Campus News

RIA seminar series focuses on substance use issues in women


Published February 13, 2018

The Spring Seminar Series at UB’s Research Institute on Addictions will explore the topics of nicotine, drug and alcohol use by women, including sex differences in smoking, preventing substance use in pregnancy, and drinking issues among lesbian and bisexual women.   

The three-part seminar series is free and open to the public. All seminars take place on Fridays at 10 a.m. on the first floor of RIA at 1021 Main St. on UB’s Downtown Campus.

The Spring Seminar Series kicks off March 9 with a talk by Reagan Wetherill on “Sex Differences in Nicotine Use Disorder: Findings from Neuroimaging.” Wetherill is a research assistant professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and a licensed clinical psychologist.

Wetherill’s research focuses on the neurobiological substrates of alcohol and substance use disorders, pharmacogenetics and sex differences/influence of hormones.

On April 13, Mary Marden Velasquez will discuss “Preventing Substance-Exposed Pregnancies: Implementing Innovative Prevention Programs in Community Settings.” Velasquez is Centennial Professor in Leadership for Community, Professional and Corporate Excellence in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work and director of the Health Behavior Research and Training Institute (HBRT) at The University of Texas, Austin.

Velasquez and her HBRT team have developed and studied behavioral interventions targeting alcohol-exposed pregnancies and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, substance abuse, HIV prevention, smoking cessation and prenatal health. She is a trainer in both Motivational Interviewing and the Transtheoretical Model.

The series concludes on May 11 with a discussion led by Tonda Hughes on “From Gay Bars to Marriage Equality: The Evolution of Research on Sexual Minority Women’s Drinking.” Hughes is the Henrik H. Bendixin Professor of International Nursing and director of Global Health Research in the School of Nursing at Columbia University.

Hughes’ groundbreaking work focuses on lesbian health and she is an internationally recognized expert in the area of alcohol use among sexual minority (e.g., lesbian and bisexual) women. Her pioneering studies on the predictors and consequences of alcohol use among sexual minority women have received nearly continuous funding since 1999 from the National Institutes of Health, making them the longest-running longitudinal studies of alcohol use and health among sexual minority women.

For more information about RIA’s Spring Seminar Series, contact Kathleen Parks at 716-887-3301 or visit RIA’s website.