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, funding organizations, and other interest groups and institutions;
  • monitoring trends in alcohol consumption and related problems; and
  • disseminating research findings through scientific and lay publications, public reports, and scientific conferences.




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 below) 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.


Funding Opportunities

Current DEPR-sponsored funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) are listed and linked below. We also accept applications submitted in response to the NIH parent FOAs, and we participate in many FOAs with other NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs). When planning your application, please contact a staff member, either from the list of program officers below or the person listed under “Scientific/Research Contacts” in the FOA, to learn more.

Nutrition and Alcohol-Related Health Outcomes 
Expires: May 8, 2020

Public Policy Effects on Alcohol-, Marijuana-, and Other Substance-Related Behaviors and Outcomes
Expires: May 8, 2020

Secondary Analyses of Alcohol and Chronic Disease
Expires: September 8, 2019

Screening and Brief Alcohol Interventions in Underage and Young Adult Populations
Expires: May 8, 2018

Secondary Analyses of Existing Alcohol Epidemiology Data
Expires: September 8, 2017

Epidemiology and Prevention in Alcohol Research
Expires: September 8, 2017

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.


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.
The NIAAA Application Process page provides information and links about applying for grants and the peer review process, including details specific to NIAAA. Information on the NIH grant process is available at Grants Basics, Grants Process Overview, New and Early State Investigator Policies, and the Center for Scientific Review’s Applicant Resources. A four-page handout summarizing NIH grant-related procedures and providing links to many sites for applicants is available here [PDF 224 KB].


  • 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 Funding, NIAAA 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.






Ralph Hingson, Sc.D., M.P.H.

Director, DEPR

Mike Hilton, Ph.D.

Deputy Director, DEPR


Program Officers

Many of the following focus areas are supported across the lifespan and several sub-populations that have been demonstrated to be susceptible to alcohol-related health inequities.


Focus Areas*


Tatiana Balachova, Ph.D

    • Reproductive and perinatal epidemiology
    • Prevention among women of child-bearing age
    • Family-based prevention
    • HIV/AIDS prevention


    Gregory Bloss, M.A., M.P.P.

        • Policy
        • Impaired driving
        • Economics
        • Burden of illness
        • Harms to others
        • Systems science
        • Community-wide prevention trials


    I-Jen Castle, Ph.D.

        • College drinking epidemiology
        • Adult drinking, older adults, and life course
        • Chronic disease
        • Epidemiology of combined alcohol and drug use


    Bob Freeman, Ph.D.

        • Social media
        • Sexual behavior
        • Sexual assault and intimate partner violence
        • Assault, homicide, and suicide, sexual minorities
        • HIV/AIDS epidemiology


    Beverly Ruffin, Ph.D.

        • Pre-college drinking
        • Health disparities
        • Media and advertising


    Mariela Shirley, Ph.D.

        • Screening and brief interventions
        • College and college-age prevention
        • Military and veterans
        • Psychiatric comorbidity
        • Prevention Research Centers and Training Program
        • Genes and social environment


    Wenxing Zha, Ph.D.

        • Statistical analysis tools
        • Data collection improvements
        • Development and validation of measurement


    * 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 Authored or Co-authored by DEPR staff members

    1. Hingson, R., Zha, W., Smyth, 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. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs 78(4): 540-548, 2017.

    2. Hingson, R.W., Zha, W., White, A.M. Drinking Beyond the Binge Threshold: Predictors, Consequences, and Changes in the U.S. American Journal of American Preventive Medicine 52(6): 717-727, 2017.

    3. Scott, M. Commentary: Perspectives on alcohol-related gene and environment interplay in diverse populations. Am J Addict. 2017;26(5):526-531.

    4. 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;41(5):976-986.

    5. 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.




    Currently-Funded Research

    View currently-funded research with links to program details in NIH RePORTER.




    Last reviewed June 2019