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RIA Director Kenneth Leonard honored with national award

By Cathy Wilde

Release Date: August 11, 2015

Kenneth Leonard, standing in front of a bookcase.

Kenneth Leonard

“Not only have his contributions to our understanding of the interaction of violence and substance use changed practice worldwide, but his research has extended to areas of knowledge ranging from treatment outcomes to diagnostic issues to metabolic changes in psychiatric illness.”
Steven L. Dubovsky, professor and chair, Department of Psychiatry
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Kenneth Leonard, PhD, director of the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions, will be recognized for his outstanding scientific contributions with a national award from the American Psychological Association’s Society of Addiction Psychology (SoAP).

Leonard will receive the Distinguished Scientific Contributions award at the 2015 annual APA conference in August. The award recognizes a SoAP member who has made distinguished theoretical or empirical contributions to research in the addictions field.  

Kim Fromme, PhD, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and former president of SoAP, nominated Leonard for the award.

“Dr. Leonard is richly deserving of this prestigious award,” Fromme says. “His sustained program of research has garnered international recognition and expanded our understanding of the processes through which substance abuse affects family relationships.”

Leonard joined RIA in 1986 as a research scientist and was named director in 2011. He also serves as a research professor in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Science’s Department of Psychiatry. His research focuses on the effects of alcohol and substance abuse on marital and family processes, including intimate partner violence and interpersonal violence.

“We are delighted that Ken Leonard is receiving the recognition he so richly deserves for his past and ongoing research contributions to the addictions field,” says Venu Govindaraju, PhD, interim vice president for research and economic development at UB.

Steven L. Dubovsky, MD, chair of UB’s Department of Psychiatry, calls Leonard “the quintessential scientist and academician.”

“Not only have his contributions to our understanding of the interaction of violence and substance use changed practice worldwide, but his research has extended to areas of knowledge ranging from treatment outcomes to diagnostic issues to metabolic changes in psychiatric illness,” Dubovsky says. “These outstanding accomplishments are matched only by his mentoring of generations of investigators and clinician-scientists in psychology and psychiatry.”

A member of APA, Leonard is a fellow and served as president of SoAP. He also is a fellow of APA’s Division of Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse. Leonard holds memberships in the Research Society on Alcoholism, Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy, Society of Psychologists in Addictive Behavior and International Society for Research on Aggression.

He currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs and has previously held editorial positions for Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research and the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. His research findings have appeared in Addiction, Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Journal of Clinical Child and Adult Psychology, Journal of Marriage and the Family and Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, among numerous others.

Leonard has received more than $36 million in funding as a grant investigator or co-investigator from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and National Institute on Drug Abuse, for studies on alcohol and marital aggression, effects of alcohol on parenting and infant development, spouse involvement in alcohol treatment and bar violence.

RIA is a research center of the University at Buffalo and a national leader in the study of alcohol and substance abuse issues. RIA’s research programs, most of which have multiple-year funding, are supported by federal, state and private foundation grants. Located on UB’s Downtown Campus, RIA is a member of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and a key contributor to UB’s reputation for research excellence. To learn more, visit buffalo.edu/ria

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