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Michele Easter

Assistant Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Psychiatry, Child & Family Mental Health & Community Psychiatry
DUMC 102505, Durham, NC 27705
6th Floor Box #11 DUMC Box 102505, Durham, NC 27705


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.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Assistant Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences · 2021 - Present Psychiatry, Child & Family Mental Health & Community Psychiatry, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

Education, Training & Certifications

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill · 2010 Ph.D.