My research is on the treatment of drug abuse, especially tobacco dependence, and better understanding the processes of change through randomized clinical trials and related studies. I am especially interested in the treatment of comorbidities in special populations, and the complexities that comorbidities introduce into treatment. My current studies reflect these interests. Two ongoing studies focus on extended treatment of tobacco: (1) a study of extended behavioral relapse prevention and bupropion treatment for chronic smokers; (2) a study of extended, age-specific relapse prevention and nicotine replacement treatment (NRT) for older smokers that studies both efficacy and cost-effectiveness. My group is also collaborating with others in the department to study the pharmacogenetics in tobacco dependence treatment.
I currently direct an NIH-funded Center Grant “Treatment of Complex Patients: Emphasis on Nicotine.” The Center sponsors educational events, a pilot studies fund, and a competitive grant program for junior investigators. It also provides statistical support to a variety of investigators doing work in drug abuse. The Center has five scientific components: (1) a study of smoking treatment in HIV care clinics; (2) a study of smoking treatment in the context of alcohol treatment; (3) a study of changes in organizational knowledge, attitude and beliefs about smoking treatment in community organizations as a function of participation in smoking treatment research; (4) a statistical component that studies statistical techniques relevant to drug abuse treatment research; (5) a developmental component that supports a pilot studies program for postdoctoral trainees and junior faculty, and a competitive funding program for junior faculty.
I have strong interests in training. I currently direct our NIDA-funded Postdoctoral Training Program in Drug Abuse Treatment and Services Research, and mentor psychiatric residents interested in behavioral and pharmacological treatment of drug dependence. I also have been active in mentoring faculty. In June 2003, I was awarded the George Sarlo Prize for Excellence in Teaching from the UCSF Department of Psychiatry.