Opportunities within the UCLA Depression Grand Challenge

The Depression Grand Challenge (DGC) is a campus-wide initiative aimed at cutting the burden of depression in half by 2050. With sponsorship from UCLA, we are conducting a series of studies which will enable us to 1) identify the genetic, biological, cognitive, social and environmental factors associated with depression and 2) implement an innovative and comprehensive treatment strategy. Some of these studies will contribute to an unprecedented 100,000 person genetics study.

We are recruiting members to join our team for the following positions.

Resilience Peer Network Training

Summer 2020 enrollment is now closed

Training for the RPN is sequential and offered each quarter. Students who successfully complete the initial 3 quarters of training may advance to full certification as a Certified STAND Coach (CSC). STAND Peers are eligible to support participants in the STAND Program (Screening and Treatment for Depression and Anxiety) within the UCLA Depression Grand Challenge. STAND Peers can lead student support groups and provide one-on-one video-chat support for people receiving STAND digital treatment.


The first quarter of training involves completing the STAND Digital Therapy modules and participating in weekly one-hour demonstration support group meetings to learn how the STAND program works. Students also attend experiential learning sessions to practice active listening, emphatic responding, motivational techniques, mindfulness practice, and cognitive behavioral strategies. The estimated time commitment for the first quarter of training is 4 hours per week. RPN I trainees who pass the Basic Skills post-test are invited to advance to RPNII.


In the second quarter, RPN II trainees participate in weekly intensive role play supervision focusing on skills to support online therapy. RPN II trainees may complete training to provide individual orientation sessions for the STAND Program. The estimated time commitment for this portion of training is a minimum 2 hours per week.


Advancement to RPN III requires mastery of core skills and content in RPN I and RPN II as demonstrated in the RPN supervisor's evaluation. RPN IIIs participate in training and supervision to provide 1-on-1 orientations for the STAND Program (minimum 2 hrs/week). RPN IIIs co-lead weekly demonstration support groups to train RPNI members (1.5 hrs/wk plus weekly clinical supervision 2 hrs/wk). Attendance for group facilitators is mandatory. You must commit to (a) facilitate a weekly demonstration support group and (b) participate in weekly group supervision. The estimated time commitment for RPN III is a minimum of 4 hours weekly.

Certified STAND Coach (CSC)

CSCs may (1) lead RPN support groups, and/or (2) provide one-on-one videochat coaching for mildly-to-moderately depressed and anxious individuals being treated in the STAND Program. CSCs assigned to these roles are required to continue in training and weekly supervision while they are actively serving students. CSCs devote a minimum of 4 hours per week while serving actively in the Resilience Peer Network, but they may serve up to 10 hours per week (with additional supervision) if their schedules permit. Certified STAND Coaches may be invited to serve as speakers and panelists for the Depression Grand Challenge to promote stigma reduction and share their experiences as STAND Peers.

Additional information on the STAND Program and Depression Grand Challenge can be found at: http://grandchallenges.ucla.edu/depression/.

The Resilience Peer Network (RPN) is a collective of UCLA undergraduate and graduate students trained to support fellow students. Our Resilience Peers are trained in active listening and empathic responding; boundaries, privacy, and ethics; applied positive psychology principles and resilience skills; motivational support to reinforce evidence-based treatment for stress, depression, and anxiety; and mindfulness approaches to resilience. More than 530 students have joined RPN for training and support since its inception in early 2016.

In partnership with the Screening and Treatment for Anxiety and Depression (STAND) Program offered by the UCLA Depression Grand Challenge, fully trained Resilience Peers become Certified STAND Coaches (CSCs) who can provide motivational support and encouragement to participants receiving the STAND Digital Therapy, an internet-based form of cognitive behavioral therapy. CSCs reinforce concepts taught in the STAND Digital Therapy through support groups and one-on-one video chats under close professional supervision.


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Research description:

We are recruiting undergraduate volunteers to assist in conducting ongoing research studies for the UCLA Depression Grand Challenge (DGC). The DGC is a campus-wide initiative aimed at cutting the burden of depression in half by 2050. Focusing on the use of mobile health technology, we are conducting several demonstration projects to understand the genetic, biological, cognitive, social and environmental factors associated with depression. In gaining a more precise understanding of the factors associated with depression, these preliminary studies will enable us to implement an innovative, personalized, and comprehensive treatment strategy, and ultimately will contribute to an unprecedented genetic study of 100,000 people with depression.

For a comprehensive list of current DGC studies, please visit our Studies Landing Page.

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  • Minimum GPA of 3.3.
  • Prior research or clinical experience is a plus, but not required.
  • Must be able to attend weekly lab meetings on Thursdays 11 AM - 12 PM.
  • Must be able to commit to the DGC for at least one full academic year.


The primary role of undergraduate research assistants (RAs) is:

  • Data entry and data quality control procedures.
  • Assist with email and phone communication (e.g. phone screens) to enrolled participants in various research projects.
  • Conduct audio recording transcriptions.
  • Administer neurocognitive assessments with research participants.
  • Assist with MRI data collection.
  • Opportunities to observe diagnostic clinical assessments with different clinical populations.
  • Opportunities to attend weekly clinical supervision meetings and various training seminars.

Applicants must be exceptionally detail oriented, have excellent phone etiquette, be comfortable in working with a psychiatric patient population, and be able to follow instructions precisely and work independently.

All RAs will need to complete official volunteer paperwork and training through the UCLA Health Systems. RAs in our lab may earn SRP course credit after completing one quarter and demonstrating sufficient work ethic and skill.

Hours per week: A minimum of 8 hours per week.

Number of Positions Available: 5.

Contact info:
Principal Investigator: Nelson Freimer, MD & Michelle Craske, PhD
Dept: Semel Institute and Psychology
Address: Semel Institute, 2nd Floor

We are accepting applications on a continuous basis. If you are interested, please send a cover letter and curriculum vitae to all the lab managers listed below in one email:

Name: Madison Schmidt
Email: mrschmidt@mednet.ucla.edu
Name: Lauren Shoemaker
Email: lshoemaker@mednet.ucla.edu
Name: Brett Davis
Email: brettdavis@mednet.ucla.edu

We currently have no SRA positions available.

We currently have no GSR positions available.

Please contact Dr. Eliza Congdon at econgdon@mednet.ucla.edu for inquiries about postdoctoral fellowships with the DGC

We currently have no Administrative Assistant positions available.

We currently have no positions available.

Contact Dr. Eliza Congdon at econgdon@mednet.ucla.edu to inquire about open positions.