Rising Strong Evaluation

The Rising Strong Regional Partnership: Family-Centered Treatment with Housing Program (Rising Strong) aims to change outcomes for families at risk of child removal due to parental alcohol and substance use and housing instability. Rising Strong is an alternative program to the removal of children from their parent’s care, offering evidence-based treatment services, along with housing and wraparound services, intended to directly address the complex and interdependent needs of each family. The purpose of this evaluation is to determine if the Rising Strong program is associated with increased child well-being, parent recovery, family stability, permanency, and child safety. 

Our multidisciplinary team led by Dr. McDonell, along with faculty from the College of Nursing, comprise the evaluation team for Rising Strong.



Lead Evaluator

Michael McDonell, Ph.D.


Celestina Barbosa-Leiker, Ph.D.

Ekaterina Burduli, Ph.D.

Research Coordinator

Elizabeth Smith, B.A.



Catholic Charities of Spokane, WA

Nadine Van Stone, M.S., VP of Crisis Response and Shelters


Dawn Kinder, MSW, Director of Rising Strong and Chief Healthcare Integration Officer

Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families

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Phosphatidylethanol-Based Contingency Management for Housing

Contingency management (CM) is a behavioral intervention where incentives are provided in exchange for a biomarker that indicates substance abstinence. CM is effective at initiating abstinence from substances; however, it is less clear if CM is a model that can be used to maintain long-term abstinence. Phosphatidylethanol (PEth) is a novel blood-based biomarker with a long detection window of 14-28 days and is collected via a minimally invasive finger stick. Therefore, PEth may be used to implement a CM intervention where the frequency of alcohol monitoring and delivery of incentives can be as little as once a month, allowing for a feasible long-term CM intervention targeting alcohol.


This pilot-trial seeks to understand if a PEth-based CM intervention targeting initiation and maintenance of alcohol abstinence in formerly homeless, currently housed individuals with alcohol use disorders is acceptable to participants, feasible for staff, and is associated with increased alcohol abstinence and housing tenure. Acceptability and feasibility will be assessed using a QUANT+qual mixed methods. This protocol seeks to utilize a novel alcohol biomarker to deliver a long-term strategy for supporting those in supported housing with diagnosable alcohol use disorders. This treatment development trial will simultaneously assess initial intervention effectiveness, as well as factors that will influence implementation and dissemination of the intervention in a housing setting.



Principal Investigator

Michael McDonell, Ph.D.


Sterling McPherson, Ph.D.

Research Coordinator

Elizabeth Fraser, M.A.



University of Texas Health Science San Antonio

Martin Javors, Ph.D., Co-Investigator

Nathalie Hill-Kapturczak, Ph.D., Co-Investigator

Washington University

Leopoldo Cabassa, Ph.D., Consultant

Funded by the NIAAA

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