Anthony R. Pisani, Ph.D.

Anthony R. Pisani, Ph.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box PSYCH
Rochester, NY 14642

Office: (585) 275-3644
Fax: (585) 276-2065

Professional Bio

Anthony R. Pisani, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide at University of Rochester. Dr. Pisani earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Virginia. He completed internship training at the Minneapolis Children's Hospitals and Clinics, and postdoctoral fellowships in Primary Care Family Psychology and in Suicide Research at the University of Rochester. Dr. Pisani is a licensed psychologist and licensed marriage and family therapist.

Dr. Pisani developed and tested Commitment to Living: Understanding and Responding to Suicide Risk (CTL). CTL addresses common dilemmas, demands, and frustrations that sometimes accompany the rewarding experience of supporting individuals at risk for suicide in their journey toward recovery. Centered around a unifying framework for formulating and responding to suicide risk (Pisani, Murrie, & Silverman, 2014), CTL helps clinicians and administrators gain insight into where individual practice innovations fit in the overall flow of competent care for suicidal individuals. CTL is an evidence-based curriculum that has demonstrated improvements in assessment and documentation, based on objectively-rated samples collected from outpatient and inpatient clinicians across levels of experience. The workshop teaches core competencies in suicide risk assessment, documentation, and patient- and family-centered decision-making. Because CTL does not depend on any specific treatment protocol, busy clinicians in most settings can incorporate the model into patient care immediately after participating in the workshop. CTL is a core component of the New York State's efforts to support clinicians prevent suicide in high risk settings, and the workshop has been disseminated in health systems, service agencies, military installations, and schools around the country.

Dr. Pisani is a leader in national efforts to improve clinician education in suicide prevention. Dr. Pisani serves on the National Action Alliance Task Force for Workforce Preparedness and recently led a Curriculum Revision Task Force for the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. His publications include a highly influential study examining the state of workshop education in the assessment and management of suicide risk (Pisani, Gould, & Cross, 2011) and an article documenting the development and efficacy of his own approach to workshop education (Pisani, Cross, & Watts, & Conner, 2012).

Research Bio

Dr. Pisani is devoted to reducing suicide among youth and young adults. To that end, he conducts research to develop and test public health interventions that will reach young people in their natural environments using preferred modes of communication and interaction. To this end, Dr. Pisani is involved in a number of projects involving the safe and ethical (Pisani et al, 2016) use of technology in prevention.

Dr. Pisani developed Text4Strength, an automated text messaging intervention for high school students that aims to build help-seeking skills, youth-adult connections, and emotion self-regulation (Pisani et al, 2012; Pisani et al, 2013). Text4Strength is being developed as an extension to Sources of Strength (Wyman et al, 2010), a school-wide, NREPP-certified suicide prevention program. Dr. Pisani is collaborating with high schools in New York State to test the efficacy of the text messaging component.

Dr. Pisani participates in a research team that has partnered with the United States Air Force to develop a suicide prevention program for young enlisted airmen (PI: Peter Wyman). Dr. Pisani contributes to intervention development team and leads the integration of text messaging and social network technologies into the program.

Dr. Pisani and colleagues were recently awarded a grant from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to conduct research with Crisis Text Line, the nation's largest crisis text provider. The service texts with more than 700 adolescents and young adults daily. Dr. Pisani's group will study the needs of these young people, the potential for crisis text a suicide prevention platform, and the effectiveness of the service.

Awards & Honors (Local)

Otto F. Thaler Teaching Development Award | Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center | Rochester, NY 2007 - 2008
Research Fellowship | Center for Children, Families, and the Law | University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 2000 - 2001
Hayes Scholarship for Graduate Study in Social Science | Bowdoin College | Brunswick, Maine 1996 - 1997
Summa Cum Laude | Bowdoin College | Brunswick, Maine 1993
Phi Beta Kappa | Phi Beta Kappa Society, Alpha Chapter | Brunswick, Maine 1993
Philip C. Bradley Prize in Spanish Language and Literature | Bowdoin College | Brunswick, Maine 1993

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 16 available »

2016 Aug
Pisani AR, Murrie DC, Silverman MM. "Reformulating Suicide Risk Formulation: From Prediction to Prevention." Academic psychiatry : the journal of the American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training and the Association for Academic Psychiatry. 2016 Aug; 40(4):623-9. Epub 2015 Dec 14.
2016 Aug
Pisani AR, Wyman PA, Mohr DC, Perrino T, Gallo C, Villamar J, Kendziora K, Howe GW, Sloboda Z, Brown CH. "Human Subjects Protection and Technology in Prevention Science: Selected Opportunities and Challenges." Prevention science : the official journal of the Society for Prevention Research. 2016 Aug; 17(6):765-78.
Thiha, P; Pisani, AR; Gurditta, K; Cherry, E; Peterson, D; Kautz, H; Wyman, PA. "Efficacy of Web-Based Collection of Strength-Based Testimonials for Text Message Extension of Youth Suicide Prevention Program: Randomized Controlled Experiment". JMIR: Public Health and Surveillance. 2016; .
2015 Dec
Petrova M, Wyman PA, Schmeelk-Cone K, Pisani AR. "Positive-Themed Suicide Prevention Messages Delivered by Adolescent Peer Leaders: Proximal Impact on Classmates' Coping Attitudes and Perceptions of Adult Support." Suicide & life-threatening behavior. 2015 Dec; 45(6):651-63. Epub 2015 Feb 18.
Cross WF, Pisani AR, Schmeelk-Cone K, Xia Y, Tu X, McMahon M, Munfakh JL, Gould MS. "Measuring trainer fidelity in the transfer of suicide prevention training." Crisis. 2014 35(3):202-12.

Current Appointments

Associate Professor - Department of Psychiatry, Family/Marriage (SMD) - Primary
Associate Professor - Department of Pediatrics (SMD)


Ph.D. | Clinical Psychology | University of Virginia2001
M.Ed. | Clinical Psychology | University of Virginia1997
A.B. | History and Spanish | Bowdoin College1993

Post-Doctoral Training & Residency

Fellowship in Psychology at University of Rochester School of Nursing09/01/2001 - 06/30/2003
Internship in Psychology at Minneapolis Children's Medical Center09/01/2000 - 08/2001