The Center's research program integrates such disciplines as anthropology, economics, epidemiology, public health, law and policy science, psychology and sociology. The dedicated team of over fifty researchers and support staff of the Prevention Research Center continue working towards the advancement of prevention science for the purpose of reducing alcohol and drug misuse and their resulting problems.
Associate Research Scientist
Tamar Antin is a Research Scientist at the Prevention Research Center in Berkeley and has been working at PIRE since 2004. She received her doctoral degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley, a master's degree in applied anthropology from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a bachelor's degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.
Tamar is a qualitative researcher interested in critical perspectives in public health research. Her areas of interest include understanding how overlapping stigmas influence health, the unintended consequences of public health policies, the social meanings of tobacco, alcohol, and food choice for diverse groups of young adults, body image and the consequences of weight stigma. Currently, Tamar is funded by the National Cancer Institute and the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program in California. Her research team (@cphrg) investigates perceptions of tobacco denormalization approaches among Black young adults, tobacco-related stigma among sexual and gender minorities, and the pathways of use of e-cigarettes for adolescents and young adults. For more information about Tamar's research group, check out www.criticalpublichealth.org
Senior Research Scientist
Melina Bersamin is a Senior Research Associate at the Prevention Research Center in Berkeley. Dr. Bersamin received a BA in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1994 and completed her doctoral degree in Human Development at the University of California, Davis in 2001. Her research has focused on identifying the psycho-social predictors of adolescent risky behavior including early sexual initiation, casual sex, and alcohol abuse. More recently, she has examined the direct and indirect role of structural and contextual factors on adolescent sexual behavior. To that end, she has investigated the relationship between access and availability of family planning clinics and adolescent sexual behaviors, as well as the short and long-term impact of school-based health centers on adolescent family planning behaviors and use of reproductive health care services. She is also interested in better understanding the role of context on adolescent drinking behaviors and the use of ecological momentary assessment (EMA) as a tool to uncover the multiple factors that contribute to adolescent risky behavior.
Associate Research Scientist
Beth Bourdeau is an Associate Research Scientist, initially joining the Prevention Research Center in 2005 as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and joining the research staff in 2006.
She received her BS in Family Studies at the University of Arizona (1994) and her MS (1999) and PhD (2004) in Child Development and Family Studies at Purdue University.
Before coming to PRC, she worked for three years in a community-based organization in Tucson, Arizona, focusing on the evaluation of juvenile justice programs, sex education programs, and HIV/substance abuse prevention programs for Latino youth and men who have sex with men.
Her research activities focus on youth risk behaviors, including alcohol/drug use and sexual risk-taking, among ethnic minority populations. Currently, she is involved in two NIAAA-funded studies with Dr. Brenda Miller at PRC. For "Web-based Family Prevention of Alcohol and Risky Sex for Older Teens" she serves as Project Manager, contributing to the development of the sexual risk program component and serving as a data analyst. She serves as co-investigator for "Group-based Intervention for Alcohol, Drugs and Aggression among Club Patrons", with specific focus on young adult sexual risk-taking and sexual aggression in nightclubs.
Hilary Byrnes is currently a Research Scientist at the Prevention Research Center. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology, and she completed the postdoctoral program at PRC and University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health. She is interested in neighborhood influences on adolescent alcohol use and other problem behaviors.
Dr. Byrnes is currently the Principal Investigator for a project funded by NICHD (1R01HD078415-01A1, Byrnes, PI), called the Healthy Communities for Teens (HCT) project, that examines exposure to contextual risks and resources in spaces where teens spend time (activity spaces), and how these are related to teens' alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use and delinquency. Investigators from PRC and other institutions collaborate on the project, specifically Dr. Brenda Miller at PRC, Dr. Sarah Wiehe at Indiana University and Dr. Douglas Wiebe at the University of Pennsylvania.
She also collaborates on a project developing a web-based family prevention program for older teens’ alcohol use and risky sexual behavior, as well as on a study to provide social drinking groups at nightclubs with the necessary skills to identify vulnerability to high risk behaviors (excessive alcohol use, drug use, physical and/or sexual aggression, and unsafe exit behaviors) and to provide them with tools to protect their members against those risks.
Senior Research Scientist I
Raul Caetano, MD, MPH, PhD is a psychiatrist and epidemiologist who has worked in public health for about 35 years. A native of Brazil, Dr. Caetano’s MD is from the School of Medical Sciences, State University of Rio de Janeiro. His MPH (behavioral sciences) and his PhD (epidemiology) are from the University of California at Berkeley. He was Dean of the Southwestern School of Health Professions at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center from 2006 to 2014, and Regional Dean and Professor of Epidemiology, Dallas Regional Campus, University of Texas School of Public Health from 1998 to 2014. He has been a Senior Research Scientist at the Prevention Research Center of PIRE since January 2015. Dr. Caetano has written extensively about alcohol problems among U.S. ethnic minorities, especially among Hispanics. Other areas of research are psychiatric diagnosis and classifications, development of criteria for diagnosis of alcohol dependence, and the association between drinking and intimate partner violence. He has conducted numerous general population and clinical studies of alcohol problems among Whites, Blacks and Hispanics, and has more than 250 papers published in the peer reviewed literature. His research has been consistently supported by the NIH for over 30 years.
Dr. Caetano has also done international collaborative research with investigators in England, Argentina, Mexico, Spain and Brazil. He has served as a committee member for the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and as a member of the National Advisory Council of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as well as a consultant for various state and federal agencies. He has received numerous awards in recognition for his research. In 1994 he was elected Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology, and in 1999 he received a prestigious MERIT award from the NIH. More recently, in 2013, he received a Senior Investigator National Research Award, from the National Hispanic Science Network. In 2014 he received the University of Texas Houston Health Science Center President’s Research Scholar Award. In 2015 he was the recipient of the Betty Ford Award from the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA).
Senior Research Scientist
Carol Cunradi is a Senior Research Scientist at PIRE. She joined PRC in 1999 after completing her Ph.D in Epidemiology at the University of California – Berkeley School of Public Health. Prior to that, she earned her Master of Public Health degree (Epidemiology/Biostatistics), and completed a one-year NIAAA pre-doctoral fellowship in alcohol epidemiology at the Alcohol Research Group.
Carol’s research has focused on (1) drinking and intimate partner violence among couples, and (2) alcohol and tobacco use among working-class occupational groups. Most recently, Carol has been the Principal Investigator of an NIAAA-funded R01 study, "Neighborhoods, Alcohol Outlets and Intimate Partner Violence.” The goal of this study is to gain a deeper understanding of how environmental factors, such as alcohol outlet density and neighborhood social disadvantage, along with individual- and couple-level characteristics, increase risk for intimate partner violence. In terms of occupational studies, Carol is the PI of a 3-year project, “Barriers to Blue-Collar HMO Smoking Cessation Participation,” funded by the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP). The research is being conducted among bus operators and maintenance workers employed at a public transit agency in Oakland, with the goals of identifying the extent that aspects of the workplace social environment and structural factors serve as barriers to worker participation in free or low-cost HMO-based smoking cessation support activities, and determining how these barriers may be overcome.
Research Associate II
Laura Finan is a postdoctoral fellow at the Prevention Research Center. Prior to this appointment, she received a master’s degree in Psychological Science from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs in 2010 and a Ph.D. from the department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Delaware in 2016. Dr. Finan’s research has focused on examining familial and contextual influences on adolescent adjustment. She is particularly interested in adolescent substance use. Her past research has addressed the longitudinal and cross-developmental period influences of parent and sibling relationship experiences on adolescent depression and substance use behaviors. While at PRC, she aims to develop her research program to more closely evaluate patterns of adolescent drinking behavior and emphasize the variability in these patterns based on individual, psychosocial, and contextual factors.
Dr. Bridget Freisthler has been associated with the Prevention Research Center, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation since 2000. She received her A.M. (MSW equivalent) from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration in 1998 and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2003. Professor Freisthler’s research focuses on how environmental structure and processes impact child development and maltreatment. She is particularly interested in how the substance use environment (e.g., alcohol outlet density) is related to both parental substance use behaviors and the perpetration of child abuse and neglect. Dr. Freisthler incorporates the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), spatial statistics, and spatial econometrics in understanding how social problems vary across geographic areas, such as neighborhoods, and identifying those areas in a community which are at risk for developing or already experiencing high levels of social problems based on a growing understanding of neighborhood ecologies.
Currently she is an Assistant Professor at UCLA’s Department of Social Welfare and Principal Investigator of a NIAAA-funded study examining the role of alcohol use and alcohol outlet density on child maltreatment for a sample of young adult parents. Previously at PRC, she worked on two projects that utilized environmental prevention strategies to reduce alcohol-related problems (e.g., assaults, alcohol overdoses) in ethnic-minority communities and on college campuses.
Associate Research Scientist
Dr. Friese has a Ph.D. in sociology with specialization in family sociology and demography from the University of South Carolina. She was a NICHD postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Demography and Ecology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and is currently a NIAAA postdoctoral research fellow at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. She has more than 11 years of advanced experience in the field of survey research, evaluation, and program design and implementation and has extensive experience conducting research in school and family settings. She has collaborated on a number of school surveys designed to investigate alcohol and drug use, sexual behavior, as well as mental health. She has also been involved in content analyses of alcohol in television, as well as alcohol commercials, including the design of the qualitative analysis. She was the Associate Director of FAST National Training and Evaluation Center, the organization responsible for evaluating Families and Schools Together, a family-based model prevention program. Prior to that, she was the Associate Director of the Policy Institute for Family Impact Seminars, an organization dedicated to strengthening the connections between research and policymaking. Her current research interests include adolescent risk behaviors, including drinking and drug use, childhood obesity, and family-based prevention programs.
Research Associate I
Andrew Gaidus has been a Research Associate at the Prevention Research Center in Oakland since October 2013. Andrew received his BA in Environmental Policy from Williams College in 2011 and his Masters of Environmental Management from Yale University in 2013.
Andrew has a background in Quantitative Policy Analysis, specializing in GIS and Spatial Analysis; Statistics; and Economics. He is fluent in the Python programming language, which he uses to automate and aggregate data cleaning and data prep, data analysis, GIS, and data presentation. At PRC, Andrew manages and analyzes with very large (e.g., state and national), complex (e.g., hierarchical), and time series databases. These analyses are typically Bayesian statistical models that account for spatially-structured relationships (e.g., spatial autocorrelation).
Senior Research Scientist
Joel W. Grube received his AB in Psychology and Political Science from the University of California Berkeley (1971) and his MS (1975) and Ph.D. (1979) in Psychology from Washington State University. He was Coordinator of the Public Opinion Laboratory (1977-1978) and Assistant Director of the Social Research Center at Washington State University (1978-1981). Dr. Grube was a Senior Research Officer at the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin, Ireland (1981-1983) and a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Alcohol Studies at the Prevention Research Center and School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley (1985-1986). He has been a Senior Research Scientist at the Prevention Research Center of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation since 1986 and Director of the Center since 2003. He was a member of the Institute of Medicine/National Research Council Committee on Developing a Strategy to Reduce and Prevent Underage Drinking (2002-2003). He was elected Fellow of the American Psychological Association in 2009. His research broadly focuses on social-psychological and environmental factors influencing alcohol, tobacco, other drug use, and other problem behaviors among adolescents and young adults. His current research includes longitudinal studies on the effects of community, school, and family policies on drinking and smoking trajectories among youth; a study of a responsible retailing intervention to increase age-verification for purchase of alcoholic beverages; and a randomized community trial investigating the effects of family, school, and retailer interventions on access to and use of inhalants and other harmful legal products by youth.
Scientific Director, Senior Research Scientist
Dr. Paul J. Gruenewald has worked as a Senior Research Scientist at Prevention Research Center (PRC), Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), since 1987. His research interests focus upon studies of the social, economic and physical availability of alcohol, alcohol use and alcohol-related problems, evaluation methodologies appropriate to community-based preventive interventions, and geospatial analysis. Dr. Gruenewald is the Scientific Director of PRC, a research division of PIRE that focuses upon the development of sound scientific bases for the prevention of alcohol and drug problems. He also directs the Spatial Systems Group, a coordinating center for PIRE-wide work using Geographic Information Systems, Spatial Statistical Systems, and Spatial Dynamic Models. He has been a Principal or Co-Investigator on 24 funded research projects, he is currently Principal Investigator on the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Research Center Grant “Environmental Approaches to Prevention” and Co-Principal Investigator on a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to study the impacts of medical marijuana dispensaries on marijuana use, crime and related problems. He has received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) MERIT award in honor of his research achievements in studies of alcohol and violence. He currently serves as a National Advisory Council member to NIAAA.