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NIAAA Staff Profile


National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Branch Chief, Treatment, Health Services, and Recovery Branch (THSRB)

Laura E. Kwako, Ph.D.

image of Laura Kwako

6700B Rockledge Drive
Room 1326
Bethesda, MD 20892-6902

Focus Area

Behavioral treatments; Health care systems; Precision medicine; Recovery.; SBIRT; Service integration; Treatment services research, including availability, utilization, and quality

Biographical Summary

Dr. Laura Kwako is chief of the Treatment, Health Services, & Recovery Branch (THSRB) in the Division of Treatment and Recovery at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.  THSRB supports research in broad categories including health services, behavioral health treatments and mechanisms of behavior change, recovery, translational research, and innovative methods and technologies applied across the continuum of care.  Other areas of interest include topics focusing on special emphasis and underserved populations, including NIH-designated health disparity populations, individuals with co-occurring disorders, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).  During Dr. Kwako’s time at NIAAA, she has been involved in development of the Healthcare Professional’s Core Resource on Alcohol, as well as the Addictions Neuroclinical Assessment.  Dr. Kwako received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Catholic University of America and completed postdoctoral clinical training at Springfield Hospital Center in Maryland, specializing in treatment for addiction and trauma-related disorders in an inpatient, primarily forensic, setting.  Dr. Kwako is licensed in Washington, DC and credentialed at the NIH Clinical Research Center as a clinical psychologist. 

Selected Publications

Kwako, L.E., Schwandt, M.L., Ramchandani, V.A., Diazgranados, N., Koob, G.F., Volkow,  N.D., Blanco, C., and Goldman, D. (2019). Neurofunctional domains derived from deep behavioral phenotyping in alcohol addiction. American Journal of Psychiatry.

Kwako, L.E., Momenan, R., Litten, R.Z., Koob, G.F., & Goldman, D. Addictions neuroclinical assessment: A neuroscience-based framework for addictive disorders. (2016). Biological Psychiatry, 80, 179-189.

Kwako, L. E., Spagnolo, P. A., Schwandt, M. L., Thorsell, A., George, D. T., Momenan, R., Rio, D. E., Huestis, M., Anizan, S., Concheiro, M., Sinha, R., & Heilig, M.  (2015). The corticotropin releasing hormone-1 (CRH1) receptor antagonist pexacerfont in alcohol dependence: A randomized controlled experimental medicine study. Neuropsychopharmacology, 40, 1053-1063.

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