Services Effectiveness Research Program (SERP)


A team of mental health services researchers at Duke University work under the aegis of the Services Effectiveness Research Program (SERP) in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine.

Mission of SERP: Integrating psychiatric and psychological research into clinical practice. Toward this end, SERP faculty conduct mental health services research in the four areas listed below:

Treatment Effectiveness Research – Evaluating the effectiveness of treatment modalities in the context of ‘real world’ clinical settings to improve outcomes for children and adolescents with serious emotional disorders, as well as adults with severe mental illness.

Mental Health Services/Policy – Examining the complex interaction between healthcare policy and psychiatric services and its effect on access to care, quality of care, treatment outcomes, and financial cost, particularly when treating at-risk clinical populations.

Law and Mental Health – Investigating the impact of the legal system on treatment outcomes for individuals with severe mental illness, as well as risk and protective factors mediating the relationship between violence and mental illness.

Intervention/Dissemination/Training – Transferring technology into clinical practice by training not only mental health professionals to utilize evidence-based practices, but empirical investigators in the area of mental health services research as well.

Program Director, Barbara J. Burns, Ph.D., and SERP faculty members, Marvin S. Swartz, M.D., Jeffrey W. Swanson, Ph.D., and Allison G. Robertson, Ph.D. are nationally recognized leaders in these fields.

Additionally, SERP faculty members actively participate in mentoring postdoctoral fellows through the National Research Service Award (NRSA) postdoctoral fellowship program in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Systems and Services Research, which is co-sponsored by UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University.