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Multicultural Suicide Research Center (MSRC) Research Lab

Drs. Bruce Bongar ( and Joyce Chu (

MSRC Overview

Current evidence-based practices of suicidology lack integration with knowledge regarding cultural variations in suicide, increasing risk for misdetection or mismanagement of risk in diverse populations. The goals of the Multicultural Suicide Research Center are to advance the field of multicultural suicidology through projects investigating suicide assessment, prevention, and management.

Examples of current MSRC projects include the Cultural Assessment of Risk for Suicide project which aims to create and test a brief evidence-based clinical tool (CARS; the Cultural Assessment of Risk for Suicide instrument) for culturally-competent suicide risk detection that complements and improves existing assessment procedures for use with African American, Asian American, Latino, and LGBTQ populations. Students may be involved in modifying and translating this empirical tool into clinical application.

Other MSRC work includes projects on medical examiner suicide decedent data and suicide notes, as well as a project on cultural variations in how to ask about suicide.

The MSRC is a collaborative research group led by Drs. Bruce Bongar and Joyce Chu. Students apply to and are matched with either Dr. Bongar or Dr. Chu as their primary advisor. In addition, MSRC students work collaboratively as a group based on project involvement.


Dr. Bongar and Dr. Chu each take up to 3 students per year. You will be expected to start your work in the research lab starting the previous spring or summer quarter.


Students interested in joining the lab are asked to submit the following items to either Drs. Bongar or Chu (choose a primary mentor for your application) by 5pm on the PAU uniform research lab application date.

  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. One or two page cover letter discussing past research experience, how and why the student became interested in suicide and diversity work, and specific research and clinical interests in cultural suicide studies.
  3. A writing sample such as your research proposal written in PAU’s Research Methods course.
  4. PAU unofficial transcript

Students accepted into MSRC Research Lab will be notified by email by the PAU uniform notification date.