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Faculty and Staff Directory




  • Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
  • M.S., Psychology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
  • B.A., Psychology & Sociology, Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA

Residency & Postgraduate Training

  • Predoctoral Psychology Internship, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas – Houston School of Medicine, Houston, TX
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship in Child Psychopathology, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA

Career Information

Dr. McDonell is an Associate Professor in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine and an Affiliate Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine. After three years as a full-time child psychologist, Dr. McDonell transitioned in 2007 to a faculty position at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He became a founding faculty member of the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine in 2015. He is also the Associate Director of the Initiative for Research and Education to Advance Community Health and a member of the Executive Committee of the Program of Excellence in Addictions, both of which are housed within Health Sciences Spokane. In addition, Dr. McDonell is a faculty mentor with the Native Investigator Development Program, an effort of the Native Elder Research Center funded by the National Institute on Aging. This unique and highly successful training program prepares American Indian and Alaska Native professionals for independent careers in health disparities research.

Dr. McDonell has an extensive background in developing and testing the effectiveness of treatments for co-occurring substance use disorders and severe mental illness. He is also active in public health research and behavioral interventions in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. He is currently the Principal Investigator or Project Lead of three randomized controlled trials conducted at multiple sites in the western U.S. All three trials use ethyl glucuronide, a biomarker of recent alcohol use, as a component in contingency management interventions for people diagnosed with alcohol use disorders. Contingency management is a therapeutic approach in which participants receive tangible rewards for providing proof of abstinence from alcohol or other substances of abuse. Dr. McDonell is a pioneer in the use of ethyl glucuronide in interventions and other treatment settings, having contributed to the identification of an appropriate threshold for chemical concentrations indicative of recent alcohol consumption. He has published more than 30 peer-reviewed articles, most of them on addiction treatment. He also continues to pursue research and clinical activities relevant to the assessment and treatment of children with severe psychiatric disorders who receive care in the public mental health system.

Professional Memberships

  • American Psychological Association
  • International Early Psychosis Association
  • Research Society on Alcoholism
  • International Society of Biomedical Research on Alcoholism


  • 1995 Marguerite Casey Scholarship, Gonzaga University
  • 2002 Thomas S. Foley Graduate Fellow in Public Policy, The Foley Institute, Washington State University
  • 2012 Awardee, National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, Clinical Research Loan Repayment Program
  • 2015 Awardee, Competitive Renewal, National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, Clinical Research Loan Repayment Program

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

McDonell MG, Short RA, Berry CM, Dyck DG. Burden in schizophrenia caregivers: Impact of family psychoeducation and awareness of patient suicidality. Fam Process. 2003;42:91-103.

McDonell MG, Short RA, Hazel NA, Berry CM, & Dyck DG. Multiple-family group treatment of outpatients with schizophrenia: Impact on service utilization. Fam Process. 2006;45:359-373.

McDonell MG, Comtois KA, Voss WD, Morgan AH, Ries RK. Global Appraisal of Individual Needs Short Screener (GSS): Psychometric properties and performance as a screening measure in adolescents. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2009;35:157-160.

McDonell MG, Tarantino J, Dubois AP, Matestic P, Steinmetz K, Galbreath H, McClellan JM. A pilot evaluation of dialectical behavioural therapy in adolescent long-term inpatient care. Child Adolesc Ment Health,2010;15:193-196.

McDonell MG, Angelo F, Sugar A, Rainey C, Srebnik D, Short R, Roll J, Ries RK. A pilot study of the accuracy of onsite immunoassay urinalysis of illicit drug use in seriously mentally ill outpatients. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2011:37(2):137-40.

McDonell MG, Howell DN, McPherson S, Cameron JM, Srebnik D, Roll JM, Ries RK. Voucher-based reinforcement for alcohol abstinence using the ethyl-glucuronide alcohol biomarker. J Appl Behav Anal. 2012;45:161-165.

McDonell MG, Srebnik D, Angelo F, McPherson S, Lowe JM, Sugar A, Short RA, Roll JM, Ries RK. A randomized controlled trial of contingency management for psycho-stimulant use in community mental health outpatients with co-occurring serious mental illness. Am J Psychiatry.2013;170:94-101.

Hilt RJ, Romaire MA, McDonell MG, Sears JM, Krupski A, Thompson JN, Myers J, Trupin EW. The pediatric access line: Evaluating a child psychiatry consultation program in Washington State. JAMA Pediatrics. 2013;167:162-168.

Srebnik D, Sugar A, Coblentz P, McDonell MG, Angelo F, Lowe JM, Ries RK. & Roll JM. Acceptability of contingency management among clinicians and clients within a co-occurring mental health and substance use treatment program. Am J Addict. 2013;22(5) 432-436.

McDonell MG, McPherson S, Vilardaga R, Srebnik D, Angelo FN, Leickly E, Saxon A, Roll J, Ries R. Preliminary findings: Contingency management targeting psycho-stimulant use results in secondary decreases in smoking for severely mentally ill adults. Am J Addict. 2014;23:407-410.

Roth W, Vilardaga R, Wolfe N, Bricker J, McDonell MG. Practical considerations in the design and development of smartphone apps for behavior change. J Contextual Behav Sci. 2014;3(4):269-272.

Lowe JM, McDonell MG, Leickly E, Angelo FA, Vilardaga R, McPherson S, Srebnik D, Roll J, Ries RK. Determining ethyl glucuronide cutoffs when detecting self-reported alcohol use in addiction treatment patients. Alcohol Clinical Exp Res. 2015;39:905-910.

Leickly E, McDonell MG, Vilardaga R, Angelo FA, Lowe JA, McPherson S, Srebnik D, Roll J, Ries RK. High levels of agreement between clinic-based ethyl glucuronide immunoassays and laboratory-based mass spectrometry. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2015;41:246-250.

Murphy SM, McDonell MG, McPherson S, Srebnik D, Angelo F, Roll JM, Ries RK. An economic evaluation of a contingency-management intervention for stimulant use among community mental health patients with serious mental illness. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2015;153:293-298.

McDonell MG, Leickly E, Skalisky J, McPherson S, Srebnik D, Roll J, Ries RK. Using ethyl glucuronide in urine to detect light and heavy drinking in alcohol dependent outpatients. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2015;157;184-187.

Michael McDonell
Associate Professor
(509) 368-6967

Curriculum Vitae