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Michele Easter, PhD

Assistant Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Division: 
Child & Family Mental Health & Community Psychiatry
Category: 
Office: 905 West Main Street, DUMC Box 3071, Durham, NC 27710
Campus Mail: DUMC DUMC 3071, Durham, NC 27710

At the Services Effectiveness Research Program, I am a co-investigator, analyst, and manager for projects on mental health/substance use services and policy research. Our group conducts longitudinal studies of criminal justice outcomes and crisis-driven service utilization to assess the effects of policies (e.g., mental health-based firearms disqualification) and services (e.g., medication-assisted treatment for substance dependence). As the Behavioral Health Core of the Wilson Center for Science & Justice at Duke School of Law, our research agenda focuses on reducing criminal justice contact among people with mental illness and substance use disorders. We also collaborate with community partners to study and promote the use of psychiatric advance directives. Currently, my research interests center on people with mental illness, substance use, and/or unmet social needs who are stuck in a 'revolving door' of incarceration, crisis care, and detox; I hope this work will make a positive difference in the lives of people in Durham and beyond. I am also interested in the conceptualization of illness and recovery by people with behavioral disorders, specifically the extent to which they endorse and identify with biologically-based explanatory models. My dissertation was on how women with eating disorders understand and interpret the idea that genes play a role in eating disorders.

Education and Training

  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, 2010

Publications

Copeland, William E., Guangyu Tong, Elizabeth J. Gifford, Michele M. Easter, Lilly Shanahan, Marvin S. Swartz, and Jeffrey W. Swanson. “Childhood Gun Access, Adult Suicidality, and Crime.” Pediatrics 148, no. 2 (August 2021). https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2020-042291.

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Belden, Charles M., Allison R. Gilbert, Michele M. Easter, Marvin S. Swartz, and Jeffrey W. Swanson. “Appropriateness of psychiatric advance directives facilitated by peer support specialists and clinicians on Assertive Community Treatment teams.” J Ment Health, July 16, 2021, 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1080/09638237.2021.1952946.

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Easter, Michele M., Jeffrey W. Swanson, William E. Crozier, Allison G. Robertson, Brandon L. Garrett, Karima Modjadidi, and Marvin S. Swartz. “North Carolina Specialty Courts, Treatment Access, and the Substance Use Crisis: A Promising but Underfunded Model.” Psychiatr Serv, June 18, 2021, appips202000868. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.202000868.

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Swartz, Marvin S., Jeffrey W. Swanson, Michele M. Easter, and Allison G. Robertson. “Implementing Psychiatric Advance Directives: The Transmitter and Receiver Problem and the Neglected Right to Be Deemed Incapable.” Psychiatr Serv 72, no. 2 (February 1, 2021): 219–21. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.202000659.

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Robertson, Allison G., Michele M. Easter, Hsiu-Ju Lin, Dalia Khoury, Joshua Pierce, Jeffrey Swanson, and Marvin Swartz. “Gender-specific participation and outcomes among jail diversion clients with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders.” J Subst Abuse Treat 115 (August 2020): 108035. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2020.108035.

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Swanson, Jeffrey W., Michele M. Easter, Kelly Alanis-Hirsch, Charles M. Belden, Michael A. Norko, Allison G. Robertson, Linda K. Frisman, Hsiu-Ju Lin, Marvin S. Swartz, and George F. Parker. “Criminal Justice and Suicide Outcomes with Indiana's Risk-Based Gun Seizure Law.” J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 47, no. 2 (June 2019): 188–97. https://doi.org/10.29158/JAAPL.003835-19.

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Swanson, Jeffrey, Michele Easter, Mira Brancu, Mira VA Mid-Atlantic MIRECC Workgroup, and John A. Fairbank. “Informing Federal Policy on Firearm Restrictions for Veterans with Fiduciaries: Risk Indicators in the Post-Deployment Mental Health Study.” Adm Policy Ment Health 45, no. 4 (July 2018): 673–83. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10488-018-0881-y.

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Robertson, Allison G., Michele M. Easter, HsiuJu Lin, Linda K. Frisman, Jeffrey W. Swanson, and Marvin S. Swartz. “Medication-Assisted Treatment for Alcohol-Dependent Adults With Serious Mental Illness and Criminal Justice Involvement: Effects on Treatment Utilization and Outcomes.” Am J Psychiatry 175, no. 7 (July 1, 2018): 665–73. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2018.17060688.

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Robertson, Allison G., Michele M. Easter, Hsiu-Ju Lin, Linda K. Frisman, Jeffrey W. Swanson, and Marvin S. Swartz. “Associations between pharmacotherapy for opioid dependence and clinical and criminal justice outcomes among adults with co-occurring serious mental illness.” J Subst Abuse Treat 86 (March 2018): 17–25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2017.12.003.

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Easter, Michele M., Jeffrey W. Swanson, Allison G. Robertson, Lorna L. Moser, and Marvin S. Swartz. “Facilitation of Psychiatric Advance Directives by Peers and Clinicians on Assertive Community Treatment Teams.” Psychiatr Serv 68, no. 7 (July 1, 2017): 717–23. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.201600423.

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