Dr. Melissa Abadi is a Senior Research Scientist and Center Director at the PIRE-Louisville Center. She received her Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Kentucky in 2006 and joined PIRE that same year as an Associate Research Scientist and lead evaluator and technical assistance provider for 30 community anti-drug coalitions on a SAMHSA-funded SPF-SIG (Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant) in Tennessee. Since then, she has successfully managed and directed field research in various areas of health, effectively collaborating with multidisciplinary research teams and state agencies, law enforcement, coalitions, schools and universities, medical offices, hospitals, and health agencies. Dr. Abadi’s key research focus is on adolescent substance use including tobacco/nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs, as well as the influence of social-environmental factors and situational contexts on use of these substances.
Currently, Dr. Abadi is PI on a NIDA-funded R03 (1R03DA041899-01A1) to assess within-persons and between-persons associations of e-cigarette and dual tobacco/nicotine use among youth (ages 13-17) in Kentucky, a critically important population when considering public health impact of e-cigarette use and needed FDA regulation, especially since e-cigarette use rates in Kentucky are three times higher among adolescents than the national average. Abadi is also a Project Director on a SAMHSA-funded Drug-Free Communities grant for Coffee County Anti-Drug Coalition (CCADC), which includes an annual county-wide survey of about 2,000 students in grades 6, 8, 10, and 12 in rural Tennessee and asks questions about a wide variety of substance use behaviors, beliefs, and intentions in order to determine prevalence and intervention impact. She is also lead evaluator of CCADC’s Count It! Lock It! Drop It! Campaign, which assesses the impact of the implementation of a statewide prescription drug abuse campaign in reducing access and increasing perceptions of harm related to prescription drug misuse. Finally, Abadi is a Project Director and Co-Investigator on an NIDCR U01 RCT evaluating an oral health promotion strategy among persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities in group homes Kentucky (U01DE025833).