Published May 12, 2021
R. Lorraine Collins, associate dean for research and professor of community health and health behavior in the School of Public Health and Health Professions, is the 2020-21 recipient of the Graduate School’s Distinguished Postdoc Mentor Award recognizing truly exceptional faculty mentoring of postdoctoral scholars at UB.
Collins is a psychologist with decades of experience in conducting research on substance use and abuse. She is particularly interested in alcohol and cannabis use, especially in emerging and young adults, as well as psychosocial factors — including gender and ethnicity — in substance use. She also has expertise in the use of technology for assessment and intervention. In 2016, she was named to a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine ad hoc committee that reviewed the health effects of cannabis, and in 2018, she was appointed to a working group created by New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo that was tasked with drafting legislation to regulate the adult-use of cannabis in New York State. The resulting legislation was signed into law in March 2021.
A prolific researcher, Collins has received funding from the National Institutes of Health for nearly 30 years.
From 2000-19, Collins served as co-director of the postdoctoral training program in UB’s Clinical and Research Institute on Addictions — the longest-running T32 at UB. She was integral to securing the grant and its continued funding.
Collins’ mentorship of postdocs — regardless of official reporting lines — was lauded in particular by two of her former postdocs who nominated her for the award.
Collins gives “her time and attention to any of the postdocs in the program, even if she is not their ‘official’ mentor,” one nominator wrote, noting Collins has “clear expectations of postdocs, provides excellent intellectual leadership and promotes ethical conduct of research. She challenges us to think critically about public health issues and how our research can ultimately improve the human condition.”
Another nominator cited Collins’ “incredible kindness” in mentoring her, despite not being the nominator’s official mentor. “My experience is illustrative of her dedication to all the postdocs in the T32 program. She is incredibly generous with her time, offering to provide feedback on job search materials, grant applications and manuscripts,” the nominator wrote. “Her attention to detail and unwavering defense of the English language, particularly in written form, set her feedback apart from any I have ever received.”
Collins will be recognized at the 2021 Celebration of Faculty and Staff Excellence, to be held sometime in the fall.