Tom Greenfield is scientific director of the Alcohol Research Group (ARG), in the Public Health Institute, Emeryville, CA, with ARG involving about 15 NIH-funded scientists. His most recent NIAAA grants have been on alcohol’s harms to others in US adults (recently completed, in collaboration with Dr. Kate Karriker-Jaffe) and a multinational equivalent (ongoing with Professors Sharon Wilsnack and Kim Bloomfield as multiple PIs). These projects emphasize the relevance of alcohol’s secondhand effects for alcohol policy.
After earlier work on mental health and services research, Tom’s career has been largely built on alcohol epidemiology and policy studies. He directed the NIAAA-supported Center on the Epidemiology of Alcohol Problems for 15 years from 1999 to 2015 and continues to codirect its National Alcohol Surveys, again with Dr. Karriker-Jaffe.
Over his career, Tom has led numerous federal grants, including topics such as an RCT comparing outcomes of a consumer-staffed alternative to hospitalization for people with serious mental illness in psychiatric crises; alcohol and mortality (two R01s); cross-national comparisons of US and Mexican drinking patterns and problems; risk of HIV infection in Goa India. He also led a study to improve self-reported alcohol consumption measures using prospective diaries and transdermal alcohol sensors and continue to study drinking patterns involving high intensity drinking. From these and other research projects, he has published over 230 peer-reviewed articles as well as contributing numerous monographs and chapters.
Tom came to this country to study astronomy (Caltech BS, Hons) and space/planetary science (MIT SM), but then switched to clinical psychology (University of Michigan, PhD). He recently has been giving back to Caltech as a member of the Chair’s Council in the Division of Geological & Planetary Sciences, and believes that epidemiology and astronomy are both observational sciences at root; both are pushed forward by advances in measurement; each develops and tests theory and, increasingly, undertakes dynamic simulations calibrated to real data. Tom and Bill Kerr (ARG Sub-PI) are co-investigators on one such simulation-calibration project on alcohol with international colleagues led by researchers at the University of Sheffield, UK.
In 2016, Tom was honored to receive the American public Health Association Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drug Section’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and in June, 2019 he was co-winner of the Jellinek Memorial Award for Alcohol Studies.