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National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Dr. Mark Willenbring Joins NIAAA

News Release

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Director Ting-Kai Li, M.D., announced today that Mark Willenbring, M.D., has joined NIAAA as the Director of the Institute's Division of Treatment and Recovery Research (DTRR).

"NIAAA is fortunate to have Dr. Willenbring on board," says Dr. Li, "as he brings to NIAAA expertise in a range of issues in clinical research on alcohol and other drugs of abuse, including expertise in medication development -- an area of critical importance to the Institute's treatment research agenda."

In his new position, Dr. Willenbring will be responsible for stimulating, developing and supporting clinical research on therapies for alcohol abuse and alcoholism. He also will work with intramural scientists at NIAAA and other NIH Institutes to advance what we know about treating alcohol abuse and alcoholism.

Dr. Willenbring comes to NIAAA from the University of Minnesota, School of Medicine, where he served as Professor of Psychiatry. For the past 12 years, he also has served as Medical Director of the Addictive Disorders Section at the Veteran's Affairs Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Dr. Willenbring received his M.D. from the University of Minnesota and did his internship at St Paul-Ramsey Medical Center in St. Paul. He completed his residency in psychiatry at the University of California, Davis.

Dr. Willenbring's research interests include pharmacotherapies for alcohol and other drug abuse, alcohol and tobacco, the treatment of co-occurring disorders, the interaction of treatment for alcohol use disorders and hepatitis C, and implementing research findings into clinical practice. During his distinguished research career he has published on topics ranging from medications for alcohol dependence and mental health disorders and psychoneuroendocrinology, to case management and service delivery, hepatitis C, and evidence-based practice guidelines. For the past five years, Dr. Willenbring has been a national leader in a large-scale effort within the VA to implement evidence-based practices in substance use disorder treatment.

Professional accolades accorded Dr. Willenbring include:

Distinguished Fellow in the American Psychiatric Association Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology Diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners Numerous awards from the Veterans Administration GEICO Federal Public Service Award for Alcoholism Prevention and Treatment

For an interview with Dr. Willenbring, please call the NIAAA Press Office. For additional information on alcohol research and related NIAAA activities, please visit the NIAAA homepage.

About the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA):
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, is the primary U.S. agency for conducting and supporting research on the causes, consequences, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of alcohol use disorder. NIAAA also disseminates research findings to general, professional, and academic audiences. Additional alcohol research information and publications are available at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH):
NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

Contact info:
NIAAA Press Office

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