Turning great ideas into healthier communities

Lee Ann Kaskutas, DrPH

Associate Scientist

Lee Ann Kaskutas is a senior scientist at PHI's Alcohol Research Group (ARG) and the director of training for its National Alcohol Research Center. Since starting at ARG in 1990, Kaskutas' overarching professional interest has been to find solutions to alcohol-related problems that do not require professionally trained individuals for implementation.

Kaskutas has conducted two NIH-funded clinical trials that compared the costs and outcomes of clinical and social model treatment programs. She is studying the long-term Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) "careers" of treated and untreated substance abusers; and she co-designed an intervention to open dialogue with pregnant women regarding how much they drink.

An adjunct professor at the University of California (UC) at Berkeley's School of Public Health, Kaskutas co-instructs the longstanding Advanced Alcohol Research Seminar. She also serves as principal investigator of the NIAAA-funded Graduate Research Training on Alcohol Problems.

In 2008, Kaskutas received the Distinguished Academic Partner Award from UC Berkeley's School of Public Health. The American Society of Addiction Medicine Medical Scientific Conference honored her with the 2007 R. Brinkley Smithers Distinguished Scientist Award. In 1998, she received the Research Society on Alcoholism's Young Investigator Award.

Kaskutas holds a doctorate in public health from UC Berkeley.

Impact of Services on Problem Drinking Trajectories

This study looks at patterns of alcohol consumption and related problems over a seven-year trajectory, in treated and untreated problem drinkers from the same community. Drinking problems are increasingly viewed as chronic, cyclical and relapsing. The study addresses the roles that a wide spectrum of health and human services plays over the trajectory.

National Alcohol Research Center Pilot Studies

The National Alcohol Research Center project provides funding for new investigators to conduct pilot studies with preliminary data for independent grant applications.  Three pilot studies have been funded to date. Awardees include Madhabika Nayak, Kate Karriker-Jaffe, and Priscilla Martinez.  Additional funding will be made available in future years of the award.

 

What Is Recovery?

Alcoholics who no longer drink, and are trying to pursue an improved way of living/being, say that they are "in recovery," and the term is widely used in alcohol use research. Yet despite its seeming centrality, there is no agreed upon definition of the term within the alcohol literature. This study aims to develop a Recovery Scale that is based on how people who have been through the experience of recovery define the term, and to correlate thresholds for which the probability of continued abstinence is increased.