Decision Sciences Institute (DSI), located in Providence, Rhode Island, was created in May 1999 as the New England center of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE). The long-term goal of DSI is to bring modern quantitative and qualitative thinking to bear on the delivery of addictions and mental health services and to advance clinical research and clinical policy through the use of empirical studies.
Researchers at DSI have participated in some of the early landmark studies on less intensive treatment for alcoholics. Dr. Stout, the Center Director of DSI, led the data analysis team for the NIAAA-funded Project MATCH, one of the largest randomized alcohol treatment studies ever conducted. Project MATCH demonstrated that low-cost treatment, such as Motivational Enhancement Treatment and Twelve-Step Facilitation treatment, is a viable alternative to costlier clinical models. Currently, DSI researchers are also examining treatment policy and treatment systems to determine how treatment quality and organizational management affect clinical outcomes.
The application of advanced analytical methods to research problems in behavioral health is another DSI focus. The foundations of psychiatric diagnosis and treatment are surprisingly uncertain. Common psychiatric diagnoses, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, are frequently found to covary over time with other diagnoses in a complex manner. Modern quantitative methods applied by DSI scientists help to clarify some of these poorly understood patterns. Ongoing major studies include those of anxiety disorders, personality disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and body dysmorphic disorders.
DSI researchers are also involved with the development of computer simulation models that examine how tobacco, alcohol, and obesity policy changes affect rates of prevalence, consumption, morbidity, and mortality. These models have achieved both national and international recognition for their innovative approaches and are being used for surveillance and evaluation by a number of states and countries.
In the spirit of moving research to practice, DSI scientists and program staff also provide training, technical assistance, and evaluation services to national, state, and community provider agencies. We assist organizations with data collection, program planning and implementation, and evaluation. We also provide professional training and technical assistance on a variety of important public health issues.