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.

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. 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.

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

Answer: Contact a program officer, either from the list in the next section or the scientific/research contact(s) listed in a particular FOA 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 FOA. 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 the Center for Scientific Review’s Applicant Resources.

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? Learn about the NIH policies and federal requirements at Human Subjects Research, Clinical Trials, and Basic Experimental Studies Involving Humans as well as the NIAAA data sharing initiative to create a data repository of NIAAA-funded studies that include human subjects. 

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.
Mike Hilton, Ph.D.
Deputy Director
Conference grants; Genetics and social environment
Tatiana Balachova, Ph.D.
Program Officer
Family-based prevention; Prevention among women of child-bearing age; Reproductive and perinatal epidemiology; Screening and brief interventions
Gregory Bloss, M.A., M.P.P.
Program Officer
Burden of illness; Center grants; Community-wide prevention trials; Economics; Harms to others; Impaired driving; Policy; Systems science; Training program grants
I-Jen Castle, Ph.D.
Program Officer
Adult drinking, older adults, and life course; Chronic disease; Epidemiology of combined alcohol and drug use
Bob Freeman, Ph.D.
Program Officer
Assault, homicide, and suicide; HIV/AIDS; Sexual assault and intimate partner violence; Sexual behavior
Bradley Kerridge, Ph.D.
Program Officer
College and college age drinking; HIV/AIDS; Media, social media, and advertising; Mobile prevention; Sexual minorities
Beverly Ruffin, Ph.D.
Program Officer
Health disparities; Pre-college drinking
Wenxing Zha, Ph.D.
Program Officer
Data collection improvements; Development and validation of measurement; Psychiatric comorbidity; Secondary analysis; Statistical analysis tools

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

Featured Publications

1. 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 Aug 14. doi: 10.1007/s10461-021-03420-8. Epub ahead of print. 

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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 August 2021

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