. She completed her predoctoral internship at Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Decker developed the VA Connecticut Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Skills Group program at VA Connecticut and based on this clinical adaptation, developed pilot and multi-site trials. She enjoys clinical work, supervision, and clinician training, and works with Women’s Mental Health at Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention to implement DBT Skills Groups at other VA sites. Her research interests include interventions to reduce suicidal ideation and behavior, DBT skills groups and their adaptations, implementation of evidence-based treatments and adaptations, strategies for training clinicians, emotion dysregulation as a transdiagnostic phenomenon, and ecological momentary assessment.


  • B.A., Psychology and English/Creative Writing, University of Rochester, 2003
  • M.A., Clinical Psychology, Western Michigan University
  • Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, Western Michigan University, 2011

Areas of Research Interest

  • Suicide
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Skills based interventions
  • Implementation
  • Emotion regulation

Projects & Grants

  • A Hybrid Effectiveness-Implementation Multisite Trial of a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Group for Veterans at High-Risk for Suicide Attempt (mPI; Dr. Steve Martino, PI)
    This hybrid trial, funded by HSR&D, will examine barriers and facilitators to DBT skills groups while testing these groups to reduce suicide reattempt among high-risk veterans at four clinical trial sites. 2021-2026.
  • Development of a Brief, Motivational Interviewing Intervention Manual for Lethal Means Safety Counseling for Implementation within Primary Care and Primary Care Mental Health Integration (Faculty Mentor; Dr. Frances Aunon, PI)
    Funding from VA’s HSR&D Suicide Prevention Research Action Network supports this qualitative project to develop a feasible, acceptable manual to reduce suicide risk. 2021-2022.
  • Pre-piloting a Motivational Interviewing-based Intervention for Lethal Means Safety in Primary Care (Faculty Mentor; Dr. Frances Aunon, PI)
    This Career Development Award supports Dr. Aunon’s work to pilot an intervention to improve safety and reduce suicide risk.  2021-2023.



Mehmet Sofuoglu, M.D., Ph.D.

Megan M. Kelly, Ph.D.
VISN 1 New England MIRECC Co-Director

Erin D. Reilly, M.Ed., Ph.D.
Director for Education

Richard Carson, LCSW
Administrative Officer
203-932-5711 Ext. 4338