Our students are the best and brightest, and among the first to enroll in this one-of-a-kind PhD program. Read about our current Joint Doctoral Program students!
Fall 2017 Cohort
|Anna Blyum, MS is originally from Kazakhstan. She is an alumna of E. Muskie Graduate Fellowship and holds BAs in Foreign Languages and Physical Training and MS in Urban Policy Analysis and Management from The New School, NYC. Presently, she serves as a Senior Program Officer for Central Asia and Afghanistan at the Colombo Plan ICCE in support of the Center’s mission to professionalize the drug demand reduction workforce globally. Ms. Blyum is a credentialed International Certified Addiction Professional (ICAP I) and continues her extensive training in the field. Her research interest lies in the interface between substance use and delinquency in youth and adolescents, or, more specifically, on the evaluation of prevention and treatment policies and interventions related to this population.|
|Brittany D’Ambrosio earned her B.A. in Psychology from Siena College and M.A. in General Experimental Psychology from St. John’s University. While completing her Masters, Brittany served as a research assistant at a private outpatient facility in New York City, where she completed her Masters Thesis on the impact of treatment modalities on patients’ reported substance use at 6-month follow-up. During this time, Brittany also served as a graduate research intern in Upstate New York, where she assisted in a project assessing if Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) can be adapted to fit juvenile justice settings. Her research interests include: substance use stigma; the opioid epidemic; substance use among college-age individuals and young adults; and evaluating prevention, intervention, and treatment options.|
|Victor Magaña earned a B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and a M.A. in Clinical Psychology. As an undergraduate, he joined CSUN’s Neuroscience Lab where he participated in electroencephalography (EEG) studies on attention and neurofeedback (EEG biofeedback). While pursuing his master’s degree, he became interested in substance abuse theory and addiction. Victor enrolled in a certification program to become an addiction counselor at a local community college with a desire to learn more about substance use and abuse. At present, he strives to use his research background and interest in substance use to address the issues of awareness, stigma, and effective treatment of addiction.|
|Charles Marks received his BA in Mathematics and Computer Science from Oberlin College before attending the University of Southern California to complete his MPH. While completing his Masters, Charles worked with the Family Services Department at a rural, Native American health clinic in Bishop, California focusing on the role trauma plays in health outcomes and completed his Capstone Project on the intersection between public health and substance criminalization in the United States. Research Interests include: rural access to substance-related healthcare; substance-related policy creation processes; substance criminalization policies and the resultant public health impact; trauma-informed care and policies.|
Fall 2016 Cohort
|Natasia Courchesne earned her BA in Anthropology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she focused on indigenous health disparities. While earning her MPH from SDSU, Natasia worked on the STAHR II study examining sociodemographic, behavioral, and HIV, Hepatitis C, and Tuberculosis risk factors among persons who inject drugs. During this time Natasia began working at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center as a research assistant on the neuro-oncology team investigating patterns of care and survival trends.
|Jennifer Jain is a clinical research project director at UCSF. She is experienced in research relating to substance use, HIV, HCV and sexual risk behaviors among HIV+ men and people who inject drugs. Her interest in substance use began in 2008 during her time as a youth mentor in San Francisco’s most marginalized neighborhood, Bay View Hunter’s Point. This inspired her to pursue a MPH, which she earned in 2011. Since then, she has been involved in exploring the intersection between substance use and infectious disease.
|McKenzie LeTendre earned a bachelor of science in Neuroscience from Regis University. After college, she worked as a research assistant at CU Boulder studying the neural pathways involved in cocaine relapse behavior using an animal model. Learning more about the biological basis involved in drug addiction sparked McKenzie’s interest in the broader public health impact of substance misuse on individuals, families and society. While earning an MSW and MPH from SDSU, McKenzie interned at the Scripps Wellbeing Center in Chula Vista, then at the SDSU Driving Under the Influence program.
|Stephanie Meyers earned her BA in Psychology and Sociology from UC Davis and a MA, option in Psychological Research, from Cal-state Long Beach. Stephanie’s research interests have centered on ethnic disparities in substance use and the relationship between substance use and disease transmission. She served as a research associate for 4 years at a center that provided free HIV/STI testing services. Stephanie has been a professor at Cal-state Long Beach teaching statistics and quantitative research methods to psychology and sociology students.
Fall 2015 Inaugural Program Cohort
|Sarah Clingan is a graduate student in the Joint Doctoral Program in Interdisciplinary Research on Substance Use. Sarah earned her MA in Psychology from California State University, Long Beach in 2015. Sarah has been drug and alcohol counselor since 2006 and has integrated the knowledge gained from her clinical experience to inform her research. Research Interests: drug use among sex traders, heroin overdose epidemic, treatment modalities.
|Kevin Cummins earned a Bachelor and Master of Science in Biology and a Master of Science in Statistics from San Diego State University. He has contributed to adolescent substance use research at the University of California San Diego for over a decade. Kevin’s doctoral research focuses on resolving the interplay between substance use, neurocognitive development, and academic performance and achievement.|
|Nicole Pepper has been working in the HIV community for over 10 years. After earning her MSW in policy at Columbia University, Nicole served as project director for multi-site clinical trial utilizing Motivational Interviewing in a methadone setting to support HIV and hepatitis C treatment. She currently serves in a clinical and administrative role at the UCSD Mother Child Adolescent HIV Program. Research Interests: HIV, ethnic health disparities, substance abuse in women and adolescents, and trauma-informed interventions.