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Research Studies

The CARE Program is a clinical research center at the UC San Diego Department of Psychiatry. The primary goal of our research is to learn how to best identify and treat adolescents and young adults at high risk for developing psychotic disorders or those who have recently had a psychotic episode. Studies at CARE are primarily supported by research grants from the National Institutes of Health. Below are the CARE Program's ongoing research studies.

For more information and to find out how to participate in our research, call: 619-543-3199, text: 619-854-3322, or email 

Tele-Research options available!

Benefits of Research

  • All participants undergo a clinical evaluation and are provided feedback.
  • Referral services and case management is provided.
  • Eligible participants are compensated for their time.
  • Participants in neuroimaging studies will receive a clinical read if indicated.
  • Participants in pharmacological trials will receive medications, follow-up appointments and neuropsychological testing at no cost.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Ages 12-35 years
  • Individuals with changes in mood, behavior, or thought patterns, unusual behaviors and social withdrawal.


  • Ages 12-35 years
  • People who have experienced a psychotic episode within the past two years.


Participants will be compensated for time and travel.

Biomarker Studies

Biomarker and neuroimaging studies aim to understand how measures of brain structure and functioning, as well as biological markers relate to clinical symptoms. These studies collect different biological markers taken from blood samples, saliva samples, urine samples, and MRIs. The relationship between these measures and clinical symptoms are assessed and analyzed to learn more about identifying the risk of developing mental illness.

ProNet (Psychosis-Risk Outcomes Network)

The purpose of this study is to collect information from individuals who are considered at high risk for possible development of mental illnesses including psychosis and from individuals who are not considered at risk for future difficulties, in order to guide future treatments. Improving our knowledge about symptoms and risk factors, and the way they change over time is important. This information may help researchers and clinicians predict possible outcomes for individual patients and develop treatment plans that are suited to the individual patient. Participation in this study will last up to 2 years, during which time participants will complete interviews and cognitive tasks, provide samples, and undergo brain scans. Currently actively enrolling.

Diet Study (An Anti-Inflammatory Wholesome Foods Dietary Intervention in First Episode Psychosis)

We are seeking participants between the ages of 15-30 years old who have recently (within the past three years) experienced a first episode of psychosis to participate in a research study to find out more about the effects of a specific dietary intervention on improving psychological and physical health. We are hoping to learn more about the dietary and physical activity habits of individuals with lived experience to assist us in developing this dietary intervention. All procedures involved in this study will take place using remote video conferencing, and there will be two remote meetings involved totaling 4 hours. Participants in this study will be compensated financially for their time. Currently actively enrolling.

Please contact Leda Kennedy at to learn more.

LTF (Long Term Follow-Up)

Despite the advances in our understanding of the CHR state, little is known about the longer-term outcomes (2+ years) or future diagnoses, symptoms and psychosocial functioning in this population. The aim of this study is to obtain long term follow-up data (5-20 years) in past Clinical High Risk (CHR) for Psychosis participants whose symptoms either remitted, persisted or convert to psychosis in the initial 1-4 year follow-up period.

Clinical Trials

Effects of Cannabidiol (CBD) Versus Placebo as an Adjunct to Treatment in Early Psychosis

The purpose of this research is to examine the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on individuals who are at clinical high risk for psychosis and individuals who have early-onset psychosis (first episode within the past two years). Recent evidence has suggested that CBD may reduce psychosocial stress, normalize inflammatory biomarker levels and potentially improve symptoms of psychosis without the effects of THC. The study will look at symptoms, neurocognition, brain activity, neuroimmune response and eating behavior in individuals who will receive either a CBD supplement or a placebo for 8 weeks. Participants will be provided with clinical assessments and be compensated for the completion of these evaluations. Currently actively enrolling.

Psychosocial Intervention Studies

UPLIFT (Understanding Prodrome and Limiting Illness with Family Therapy)

The purpose of this research is to examine the effects of family intervention on symptoms in adolescents and young adults who are at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis syndrome. Participants and their families will be provided with family therapy (in person or video visits) at no charge and will be compensated for their time. This study includes comprehensive clinical assessment and follow-up visits over an 18-month period. Currently actively enrolling.


Early Psychosis Intervention Network

The UCSD CARE Early Psychosis program represents a clinical service working with the EPI-CAL regional hub of early psychosis programs. The Early Psychosis Intervention Network (EPINET) is a 5-year project that connects regional hubs to support practice-based research to improve early identification, diagnosis, clinical assessment, intervention effectiveness, service delivery, and health outcomes in clinics offering evidence-based specialty care to persons in the early stages of psychotic illness. EPI-CAL is California's regional hub and seeks to create a California early psychosis network.
EPI-CAL aims to create a network using a core assessment battery of valid, low burden measures and mHealth technology platform to collect client-level information as part of standard care, visualize such information via clinician dashboard for treatment planning. The core assessment battery will include standard measures of early psychosis clinical features, services, and treatment outcomes.