Research Team

Photo of  Kelly  Alanis-Hirsch Ph.D Kelly Alanis-Hirsch Ph.D

Kelly Alanis-Hirsch, Ph.D. is a Project Coordinator at the Treatment Research Institute. She recently completed her doctoral degree in Educational Psychology at The University of Texas at Austin where her dissertation proposed and evaluated a methodology for revising an existing self-administered survey instrument used extensively with clients in substance abuse treatment, with implications for the development of new self-administered surveys. The methodology represented a blending of quantitative and qualitative processes and ultimately led to the production of an instrument that appears promising. In addition to her doctoral work, Dr. Alanis-Hirsch worked as research assistant for the Addiction Research Institute, Center for Social Work Research, at The University of Texas at Austin, and held various positions in a specialized substance abuse treatment facility in Texas. Her current research interests include survey and instrument development, cultural and contextual issues specific to substance abuse populations, and the use of medications for assisting in the treatment of substance use/abuse disorders.

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Photo of  Lois  Benishek Ph.D Lois Benishek Ph.D

Lois Benishek, Ph.D. is a licensed counseling psychologist. Her research involves counselor training, treatment fidelity, and the acceptability of adaptations of empirically-supported interventions by substance abuse treatment programs. She has a special interest in multicultural issues. Dr. Benishek is an experienced counselor and clinical supervisor who has a special interest in multicultural issues. She has also been employed as the director of Temple University’s masters-level counseling psychology program. Dr. Benishek has served on the editorial board of Journal of Counseling and Development and is presently a member of the Association for Women in Psychology Board of Directors/Implementation Collective.

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Photo of  Adam C. Brooks Ph.D Adam C. Brooks Ph.D

Adam C. Brooks, Ph.D. is a Research Scientist working on continuous care and adaptive treatment protocols, along with performance-based contracting strategies. Dr. Brooks has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology with a specialization in marital and family therapy from St. John’s University. Prior to joining TRI, he was at the Columbia University Division on Substance Abuse where he treated substance abusing patients using a variety of empirically validated treatments. He is an expert supervisor in Motivational Interviewing, and part of a team at Columbia developing a teleconferenced form of supervision for distance learning of the technique. His research interests include computer-assisted treatment and training interventions, use of phone technology in treatment and recovery monitoring, and workforce development in the use of evidence-based practices.

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Photo of  John  Cacciola Ph.D., Director John Cacciola Ph.D., Director

John Cacciola, Ph.D., Director Dr. Cacciola is an expert in the assessment of substance abuse behaviors and co-occurring problems. He has published extensively on instrument development and improvement in the addictions field, including work to improve the summary indices of the Addiction Severity Index, field tests of new instruments and procedure modifications, and work on the newest versions of the ASI and TSR. Dr. Cacciola’s work on instrument development has recently been extended to the design and pilot testing of new protocols that monitor patient progress while in treatment.

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Photo of  Mady  Chalk Ph.D., Director Mady Chalk Ph.D., Director

Mady Chalk, Ph.D., Director: Dr. Chalk has more than twenty years experience in addiction and mental health treatment, policy and research. In the federal government she was Director of the Division for Services Improvement in the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment in SAMHSA, and for a period of time was Director of its Office of Managed Care. Chalk is an expert in the organization and financing of treatment systems in both the public and private sectors – and in the policies that govern treatment delivery. She was architect of the Target Cities and the State-wide Screening, Brief Interventions and Referral to Treatment programs. With the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as partner, she led the Network for Improvement of Addiction Treatment, the first program to promote better treatment access and broader service availability through implementation of best practices. She was also responsible for linking the Addiction Technology Transfer Centers with NIH to foster dissemination and adoption of evidence based practices in the treatment field.

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Photo of  Brenda  Curtis Ph.D Brenda Curtis Ph.D

Brenda Curtis, Ph.D is a Health Communication Research Scientist at the Treatment Research Institute. She received her Masters of Science in Public Health from the University of Illinois and her Doctoral degree from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Her principal research interests have been in the fields of Health Communication and Public Health with a special interest in adolescent and vulnerable populations. She is very interested in providing scientifically tailored health information that is evidence based. She attempts to translate research into programs that allow for the building of individual and community capacity. In her recent research, she developed a web-based smoking cessation intervention program and conducted a randomized controlled trial to assess the relative effectiveness of tailoring the intervention content to particular demographic (age, gender, ethnicity), and also functional behavioral attributes of the individuals in the target population. That is, the computer used particular presentations of the same message that were individually designed to attributes known to be important in gaining attention and shaping behavior. She found that this relatively simple and inexpensive procedure was able to improve intention to quit by over 19%. Dr. Curtis is continuing to explore this line of research and recently deployed a substance use screening and brief intervention web-based interactive program she developed into a New York school district. Dr. Curtis is also working on innovative ways to increase enrollment and retention of hard to reach populations into substance use prevention programs.

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Photo of  Karen Leggett Dugosh Ph.D Karen Leggett Dugosh Ph.D

Karen Leggett Dugosh, Ph.D. is a Research Scientist in the Law and Ethics Section. She holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Experimental Psychology from the University of Texas at Arlington. In addition to providing methodological and statistical expertise to TRI scientists, Dr. Dugosh is involved in research that examines ethical issues surrounding research participation and is particularly interested in the construct of coercion. Her current research focuses on the development of an assessment to measure coercive pressures to participate in research that is tailored to the doubly vulnerable population of substance abusing offenders.

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Photo of  David S. Festinger Ph.D David S. Festinger Ph.D

David S. Festinger, Ph.D. is the Director of TRI’s Section on Law and Ethics Research and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Dr. Festinger holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, Masters Degrees in both counseling and clinical health psychology, and is a licensed clinical psychologist. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the American Psychological Association’s Division of psychopharmacology. Dr. Festinger’s research has focused primarily on empirically isolating the active mechanisms of drug courts, developing empirically based dispositional procedures for substance abusing offenders, and bringing experimental research methods to bear on major ethical questions facing research participants in substance abuse research. Dr. Festinger has served as Principal Investigator and Co-Principal Investigator on numerous grants from the National Institute of Drug Abuse and has authored numerous articles and chapters, as well as a widely used introductory text on research methods.

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Photo of  Övgü  Kaynak Ph.D. Övgü Kaynak Ph.D.

Övgü Kaynak, Ph.D. is an Associate Research Scientist at TRI and Data Analyst and Scientific Writer for the Center. Dr. Kaynak has extensive research experience related to psychosocial risk factors associated with negative outcomes (i.e. drug use and aggression) in children and adolescents. She is particularly interested in the combined effects of social and individual risk factors on drug use. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Pennsylvania State University, a Master of Science of Education in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Development from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Doctorate degree in Public Health with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Health from Temple University. For the Parents Center, Dr. Kaynak analyzes data and prepares manuscripts that focus on parenting and adolescent substance use problems. Findings from published manuscripts are then translated into tools that parents can use when addressing the substance use problems of their adolescents.

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Photo of  Jack  Kemp M.S Jack Kemp M.S

Jack Kemp, M.S. is Senior Policy Associate at the Treatment Research Institute and former Director of Substance Abuse Services for the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH). He has over 34 years of experience in the field of addictions, mainly in senior management positions in Delaware and New York. As SSA Director in Delaware, he redesigned and restructured the statewide substance abuse treatment system, and introduced a performance based contracting model that connects payment to performance. He served as Executive Leader for the Robert Wood Johnson/CSAT Network for the Improvement of Treatment (NIATx) State Pilot to improve access and retention in treatment throughout the state, and for the RWJF Advancing Recovery grant to implement evidence based practices. Mr. Kemp also is the Principal Investigator, in collaboration with TRI, for a NIDA grant on Statewide Science-Based Concurrent Recovery Monitoring in Delaware, and formerly served as the Director of the Treatment Access Center (TASC), overseeing a statewide program that provided liaison between the substance abuse treatment and criminal justice systems. He is a member of the Washington Circle group, serving on its Policy and Public Sector committees. His educational background includes an M.S. degree in Educational Counseling from the University of Scranton, and post-graduate training at the Alfred Adler Institute of Psychoanalysis in New York City. He is currently enrolled in the MALS (Master of Arts in Liberal Studies) graduate program at the University of Delaware.

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Photo of  MaryLouise  Kerwin Ph.D MaryLouise Kerwin Ph.D

MaryLouise Kerwin, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst with specialized experience in parent training, child maltreatment, and pediatric psychology. She received her doctoral degree from the University of Notre Dame and completed her clinical training at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine/The Kennedy Krieger Institute. Her professional experience includes extensive training and experience in the design and delivery of behavioral treatments and interventions for pediatric problems. Kerwin is a recipient of a National Research Service Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse awarded to the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine to fund training with Dr. Kimberly Kirby at the Treatment Research Institute. Through her three-year collaboration with TRI, Dr. Kerwin has developed expertise in the design and delivery of community reinforcement interventions for women with drug addiction and family members of individuals with drug and alcohol problems. In addition, she has been investigating the use of contingency management interventions delivered individually and in a group format.

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Photo of  Kimberly C. Kirby Ph.D Kimberly C. Kirby Ph.D

Kimberly C. Kirby, Ph.D. is a psychologist with specialization in behavior analysis and behavioral pharmacology. She received her doctorate from the University of Kansas and completed postdoctoral training at Duke University and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and on the Executive Committee for the division on Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse. She is also a full member of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence and the Association for Behavior Analysis. She has focused her research on behavioral treatments that improve motivation for recovery and addressed issues related to drug abuse and the family, and the involvement of religious communities in addiction recovery. She has more than 70 publications in professional books, meeting proceedings, and journals.

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Photo of  Douglas B. Marlowe J.D., Ph.D Douglas B. Marlowe J.D., Ph.D

Douglas B. Marlowe, J.D., Ph.D. is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and former Director of the Division of Law & Ethics Research at the Treatment Research Institute (TRI). A lawyer and clinical psychologist by background, Dr. Marlowe has received numerous state and federal research grants to study the role of coercion in drug abuse treatment, the effects of drug courts and other specialized programs for drug-abusing offenders, and behavioral treatments for drug abusers and criminal offenders. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA) and has received proficiency certification in the treatment of psychoactive substance use disorders from the APA College of Professional Psychology. He has published over 100 professional articles and chapters on the topics of crime and drug abuse and is on the editorial boards of the journals, the Drug Court Review and Criminal Justice & Behavior. From 2004 through 2007, Dr. Marlowe was a member of NADCP’s Board of Directors on which he served as Chair of the Research Committee and the Drug Policy Reform Committee.

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James McKay Ph.D

James McKay, Ph.D. Dr. McKay is a Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Scientific Director of the Penn Center for Studies of Addiction. Dr. McKay received a Ph.D. from Harvard University, and completed a clinical psychology internship at McLean Hospital and a postdoctoral fellowship in treatment outcome research at Brown University. He is the recipient of an Independent Scientist (K02) Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as well as a number of research grants from NIDA and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Dr. McKay is the author or coauthor of over 100 peer reviewed journal articles and 21 book chapters. His work has included evaluations of continuing care treatments for alcohol and cocaine use disorders, comparisons of outcomes following inpatient and outpatient treatments, evaluations of ASAM and other patient placement criteria, studies of the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of enhanced treatments for substance abuse, and the identification of factors over time that predict relapse following substance abuse treatment. Dr. McKay has also conducted studies on several methodological issues, including whether randomized and nonrandomized treatment comparisons yield similar results. His empirical and review papers on continuing care and factors in relapse are widely cited and have been influential in the field. He is a member of NIDA’s Health Services Grant Review Committee, a member of the Scientific Panel of Advisors, Butler Center for Research, Hazelden Foundation, and a Consultant to the Caron Foundation. Dr. McKay’s current research efforts are focused on the development and evaluation of flexible approaches to the management of addiction as a chronic disorder, including the use of the telephone to provide extended continuing care.

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Photo of  Amy A. Mericle Ph.D Amy A. Mericle Ph.D

Amy A. Mericle, Ph.D. Dr. Mericle received Bachelor’s of Arts and Master’s of Social Work degrees from the University of Michigan. Prior to receiving her doctoral degree from the University of Chicago, she worked as a research assistant at the Northwestern University Psycho-Legal Studies Program. Dr. Mericle’s dissertation examined HIV/AIDS risk behavior among participants in the Northwestern Juvenile Project, a longitudinal study led by Linda Teplin, Ph.D. examining the mental health and substance abuse service needs and service use of detained adolescents. After completing her doctoral degree, Dr. Mericle accepted a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California’s San Francisco Treatment Research Center where she worked with Barbara Havassy, Ph.D. examining violence and social networks among individuals with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders. Dr. Mericle is currently working with Deni Carise, Ph.D. and is Principal Investigator on TRI’s Detection, Advice, Referral To Services (DARTS) project. Her research interests include co-occurring disorders and complications of substance abuse, social networks and treatment seeking, and treatment linkage among disparate systems of care. Dr. Mericle is a member (in training) of the College for Problems of Drug Dependence and the American Public Health Association. She holds a diplomate in measurement from the Institute of Objective Measurement.

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Photo of  Kathleen  Meyers Ph.D. Kathleen Meyers Ph.D.

Kathleen Meyers, Ph.D. has more than 25 years of clinical research experience. She is a recognized leader in the assessment and treatment of adolescent substance use disorders (SUD), delinquency and co-morbidity and is the author of the Comprehensive Adolescent Severity Inventory (CASI), a multidimensional assessment instrument for youth with co-morbidity that is widely used throughout the United States, Canada and abroad. The CASI was chosen to be lead instrument in the Common Assessment Battery for all adolescent-funded studies of the National Institute of Drug Abuse’s Clinical Trials Network and the National Criminal Justice Drug Abuse Treatment Research Studies (CJ-DATS) Network. She has served on numerous expert panels sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), as well as on peer review, institutional review and editorial review boards. Dr. Meyers has published extensively, including as first author of an invited chapter for the Adolescent Mental Health Initiative’s Treating and Preventing Adolescent Mental Health Disorders: What We Know and What We Don’t Know (named the best book in clinical medicine by the Association of American Publishers). In 2004, Dr. Meyers received the Research Award of Excellence from the Caron Foundation. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology & Statistics from Rutgers University, a Master of Science in Evaluation and Applied Research from Hahnemann University and a Doctorate degree in Educational Psychology from Temple University.

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Photo of  Yukiko  Washio Ph.D. Yukiko Washio Ph.D.

Yukiko Washio, Ph.D., BCBA-D is an Associate Research Scientist at TRI. Dr. Washio has been trained in behavioral science, especially in treating substance dependent populations using voucher-based incentives. She is primarily interested in substance-dependent pregnant women and the outcomes of treated mothers and offspring. She graduated from Keio University in Tokyo, Japan with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Experimental Psychology, Western Michigan University with a Master of Arts degree in Psychology, and University of Nevada, Reno with a Doctorate degree in Psychology. She did her postdoctoral training at the University of Vermont. For the Parents Translational Research Center (Center), Dr. Washio oversees day-to-day conduct of the randomized controlled trial on parents whose children use alcohol and illicit substance and writes manuscripts on relevant topics. She seeks to develop a research program according to the Center mission, parenting and substance abuse, combined with her primary research interest.

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Photo of  Ken  Winters Ph.D Ken Winters Ph.D

Ken Winters, Ph.D. is the director of the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research, a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota, and a Senior Scientist with the Treatment Research Institute, Philadelphia, PA. He received his B.A. from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. in psychology (Clinical) from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His primary research interests are the assessment and treatment of adolescent drug abuse. Dr. Winters has published numerous research articles in this area, and has received several research grants from the National Institute of Health (NIH) and various foundations. He currently directs grants funded by NIH to study the effectiveness of brief interventions with drug abusing adolescents. He is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse and the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, and he was also the lead editor for two Treatment Improvement Protocol Series published by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (SAMHSA) that focused on adolescent drug abuse assessment and treatment. Dr. Winters is a consultant to many organizations, including the Hazelden Foundation, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, the Partnership for Drug-Free America, World Health Organization, and the Mentor Foundation (an international drug abuse prevention organization).

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