Lynsay Ayer

Lynsay Ayer

Senior Behavioral and Social Scientist; Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School


Lynsay Ayer (she/her) is a senior behavioral and social scientist at RAND and a professor of policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Her research is focused on understanding how to prevent and mitigate mental health problems among high risk populations, including system-involved youth, disaster-exposed communities, and those with limited access to mental health care. Much of Dr. Ayer's work currently focuses on the prevention of self-injurious thoughts and behaviors/suicide. She also leads projects relating to intimate partner violence prevention, the cumulative impact of disaster exposure and victimization on mental health, and the delivery of evidence based mental health support within nontraditional settings (e.g., libraries). This work is funded by a variety of sources, including federal grants and private foundations. She has led or co-led studies utilizing longitudinal survey designs, randomized controlled trials, quasi-experimental designs, 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.


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

Selected Work

  • Ayer, L., Stevens, C., Reider, E., Sims, B., Colpe, L., & Pearson, J., "Preventing Youth Suicide: Potential “Crossover Effects” of Existing School-based Programs," Prevention Science, 2022
  • Ayer, L., Horowitz, L., Colpe, L., Lowry, N., Ryan, P., Boudreaux, E., Little, V., Erban, S., Ramirez-Estrada, S., & Schoenbaum, M., "Clinical Pathway for Suicide Risk Screening in Adult Primary Care Settings: Special Recommendations," Journal of the Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, 2022
  • Ayer, L., Ramchand, R., Karimi, G., & Wong, E., "Co-occurring alcohol and mental health problems in the military: Prevalence, disparities, and service utilization," Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 2022
  • Ayer, L., Pane, J., Godley, M., McCaffrey, D., Burgette, L., Cefalu, M., Vegetabile, B., & Griffin, B.A., "Comparative effectiveness of individual versus family-based substance use treatment on adolescent self-injurious thoughts and behaviors," Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 2022
  • Ayer, L., Colpe, L., Pearson, J., Rooney, M., & Murphy, E., "Advancing research on child suicide: A call to action," Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2020
  • Ayer, L., Engel, C., Parker, A., Seelam, R., & Ramchand, R., "Behavioral health of Gulf Coast residents six years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill: the role of trauma history," Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
  • Ayer, L., Setodji, C., Schultz, D., Jaycox, L., & Kofner, A., "Change in externalizing problems over time among ethnic minority youth exposed to violence," Children & Youth Services Review, 2017
  • Ayer, L., Woldetsadik, M., Malsberger, R., Burgette, L.F., & Kohl, P.L., "Who are the men caring for maltreated youth? Male caregivers in the child welfare system," Child Maltreatment, 2016

Authored by Lynsay Ayer

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