Boston University Sargent College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences
Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation

Boston University Sargent College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences
Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation

Susan R. McGurk, Ph.D.

Professor 617.353.3549

Susan R. McGurk, PhD, is a Professor in the Departments of Occupational Therapy (primary appointment) and Psychological and Brain Sciences, and the Director of Cognitive Remediation Initiatives at the Center of Psychiatric Rehabilitation at Boston University. McGurk is a neuropsychologist whose multi-faceted research program addresses methods and mechanisms in cognitive remediation, the role of cognitive impairments in employment, academic pursuits, and independent living in persons with serious psychiatric illnesses, and in other conditions affecting cognition and community functioning. McGurk and colleagues have developed the “Thinking Skills for Work” Program, a multi-component cognitive remediation program combining restorative task practice of cognitive skills and the teaching of self-management strategies designed to optimize cognitive and work functioning in persons receiving vocational rehabilitation services. The results of a recently completed, NIMH-funded, two-site, randomized controlled trial demonstrated the ability of the Thinking Skills for Work program to improve work outcomes in people who have failed to respond to supported employment, the evidence-based vocational rehabilitation program. This is the first trial to date that has demonstrated the ability of cognitive enhancement program (Thinking Skills for Work) to improve rehabilitation outcomes in people who have failed to respond to an evidence based practice (supported employment). Adaptations of the Thinking Skills for Work Program are being evaluated in people pursuing school goals, and in people wishing to improve their independent living skills. Dr. McGurk has been the recipient of a National Alliance of Research in Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) Young Investigator Award (1997-1990), a NARSAD Independent Investigator Award (2010-2012), the  Rehabilitation Practitioner of Distinction Award by the National Rehabilitation Association, and the Gerard Hogarty Award for Excellence in Schizophrenia Research. She is the Principal Investigator of ongoing NIMH- and NIDILRR-funded randomized controlled trials evaluating the Thinking Skills for Work Program and other cognitive programs in persons with severe mental illness. Other current work addresses potential enhancement of neuroplastic cognitive remediation-related processes with physical exercise, an NIMH-funded multi-site dismantling study of the specific cognitive enhancement services that improve work functioning in people with psychiatric illness, the results of which will inform a personalized medicine approach for the delivery of cognitive services, a NIDILLR-funded scaling up project of the Thinking Skills for Work Program, and a NIDILLR-funded evaluation of augmenting the Thinking Skills for Work program with home-based cognitive practice using tablets. For more information about cognitive remediation, see the Recovery & Rehabilitation Newsletter article “Cognitive Remediation with a Spotlight on the Thinking Skills for Work Program.”

Areas of Expertise

  • Methods and mechanisms of cognitive remediation
  • Cognitive self-management strategies
  • Community based implementation of cognitive remediation programs
  • Supported employment
  • Psychiatric rehabilitation
  • Neuropsychology of psychiatric illness
  • Prospective research methods
  • Clinical trials

Selected Publications

DeTore, N., McGurk, S.R., and Mueser, K.T. (In press).  What does the managing emotions branch of the MSCEIT add to the MATRICS cognitive consensus battery? Schizophrenia Research.

DeTore, N., Mueser, K.T., Byrd, J. and McGurk, S.R. (In press).  Cognitive Functioning as a Predictor of Response to Cognitive Remediation. Journal of Psychiatric Research.

Wright, A., Mueser, K. T., McGurk, S. R., Fowler, D., & Greenwood, K. E. (In press).  Cognitive and metacognitive factors predict engagement in employment in individuals with early psychosis. Schizophrenia Research: Cognition.

Harvey, P.D., McGurk, S.R., Mahenke, H., Wykes, T. (2018). Controversies in cognitive training.  Biological Psychiatry, 3(11):907-915.

Lindenmayer, J.P., Khan, A., McGurk, S.R., Kulsa, M.K.C., Ljuri, I., Ozog V., Fregenti, S., Capodilupo G., Buccellato, K. Thanju, A., Goldring, A., Parak, M., Parker, B. (2018).  Does social cognition training augment response to computer-assisted cognitive remediation for schizophrenia? Schizophrenia Research, 201:180-186.

Metcalfe, J.D., Riley, J. McGurk, S.R., Hale, T., Drake, R.E., and Bond, G.R. (2018).  Comparing Predictors of Employment in Individual Placement and Support: A Longitudinal Analysis.  Psychiatry Research. 2018 Jun; 264:85-90. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2018.03.050. Epub 2018.

McGurk. S.R. Drake, R.E., Xie, H., Riley, J., Milfort, R., Hale, T.W., Frey W. (2018). Cognitive predictors among work in social security disability insurance beneficiaries with psychiatric disorders enrolled in IPS supported employment. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 44(1):32-37.

Mueser, K.T., McGurk, S.R., Xie H., Bolton, E.E., Janowsky, M.K., Lu,W., Rosenberg, S.D., and Wolfe, R. (2018). Neuropsychological predictors of response to the cognitive behavioral therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder in persons with severe mental illness. Psychiatry Research, 259:110-116.

Teixeira, C., Mueser, K.T., Rogers, E.S., and McGurk, S.R. (2018). Job endings and work trajectories in persons receiving supported employment and cognitive remediation. Psychiatric Services, 69(7):812-818.

Lindenmayer, J.P., Fregenti, S., Kang, G, Ozog V., Ljuri, I., Khan, A., Goldring, A, and McGurk, S.R. (2017). The relationship of cognitive improvement after cognitive remediation with social functioning in patients with schizophrenia and severe cognitive deficits. Schizophrenia Research, 185:154-160.

Lindenmayer, J.P., Ozog V., Khan, A., Ljuri, I., Fregenti, S., and McGurk, S.R. (2017).  Predictors of Response to Cognitive Remediation in Service Recipients with Severe Mental Illness. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 40 (1):61-69.

Lystad, J., Falkum, E., Haaland, V., Bull, H., Evensen, S., McGurk, S.R., & Ueland, T. (2017).  Cognitive Remediation, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Occupational Outcome in Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders: A 2-year follow-up study. Schizophrenia Research, 185:122-129.

McGurk, S.R. (2017).  Cognitive Remediation.  Special issue of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 40(1).

McGurk, S.R. & Mueser, K.T. (2017). Introduction to special issue on cognitive remediation. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 40 (1):1-3, 2017.

McGurk, S.R., Watkins, M.A, Dalton, C.M., Deutsch, H., and Mueser, K.T. (2017). The Feasibility of implementing cognitive remediation for work in community based psychiatric rehabilitation programs. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 40 (1):79-86.

Mueser, K.T., Kim, M., Addington, J., McGurk, S.R., Pratt, S.I., and Addington, D.I. (2017). Confirmatory Factor Analysis of the Quality of Life Scale and New Proposed Factor Structure for the Quality of Life Scale-Revised. Schizophrenia Research, 181:117-123.

Twamley, E.W., Thomas, K.R., Burton, C.Z., Vella, L., Jeste, D.V., Heaton, R.K., & McGurk, S.R. (2017). Compensatory strategy training for people with severe mental illnesses in supported employment: A randomized controlled trial. Schizophrenia Research, S0920-9964(17):30471-1.

Keefe, R.S., Haig, G.M., Marder, S.R., Harvey, P.D., Dunayevich, E., Medalia, A., Davidson, M., Lombardo, I., Bowie, C.R., Buchanan, R.W., Bugarski-Kirola, D., Carpenter, W.T., Csernansky, J.T., Dago, P.L., Durand, D.M., Frese, F.J., Goff, D.C., Gold, J.M., Hooker, C.I., Kopelowicz, A., McGurk, S.R., Opler, L.A., Pinkham, A.E., Stern, R.G. (2016).  Report on ISCTM consensus meeting on clinical assessment of response to treatment of cognitive impairment in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 42(1):19-33.

Khare, C., Mueser, K.T., McGurk, S.R. (2016). Vocational Rehabilitation for Persons with Serious Mental Illness. Current Treatment Options in Psychiatry: Special Section: Schizophrenia Other Psychotic Disorder, 3, 99-110, 2016.

Lo, S.B., Szuhanya, K.M., Kredlow, M.A., Wolfe, R., Mueser, K.T., & McGurk, S.R. (2016). A confirmatory factor analysis of the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery in severe mental illness.  Schizophrenia Research, 175: 79-84.

Lo, S., Watkins, M., & McGurk, S.R. (2016). “Cognitive Remediation for Psychiatric Disorders. ‘Fact Sheet’” published on the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies’ website: (

McGurk, S.R. (2016).  Cognitive enhancement to improve substance abuse outcomes in persons with so-occurring disorders.  Journal of Dual Diagnosis, 12:72-3, 2016.

McGurk, S.R., & Mueser, K.T. (2016).  Editorial: Sustaining the long-term effects of supported employment for persons with psychiatric disabilities. American Journal of Psychiatry,   Published online: October 01, 2016.

McGurk, S.R., Mueser, K.T., Xie, H., Feldman, K., Shay, Y., Klein, L., & Wolfe, R. (2016). Cognitive remediation for vocational rehabilitation non-responders.  Schizophrenia Research. 175, 48-56.

McGurk, S.R., Mueser, K.T., Xie, H., Welsh, J.,  Kaiser, S., Drake, R.E., Becker, D., Bailey, E., Fraser, G.,  Wolfe, R., & McHugo, G.J. (2015). Cognitive Enhancement Treatment for People with Mental Illness Who Do Not Respond to Supported Employment:  A Randomized Controlled Trial. American Journal of Psychiatry. 172(9):852-61.

Milfort, R., Bond, G., McGurk, S.R., and Drake, R.E. (2015).  Barriers to Employment among Social Security Disability Insurance Beneficiaries in the Mental Health Treatment Study. Psychiatric Services, 66(12), 1350-2.

Mueser, K. T., Penn, D. L., Addington, J., Brunette, M. F., Gingerich, S., Glynn, S. M., Lynde, D. W., Gottlieb, J. D., Meyer-Kalos, P., Cather, C., McGurk, S. R., Saade, S., Robinson, D. G., Schooler, N. R., Rosenheck, R. A., & Kane, J. M. (2015).  The NAVIGATE program for first episode psychosis: Rationale, overview, and description of psychosocial components. Psychiatric Services, 66(7):852-61.

Lindenmayer, J.P., Khan, A., Lachman, H., McGurk, S.R., Goldring, A., Thanju, A., Kaushik, S. (2015).  COMT genotype and response to cognitive remediation in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 168(1-2):279-84.

Lord S.E., McGurk, S.R., Nicholson J., Carpenter-Song E.A., Tauscher, J.S., Becker, D.R., Swanson, S.J., Drake, R.E., and Bond, G.R. (2014). The potential of technology for enhancing individual placement and support supported employment. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 37(2):99-106.

Mueser, K.T., & McGurk, S.R. (2014).  Supported employment for persons with serious mental illness: Current status and future directions.  L’Encéphale, 40:S45-56.

Lindenmayer, J.P., McGurk, S.R., Khan, A., Saurabh, K., Thanju, A., Hoffman, L., Valdez, G., Wance, D., Herrmann, E. (2013).  Improving Social Cognition in Schizophrenia: A Pilot Intervention. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 39(3):507-17.

McGurk, S.R., Mueser, K.T., Mischel, R., Adams, R., Harvey, P.D., McClure, M.M., Look, A.E., Leung, W.W., Siever, L.J.  (2013). Vocational Functioning in Schizotypal and Paranoid Personality Disorders. Psychiatry Research, 5;210(2):498-504.

McGurk, S.R., Mueser, K.T., Covell, N.H., Ciccerone, K.D., Drake, R.E., Silverstein, S.M., Medalia, A., Myers, R., Bellack, A.S., Bell, M.D., and Essock, S.M. (2013).  Mental Health System Funding of Cognitive Enhancement Interventions for Schizophrenia: Summary and Update of the New York Office of Mental Health Expert Panel and Stakeholder Meeting. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal,36(3):133-45.

Bowie, C.R., McGurk, S.R., Mausbach, B., Patterson, T.L., Harvey, P.D. (2012).  Combined Cognitive Remediation and Functional Skills Training for Schizophrenia: Effects on Cognition, Functional Competence, and Real-World Outcomes. American Journal of Psychiatry, 169(7):710-8.

Ferron, J.C., Brunette, M.F., McGurk, S.R., Xie, H., Frounfelker, R., Cook, J.A., Jonikas, J.A., McHugo, G.J. (2012). Do Symptoms and Cognitive Problems Affect the Use and Efficacy of a Web-Based Decision Support System for Smokers with Serious Mental Illness? Journal of Dual Diagnosis, 8(4):315-325.

McGurk, S.R., Eack, S.M., Kurtz, M., Mueser, K.T. (2012). Cognitive remediation and psychosocial rehabilitation for individuals with severe mental illness.  Rehabilitation Research and Practice.

Mueser, K.T., & McGurk, S.R. (2011).  New tools for cognitive remediation and psychiatric rehabilitation of schizophrenia: Review of Integrated Psychological Therapy (IPT) for the Treatment of Neurocognition, Social Cognition, and Social Competency in Schizophrenia Patients by V. Roder, D.R. Müller, H.D. Brenner, & W.D. Spaulding.  PsychCritiques, 56, Release 16, Article 2.

Rapp, M.A., Schnaider-Beeri, M., Purohit, D.P., Reichenberg, A., McGurk, S.R., Haroutunian, V., Harvey, P.D. (2011).  Cortical neuritic plaques and hippocampal neurofibrillary tangels are related to dementia severity in elderly schizophrenia patients. Schizophrenia Research, 116(1):90-96.

Wykes, T., Huddy, V., Cellard, C., McGurk, S. R., & Czobar, P. (2011). A meta-analysis of cognitive remediation for schizophrenia: Methodology and effect sizes.  American Journal of Psychiatry, 168(5):472-85.

McGurk, S.R., Schiano, D., Mueser, K.T., & Wolfe, R. (2010). Implementation of the Thinking Skills or Work Program in a psychosocial clubhouse. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 33:190-9.

McGurk, S.R., Mueser, K.T., DeRosa, T., & Wolfe, R. (2009). Work, recovery, and comorbidity in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 35(2):319-335.

Nandlal, J.M., Bettazzoni, M., Priolo, T., McGurk, S.R., Flora, N., & Perrier, C. (2009). Augmented Education: Effectiveness of a new employment training and support model for people with mental illness. Canadian Council on Learning, 1:2-29.

Lindenmayer, J.P., Kaushik, S., Branch, C., McGurk, S.R., Khan, A., Li, H., Hoffman, L. (2008). Does computerized cognitive remediation change brain activation patterns in schizophrenia: fMRI pilot data.  European Psychiatry, 23 (S2):S127-S128.

Lindenmayer, J.P., McGurk, S.R., Mueser, K.T., Khan, A., Wance, D., Hoffman, L., Wolfe, R., & Xie, H. (2008). Cognitive remediation in persistently mentally ill inpatients: A randomized controlled trial.  Psychiatric Services, 59:241-247.

McGurk, S.R. and Mueser, K.T. (2008). Response to cognitive rehabilitation in older vs. younger persons with severe mental illness.  American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, 11:90-105.

McGurk, S.R., & Wykes, T. (2008). Cognitive remediation and vocational rehabilitation in schizophrenia.  Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 31:350-359.

DeRosa, T., McGurk, S.R., Mueser, K.T., Morin, I., & Wiesen, T. (2007). Clients’ perceptions of effective supports in vocational rehabilitation. Clinical Schiz & Related Disorders, 1:154-160.

Marshall, R., McGurk, S.R., Karow, C., & Kairy, T. (2007). Problem solving abilities of participants with and without diffuse neurologic involvement.  Aphasiology, 21:750-762.

McGurk, S.R., Mueser, K.T., Feldman K., Wolfe, R., & Pascaris, A. (2007). Cognitive training for supported employment: 2-3 year outcomes of a randomized controlled trial.  American Journal of Psychiatry, 164:437-441.

McGurk, S.R., Twamley, E.W., Sitzer, D., McHugo, G., & Mueser, K.T. (2007). A meta-analysis of cognitive remediation in schizophrenia. American Journal of Psychiatry, 164:1791-1802.

Harvey, P.D., Friedman, J.I., Bowie, C., Reichenberg A., McGurk, S.R., Parrella, M., White, L., & Davis, K.L. (2006).  Validity and stability of performance-based estimates of premorbid educational functioning in older patients with schizophrenia.  Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 28:178-192.

McGurk, S.R., & Mueser, K.T. (2006). Cognitive and clinical predictors of work outcome in clients with schizophrenia receiving supported employment services: 4-year follow-up.  Adm Policy Mental Health, 33:598-606.

McGurk, S.R, & Mueser, K.T. (2006). Strategies for coping with cognitive impairment in supported employment. Psychiatric Services, 57:1421-1429.

McGurk, S.R., Carter, C., Goldman, R., Green, M.F., Marder, S.R., Xie, H., Schooler, N.R., & Kane, J.M. (2005).  The effects of clozapine and risperidone on spatial working memory in schizophrenia. American Journal of Psychiatry, 162:1013-1016.

McGurk, S.R., Mueser, K.T., & Pascaris, A. (2005).  Cognitive training and supported employment for persons with severe mental illness: One year results from a randomized controlled trial.  Schizophrenia Bulletin, 31: 898-909.

McGurk, S.R., Coleman, T., Harvey, P., Reichenberg, A., White, L., Friedman, J., Parrella, M., & Davis, K.L. (2004). Working memory performance in poor outcome schizophrenia: relationship to age and executive functioning.  Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 26:153-160.

McGurk, S.R., Green, M.G., Wirshing, W.C., Ames, D., Marshall, B.D., & Marder, S.M. (2004).  Effects of antipsychotic and anticholinergic effects on two types of spatial memory in treatment-resistant schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 68:225-233.

McGurk, S.R, Mueser, K.T., Walling, D., Meltzer, H.Y., & Harvey, P.D. (2004). Executive functioning predicts mental health service use in outpatients with schizophrenia.  Mental Health Services Research, 6:185-188.

McGurk, S.R., & Mueser, K.T. (2004).  Cognitive functioning, symptoms, and work in supported employment: A review and heuristic model.  Schizophrenia Research, 70:147-173.

Mueser, K.T., & McGurk, S.R. (2004). Schizophrenia.  Lancet, 363:2063-2072.

McGurk, S.R., & Mueser, K.T. (2003). Cognitive functioning and symptomatology in unemployed, supported employed, and independently employed clients with severe mental illness.  Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 191:789-798, 2003.

McGurk, S.R., Mueser, K.T., Harvey, P.D., Marder, J., & LaPuglia, R. (2003). Cognitive and symptom predictors of work outcomes in clients with schizophrenia.  Psychiatric Services, 54:1129-1135.

McGurk, S.R., & Meltzer, H.Y. (2000). The role of cognition in vocational functioning in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 45:175-184.