By DIRK HOFFMAN
Published September 19, 2023
Kenneth E. Leonard, director of UB’s Clinical and Research Institute on Addictions (CRIA), has been appointed to the Program Advisory Board of the National Consortium on Alcohol and Neurodevelopment in Adolescent-Adulthood (NCANDA-A).
The purpose of the NCANDA-A longitudinal study is to determine the effects of alcohol use on the developing adolescent brain and examine brain characteristics that predict alcohol use problems. The study follows more than 800 adolescents over time and as they enter adulthood.
Members of the Program Advisory Board attend the annual meeting of the NCANDA-A consortium to receive updates on research progress and discuss relevant issues. Members may also be called upon throughout the year to provide advice and consult with principal investigators.
Leonard, a professor of psychiatry in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, was selected based on his expertise and experience, which are relevant to the goals of the NCANDA-A consortium, according to Antonio B. Noronha, director of the Division of Neuroscience and Behavior at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
“I am tremendously honored to be asked to serve on this board. This is one of the most important research efforts that the NIAAA has undertaken,” Leonard says. “The researchers who are currently on this board are among the most esteemed NIAAA researchers and people whose work has impacted research and practice. I am thrilled to be working worth them.”
Leonard’s research focuses on substance use in intimate relationships. One of the specific questions his research has addressed is whether excessive alcohol use is a factor in child outcomes.
“My research focuses on family and relationship issues in families that have a member with an alcohol use disorder,” he explains. “These issues are critical to consider in understanding the development of alcohol problems in adolescents and young adults.”
Leonard has conducted extensive research in alcohol and substance use utilizing epidemiological, experimental and clinical approaches.
He is currently co-principal investigator with Peter L. Elkin, professor and chair of biomedical informatics, on a NIAAA-funded study titled “Pain Medication Prescriptions and Misuse Following Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorders.”
It focuses on conducting research on the predictors of opioid use disorder among individuals treated for an alcohol use disorder.
Leonard is also currently involved in a pair of studies funded by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports.
He is conducting a statewide survey of young adults’ cannabis and alcohol use with co-investigators Jessica A. Kulak, Gregory G. Homish and Gregory Wilding, all in the School of Public Health and Health Professions.
Leonard is also working with Brian Clemency, professor of emergency medicine; Joshua J. Lynch, clinical associate professor of emergency medicine; and Nancy H. Nielsen, clinical professor of medicine, to identify gaps in evidence-based treatment for addictions in New York State.