Postdoctoral Success Stories

Vivian M. Gonzalez, PhD

Vivian M. Gonzalez, PhD

RIA Postdoctoral Associate 2004-2007

Current position

Associate Professor
Dept. of Psychology
University of Alaska Anchorage

Academic Profile

Dr. Gonzalez’s research focuses on the use of technology to provide self-guided interventions for alcohol use disorders; associations between depression, suicidal behavior, and alcohol misuse; and factors affecting intervention preferences and drinking outcomes among American Indians and Alaska Natives.


“While my doctoral training was very good in regard to theory, clinical training and training in research methods, I did not get much exposure to grant-funded research and had limited experience with manuscript writing. This didn’t leave me well positioned to get an academic position or to be successful as an independent researcher.

I applied to RIA’s postdoc program because I wanted a postdoctoral experience that would bolster my research training; including gaining publications, doing independent research and gaining grant writing skills. My aim was to be a successful academic with a strong research focus in the area of alcohol use disorder etiology and treatment. RIA and my research mentors, Clara Bradizza and R. Lorraine Collins, helped me to achieve this aim.

During the postdoc I received instruction and mentorship in manuscript and grant writing, as well as didactics in addictions and advanced statistics. I wrote and obtained my first intramural grant while at RIA, gained research experience and publications, and even got my clinical license. I achieved a position as an assistant professor in large part because of the training I received at RIA, including training relating to alcohol use disorders and other substance use disorders. Thanks to the continued support by Dr. Collins, after I completed my postdoc I was successful in getting NIAAA grant funding. This type of close mentorship by a highly successful research scientist was key to building my grant writing skills. Since my postdoc I have obtained intramural and NIAAA-funded grants, completed many studies, published and gotten tenure. I credit my career to my postdoctoral training at RIA!”