Dr. Eaton is a clinical psychologist in the Trauma Recovery Service at the Providence VA Medical Center (PVAMC). Her primary research interests are in complementary and integrative treatment approaches for co-occurring substance use disorders (SUD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dr. Eaton received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Fielding Graduate University in 2014. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University, specializing in PTSD. Over the past several years, she has been developing a program of research focused on the development and examination of complementary and integrative, cost-effective, and tolerable treatment approaches for PTSD-SUD in Veterans. Specifically, her clinical work with this population has illuminated the common clinical issue of moral injury and how it can be refractory to current treatment approaches.
Currently, Dr. Eaton is PI on a Department of Veteran Affairs SPiRE award examining Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) for combat deployed Veterans with co-occurring PTSD-SUD and moral injury. This project is in the process of conducting a pilot study to evaluate changes in self-compassion, guilt, shame, and PTSD-SUD symptom severity in a sample of Veterans after receiving 8 sessions of Mindful Self Compassion treatment.
Additionally, Dr. Eaton currently serves as Co-I on a Center for Neurorestoration and Neurotechnology (CfNN) funded pilot study (PI: Capone) designed to collect pilot data on the feasibility and acceptability of delivering stellate ganglion block (SGB) paired with individual in-vivo exposure psychotherapy to veterans with combat-related PTSD. SGB is an established procedure used by anesthesiologists for the past several decades to relieve pain. It consists of an injection of an anesthetic into a bundle of nerves (the stellate ganglion) near the base of the neck. There is a growing body of evidence that SGB may help some veterans with PTSD whose symptoms have not responded to traditional treatments, particularly those with pronounced arousal symptoms.
Most recently, Dr. Eaton has received funding from both Brown University’s Office of the Vice President of Research (OVPR; MPI: Eaton/Haas-Koffler) and the COBRE Center for Addiction and Disease Risk Exacerbation (CADRE; MPI: Eaton/Capone) to examine the feasibility, safety, and preliminary effectiveness of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)-Assisted Therapy (MDMA-AT) for Veterans with co-occurring PTSD and Alcohol Use Disorder (PTSD-AUD). The aims of this project is to: 1) assemble a research team including the training of four MDMA-AT therapists; 2) apply for an Investigational New Drug (IND) from the FDA; 3) determine the feasibility of recruitment; 4) determine the acceptability and safety of MDMA-AT; 5) collect pilot data on the feasibility of the imaging protocol in PTSD-AUD veterans; 6) evaluate MDMA-AT related changes in subject-specific brain data related to neuroinflammation, white matter integrity, and cortico-limbic functional connectivity; and 7) measuring pro and inflammatory cytokines using Ella immunoassay. The completion of the OVPR-CADRE project will allow us to refine study procedures and make adaptations in preparation for a larger, fully powered trial to examine treatment efficacy and mechanisms of action.