Turning great ideas into healthier communities

Nina Mulia, DrPH, MPH

Nina Mulia, DrPH, is a scientist at PHI's Alcohol Research Group (ARG). She is principal investigator of a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)-funded study examining racial/ethnic disparities in access to appropriate alcohol treatment services and is co-director of the ARG National Alcohol Research Center's Component on Race/Ethnicity, Socioeconomic Disadvantage and Disparities in Alcohol Problems.

Although her research has spanned various areas, including community-based HIV prevention with drug users, health and social services access, substance abuse in minority and immigrant populations, and women in poverty, Mulia's ongoing interest is in the effects of social and economic disadvantage on health and well-being. Her most recent work examines disparities in alcohol treatment access and outcomes, interactive effects of neighborhood- and individual-level socioeconomic status on harmful drinking patterns, and differential impacts of the economic recession on alcohol problems in the general population.

Mulia received her bachelor's degree from the Johns Hopkins University, her master's in public health policy and administration from the University of Michigan, and her doctorate in community health sciences from the University of California, Berkeley. She joined ARG through the organization's NIAAA-funded postdoctoral fellowship program.

Differential Effects of Alcohol-Related Policy Across U.S. Population Subgroups

It is known that broad, evidence-based public health interventions do not always benefit all segments of the population. In some cases, such interventions result in unintended consequences, creating even greater health disparities. While alcohol policy interventions are a vital tool for reducing excessive drinking and alcohol problems, they have not often been used to mitigate alcohol-related disparities. Focusing on important upstream and downstream policies that seek to transform the alcohol environment and access to treatment services, this research component aims to determine which policies are most and least effective for different populations. The resulting information will help policymakers weigh specific policy interventions and combinations of interventions to improve population health and reduce disparities.

Effects of Disadvantage and Protective Resources on Alcohol-Related Disparities

The primary objective of this study is to describe and explain racial disparities in both heavy drinking and alcohol problems at equivalent levels of consumption. The conceptual approach recognizes that racial/ethnic groups in the U.S. are differentially exposed to economic, social and neighborhood disadvantages, and draws on recent theoretical work suggesting that cumulative exposure to disadvantage may play a significant role in understanding health disparities.

Racial Disparities in Access to Appropriate Alcohol Treatment Services

This study strives to identify gaps in the delivery of appropriate alcohol treatment services to racial/ethnic minority populations, and to better understand how disparities in access to appropriate care impact these groups' chances for recovery from alcohol problems. The project is based on secondary analyses of NIAAA's National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.

State Parity Laws May Explain Why Federal Policy Aimed at Increasing Access to Alcohol Treatment Services Shows Modest Effect (2019)

In the US, approximately 16 million people have an alcohol use disorder and heavy drinking is a leading cause of preventable death. However, a...

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