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The NIAAA is the lead agency for U.S. research on the causes, consequences, prevention and treatment of alcohol use disorder and alcohol-related problems.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research (DEPR)

The Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research (DEPR) promotes and supports applied, translational, and methodological research on the epidemiology and prevention of hazardous alcohol consumption and related behaviors, alcohol use disorder, alcohol-related mortality and morbidity, and other alcohol-related problems and consequences. DEPR advances its mission by:

  • identifying scientific opportunities and gaps in current knowledge;
  • setting research priorities;
  • stimulating and supporting research, training, and career development;
  • encouraging collaborations among researchers (particularly those of diverse backgrounds), funding organizations, interest groups, and institutions;
  • monitoring trends and addressing disparities in alcohol use, misuse, and related problems; and
  • disseminating research findings through scientific and lay publications, public reports, and scientific conferences.

Consortia and Centers

Epidemiology of Alcohol Problems: Alcohol-Related Disparities Research Center (P50AA005595)

The Alcohol Research Group's Alcohol Research Center has contributed major conceptual and methodological advances for over 40 years. The Center studies the complex interactions between drinking patterns across the life-course, demographic characteristics, sociocultural and drinking contexts, community and policy factors, and alcohol-related problem and services outcomes, both in the general population and with attention to high-risk groups.

Environmental Approaches to Prevention Alcohol Research Center (P60AA006282)

The Prevention Research Center's long-running Alcohol Research Center takes a multidisciplinary approach to prevention research that emphasizes integration across theories from the biological to the behavioral and social sciences to enhance understanding of the causal impacts of drinking environments on drinking patterns and problems. Over the past four decades the Center has led research into the development of community-based approaches to the prevention of alcohol abuse and related problems, focused upon assessments of the impacts of local, state and national alcohol policies on alcohol sales and population outcomes related to use (e.g., motor vehicle crashes and violence), and developed social ecological models of youth and adult use and problems that elucidate the impacts of environmental conditions on youth, young adult, and adult problems related to alcohol.  These contributions have directed research toward the fundamental contributions that alcohol and other drug environments make to population and individual risks for heavy alcohol use, abuse, problems and alcohol use disorders.

Frequently Asked Questions

Whom should I contact within DEPR about my research proposal?

Answer:  A list of program officers and their areas of research focus appears in the next section. NIH's Matchmaker tool in RePORTER can also help you determine which program officer you might want to reach out to. The best way to contact a program officer whose interest aligns with your own is through email. Alternatively, if you would like to speak by phone, please indicate this in an email and a program officer will contact you soon thereafter. Having a clear understanding of what program officers can and can’t do for you will help you make the most of your interactions.

Does my research idea align with the mission and priorities of DEPR and NIAAA?

Answer: Applicants are encouraged to review NIAAA’s mission statement, research priorities and procedures, and Strategic Plan. Contact a program officer, either from the list in the next section or the scientific/research contact(s) listed in a particular NOFO to discuss your research interests before preparing your application. This will help you determine whether your proposal is of potential interest to NIAAA and will help you in preparing your grant application.

What is the process for applying for funding?

Answer: Application instructions appear in the NOFO. Two NIH infographics provide an overview on Funding Programs by Career Stage and Resources and Programs for NIH Grant Applicants. Detailed guidance, instructions, and forms are provided through the NIH Office of Extramural Research’s How to Apply – Application Guide. Additional information on the NIH grant process is available at Grants BasicsGrants Process OverviewNew and Early State Investigator Policies, and Center for Scientific Review’s Applicant Resources. NIH requires the disclosure of all sources of research support, foreign components, and financial conflicts of interest for senior/key personnel on research applications and awards. NIH is implementing a simplified framework for the peer review of the majority of competing research project grant applications, beginning with submissions with due dates of January 25, 2025.

The NIAAA Application Process page provides information and links about applying for grants and the peer review process, including details specific to NIAAA.

Are you doing human subjects research? Find useful links to the NIH policies and federal requirements in the One-Pager and learn more at Human Subjects Research, Clinical Trials, and Basic Experimental Studies Involving Humans as well as the 2023 NIH Data Management & Sharing Policy, the NIAAA Notice of Guidance for Data Management and Sharing Plans, and data sharing information for NIAAA-funded human subjects grants. For clinical trials, review NIAAA guidance and policies

Do you think my grant will get funded?

Answer: Funding for research grants is highly competitive. The first step to funding is to achieve an excellent score in peer review. For applications with top scores, other factors enter funding decisions as well, such as program priorities, portfolio balance, and availability of funds. Given current budget constraints, when preparing an application give careful consideration to the budget you are proposing. See NIAAA FundingNIAAA Funding Procedures, and the NIAAA Success Rate History and Funding Curves. Talk with a program officer to discuss how to improve your application’s chances of success in peer review and subsequent funding decisions.

Our Staff

Name Position Focus Area*
Ralph Hingson, Sc.D., M.P.H.
Bob Freeman, Ph.D.
Deputy Director
Firearms-related violence; HIV/AIDS; Impact of climate change; Sexual and gender minorities; Sexual assault and intimate partner violence; Sexual behavior; Society for Prevention Research Conference; Suicide
Tatiana Balachova, Ph.D.
Program Officer
Child abuse and neglect; Family-based prevention; Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD); Prevention among pregnant and postpartum people; Prevention among women; Screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment
Gregory Bloss, M.A., M.P.P.
Program Officer
Alcohol Research Center (P50, P60) grants; Alcohol Research Institutional Training program (T32) grants; Community-wide prevention trials; Economics of alcohol misuse; Effects and effectiveness of alcohol-related policies; Harms from drinking by others; Impaired driving; Social and economic burden of alcohol misuse; Systems science; Warning labels
I-Jen Castle, Ph.D.
Program Officer
Aging; Chronic disease; Life course approaches; Polysubstance use
Bradley Kerridge, Ph.D., M.A.
Program Officer
HIV/AIDS; Media, social media, and advertising; Mobile prevention; Non-college enrolled drinking in emerging adulthood; Sexual minorities
Sarika Parasuraman, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Program Officer
American Indian/Alaskan Native populations; College drinking; Policy; Social determinants of health
Beverly Ruffin, Ph.D.
Program Officer
Exercise and alcohol prevention; Pre-college drinking; Screening and brief interventions in underage population
Wenxing Zha, Ph.D.
Program Officer
Development and validation of measurement; Etiology of alcohol use disorder; Methodology for data collection and data analysis; Psychiatric comorbidity
Yesika Valdes Villapando, M.S.
Program Support

* Health disparities are an important research priority for DEPR. Awards with this focus area are distributed among program officers’ various portfolio categories rather than concentrated in the portfolio of one program officer specializing in that area.

Featured Publications

1. White AM, Castle IP, Powell PA, Hingson RW, Koob GF. Alcohol-Related Deaths During the COVID-19 Pandemic. JAMA. 2022 Mar 18:e224308. doi: 10.1001/jama.2022.4308.

2. Maisto SA, Freeman R, Bryant K; Syracuse University; National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcohol-related Behavioral Research and its Integration into Primary and Secondary HIV Preventive Interventions: Introduction. AIDS Behav. 2021 Dec;25(Suppl 3):233-236. doi: 10.1007/s10461-021-03420-8.

3. White AM, Castle IP, Hingson RW, Powell PA. Using Death Certificates to Explore Changes in Alcohol-Related Mortality in the United States, 1999 to 2017. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2020 Jan;44(1):178-187. doi: 10.1111/acer.14239.

4. Freeman RC. Guest Editor's Introduction. Special Issue on Recent Developments in Understanding and Preventing Alcohol-Related Sexual Assault, Violence Against Women. 2018 Sep;24(11):1259-1278. doi: 10.1177/1077801218787929.

5. Freeman R. Guest Editor's Introduction. Special issue on Advances in Understanding Alcohol-Related Interpersonal Violence, Violence Against Women. 2018 Aug;24(10):1115-1131. doi: 10.1177/1077801218781924.

6. Hingson R, Zha WSmyth D. Magnitude and Trends in Heavy Episodic Drinking, Alcohol-Impaired Driving, and Alcohol-Related Mortality and Overdose Hospitalizations Among Emerging Adults of College Ages 18-24 in the United States, 1998-2014. J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2017 Jul;78(4):540-548. doi: 10.15288/jsad.2017.78.540.

7. Hingson RWZha W, White AM. Drinking Beyond the Binge Threshold: Predictors, Consequences, and Changes in the U.S. Am J Prev Med. 2017 Jun;52(6):717-727. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2017.02.014.

8. Scott M. Commentary: Perspectives on Alcohol-Related Gene and Environment Interplay in Diverse Populations. Am J Addict. 2017 Aug;26(5):526-531. doi: 10.1111/ajad.12584.

9. Breslow RA, Castle IP, Chen CM, Graubard BI. Trends in Alcohol Consumption Among Older Americans: National Health Interview Surveys, 1997 to 2014. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2017 May;41(5):976-986. doi: 10.1111/acer.13365.

10. Hagan JF Jr, Balachova T, Bertrand J, Chasnoff I, Dang E, Fernandez-Baca D, Kable J, Kosofsky B, Senturias YN, Singh N, Sloane M, Weitzman C, Zubler J; Neurobehavioral Disorder Associated With Prenatal Alcohol Exposure Workgroup; American Academy of Pediatrics. Neurobehavioral Disorder Associated With Prenatal Alcohol Exposure. Pediatrics. 2016 Oct;138(4):e20151553. doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-1553.

11. Xuan Z, Naimi TS, Kaplan MS, Bagge CL, Few LR, Maisto S, Saitz R, Freeman R. Alcohol Policies and Suicide: A Review of the Literature. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2016 Oct;40(10):2043-2055. doi: 10.1111/acer.13203.

12. Freeman RC. Toward Development of Enhanced Preventive Interventions for HIV Sexual Risk among Alcohol-Using Populations: Confronting the 'Mere Pause from Thinking'. AIDS Behav. 2016 Jan;20 Suppl 1:S1-18. doi: 10.1007/s10461-015-1179-7.

Currently-Funded Research

View currently-funded research for program details in NIH RePORTER.

Primary Areas of Research

DEPR supports a wide range of epidemiologic and prevention research on alcohol-related behaviors and outcomes, as well as studies to advance the tools and methods available to conduct such research. Prospective grant applicants are urged to consult with a program officer (see above) early in the process of developing an application to determine the prospects that a given project is consistent with the mission and research priorities of NIAAA and DEPR.

Alcohol Policy Information System

The Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS) is an online data resource that provides authoritative, detailed, and comparable information on alcohol-related policies at the state and federal levels in the United States based on primary legal research on the statutes and regulations. APIS was developed by DEPR to facilitate research on the effects and effectiveness of alcohol-related public policies. APIS provides detailed coverage, including exact effective dates and legal citations, for 36 specific policy topics in 10 categories. For every policy topic, APIS provides detailed comparison tables showing both up-to-date policy information and policy changes over time with exact effective dates. APIS also provides descriptive overviews, maps and charts, summaries of relevant federal law, and detailed explanatory notes. APIS also covers laws and regulations addressing cultivation, sale, and use of recreational (i.e., non-medical) cannabis in states that have legalized these activities. Special coverage is also provided of state policies affecting alcohol availability adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Surveillance Reports and Epidemiologic Resources

Surveillance Reports periodically examine trends in apparent alcohol consumption, underage drinking among youth ages 12–20 years, and liver cirrhosis mortality in the United States. Alcohol Epidemiologic Data Reference Manuals are statistical compendia of alcohol-related data useful to researchers and others interested in alcohol problems. The Alcohol Epidemiologic Data Directory provides a listing of surveys and other relevant data suitable for epidemiologic research on alcohol. Most data sets described in this document are national in scope. In some cases, however, select specialized data sets may be included. Information on the availability of and access to the data sets is provided.

Last reviewed April 2024

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