Lynsay Ayer

Photo of Lynsay Ayer
Senior Behavioral and Social Scientist
Off Site Office


Ph.D. in clinical psychology, University of Vermont; B.A. in psychology, Cornell University


Lynsay Ayer is a senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation. Her research interests span the areas of trauma/posttraumatic stress, violence, substance abuse, and suicide. The overarching goals of her research are (a) to prevent violence and trauma (e.g., child maltreatment, suicide) and (b) prevent and treat behavioral health problems caused by stressful/traumatic events (e.g., posttraumatic stress disorder, drug and alcohol abuse). She is particularly interested in identifying ways to improve access to trauma and mental health services for vulnerable and underserved populations. For example, she has studied the role of fathers in the child welfare system, and tested interventions for low-income, underserved populations with limited access to traditional health/mental health services. Ayer's work aims to explore and test new models of service delivery, particularly in non-traditional mental health settings (e.g., task shifting models, using digital technologies). She has led or co-led studies utilizing longitudinal survey designs, RCTs, and mixed methods. Ayer received her B.A. in psychology from Cornell University and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Vermont. She completed her clinical internship at the Medical University of South Carolina/Department of Veterans Affairs Consortium.

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Suicide Prevention Program Consultant, National Institute of Mental Health

Recent Projects

  • Fathers, Child Mental Health, and Maltreatment in the Child Welfare System
  • National Evaluation of the Safe Start Initiative
  • Evaluation of the NYC Connections to Care Initiative
  • Development and Testing of Life Improvement for Teens (LIFT) Online Curriculum for Stress and Trauma


  • Man talks with mental health practitioner via telemedecine, photo by verbaska_studio/Getty Images

    Want to Stem the Rising Mental Health Crisis? Look Beyond the Usual Suspects for Help

    As the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic effects spread, concerns about mental health impacts continue to grow. Many communities and policymakers are desperate to stem the tide of unaddressed mental health needs, and with the right investments in training, task-shifting models have enormous potential to bolster available, accessible mental health services.

    May 12, 2020 Psych Central