Reaching Others University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
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History

RIA has a history of excellence in scientific research, earning a national and international reputation for leadership in the study of addictions. A timeline of significant RIA events is provided below.

1970 The Research Institute on Alcoholism was established in affiliation with The State University of New York at Buffalo (UB) as a part of the New York State Division of Research of the Department of Mental Hygiene. RIA’s mission was to address all aspects of alcoholism by studying the use and abuse of alcohol and its causes, treatment and prevention. Cedric Smith, MD, then chair and professor of UB’s Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, was named as the first director of the Institute. Dr. Smith remained director until 1979.
1973
RIA moved from Amherst to its current location at 1021 Main Street and became a part of what is now called the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, adjacent to Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo General Hospital, the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, and as of 2002, the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics Department of Pharmacology.
1980 Ben Morgan Jones, PhD, a psychologist who researched the effects of alcohol on intellectual performance, joined the Institute as director.
1986 Howard Blane, PhD, was named director and continued his research in alcohol use and prevention planning.
1987 The Minority Research Development Program, later called the Research Development Program, began as an eight-week summer program to encourage minority high school students to pursue scientific careers. Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a total of 95 “future scientists” participated in the 12-year program.
1990 The Clinical Research Center (CRC) opened, the only alcoholism and substance abuse treatment program in New York State designed to have clinicians and researchers work together developing and evaluating new methods for treating addictive behaviors.
1992

RIA’s name was changed to the Research Institute on Addictions, reflecting an expanded focus from alcoholism to also include substance abuse, treatment, families and other issues related to addictions.

1993

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) designated RIA as a National Alcohol Research Center and funded the Center for the Clinical and Medical Epidemiology of Alcohol. The center was a collaborative project between RIA and UB’s Department of Social and Preventive Medicine.

1995 The 25th anniversary of the Institute was celebrated on December 15, 1995, with an open house and reception. State and local policymakers, members of community groups and treatment providers were present as Cedric Smith, MD, was honored for his contributions as the institute's first director.
1996 Brenda A. Miller, PhD, was named acting director following Dr. Blane’s retirement, and concentrated her research on the connections between alcohol and drug use, family violence and women’s experiences of victimization.
1998 Gerard J. Connors, PhD, was appointed director of the institute. He continued his research on the treatment of alcohol use disorders and on treatment outcome evaluation.
1999 On November 18, 1999, RIA, formerly a component of the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), became part of the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. RIA scientists continue to explore aspects of alcoholism and substance abuse. Some focus on the causes of these problems, some examine the consequences, and others develop new ways to prevent and treat addictions.
2000 and 2005 RIA was awarded a NIAAA postdoctoral training grant on alcohol etiology and treatment, building on the institute's strong history of postdoctoral opportunities. The program provides specialized postdoctoral training for individuals seeking to pursue a career in alcohol research. Research training is focused in two primary areas: (1) etiology and course of alcohol use and misuse and (2) treatment for alcohol use disorders.
2011 Kenneth E. Leonard, PhD, was appointed director of the institute, and continues his research on marital and family processes, parenting and infant development, interpersonal aggression, and bar and domestic violence.

For a complete list of ongoing projects, visit the Currently Funded Projects page. For a history of research projects from 1985-2012, visit the Previously Funded Projects page.
2012 RIA celebrates entering its fifth decade of research excellence with a gathering formally introducing Kenneth E. Leonard as director, and congratulating and thanking Gerard J. Connors for his service as director.