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Past Projects

The Multicultural Suicide Research Center (MSRC) and Cultural Assessment of Risk for Suicide Clinic (CARS)

Investigators: Joyce Chu, Ph.D., Bruce Bongar, Ph.D., & Peter Goldblum, Ph.D., MPH

Description: Despite important differences in suicide presentation and risk among ethnic and sexual minority groups, cultural competency in the prediction of suicide has typically been left out of systematic risk assessment practices. The Cultural Assessment of Risk for Suicide (CARS) tool was developed to guide the researcher or clinician in the task of incorporating cultural differences in risk assessment efforts for ethnic and sexual minority individuals. The CARS model is operationalized in a questionnaire that assesses for five culturally-specific suicide risk factors: idioms of distress, social support, minority stress, guilt and shame, and differences in suicide method. In essence, CARS assists culturally competent suicide risk assessment and management. The Multicultural Suicide Research Center (MSRC) at Palo Alto University, led by Drs. Joyce Chu, Bruce Bongar, and Peter Goldblum, aims to advance the field of multicultural suicidology through projects investigating suicide assessment, prevention, and management. The Cultural Assessment of Risk for Suicide project in particular aimed to increase culturally-competent suicide risk detection among LGBTQ, African American, Asian American, and Latino populations. CARS (the Cultural Assessment of Risk for Suicide instrument) is a brief evidence-based clinical tool that enables detection of cross-cultural variations in idioms of suicide-related distress, meaning, risk and protective factors, intention, and plan. CARS is currently being validated in clinical and community samples.


J. Chu, P. Goldblum, R. Floyd, B. Bongar (2011) The cultural theory and model of suicide. Applied and Preventive Psychology. Applied and Preventative Psychology.

Chu, J.P., Emmons, L., Wong, J., Goldblum, P., Reiser, R., Barrera, A., & Byrd-Olmstead, J. (2012). Public psychology: A competency model for professional psychologists in community mental health. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 43(1), 39-49.

Chu, J.P., Floyd, R., Diep, H., Pardo, S., Goldblum, P., & Bongar, B. (2013). A tool for the culturally competent assessment of suicide: The Cultural Assessment of Risk for Suicide (CARS) measure. Psychological Assessment. Advance online publication doI: 10.1037/a0031264.

Chu, J. P., Hoeflein, B. T. R., Goldblum, P., Heyne, G., Bongar, B., Gadinsky, N., & Skinta, M. D. (2017). Innovations in the practice of culturally competent suicide risk management. Practice Innovations, 2(2), 66-79.

Chu, J.P,. Hoeflein, B., Goldblum, P. Espelage, D., Davis, J., Bongar, B. (2018) A Shorter Screener Version of the Cultural Assessment of Risk for Suicide,

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