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Connors receives mentoring award


Published September 5, 2013

“Dr. Connors has consistently demonstrated his investment in my success and has provided numerous opportunities that encouraged me to stretch my potential.”
Ronda Dearing, senior research scientist
Research Institute on Addictions

Gerard Connors

Gerard Connors, senior research scientist and former director of UB’s Research Institute on Addictions, has been recognized for his exemplary mentorship of promising scientists with a national award from the American Psychological Association’s Society of Addiction Psychology.

Connors received the Distinguished Career Contributions to Education and Training Award last month at the 2013 annual APA conference.

A recognized expert in the study of alcohol and drug abuse and treatment, Connors joined the RIA in 1987 and served as director from 1998 to 2011.

Kenneth Leonard, current RIA director, nominated Connors for the award, citing the effective and lasting impact of his mentorship on graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and emerging scientists.

“Dr. Connors is unique among mentors in that his contributions to the mentor-mentee relationship are dynamic and often continue across many career stages,” Leonard says. “His meaningful counsel has been instrumental to our postdoctoral fellows in their transitions to professional careers, and has been valuable to junior and more established scientists as well.”

In addition to providing individual guidance to scientists at RIA, Connors served for 12 years as co-training director with R. Lorraine Collins for RIA’s postdoctoral training program grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)—a division of the National Institutes of Health—which fostered the development of more than 20 postdoctoral research fellows.

Ronda Dearing, senior research scientist at RIA, was mentored by Connors in the postdoctoral training program and praises his knowledge, experience and generosity with his time and resources.

“From the time that I began as a new postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Connors treated me as a valued colleague,” Dearing says. “Over the ensuing years, he has facilitated my professional development with gentle guidance and respect. Dr. Connors has consistently demonstrated his investment in my success and has provided numerous opportunities that encouraged me to stretch my potential.” 

Connors has made multiple important contributions to the field of addictions research, particularly in developing new interventions for alcohol dependence, characterizing relapse following alcohol treatment and understanding the role of spirituality and therapeutic alliance as related to treatment and treatment outcomes. He has received more than $10 million in funding from the NIH and the NIAAA.

His research findings have been published in numerous scholarly journals, including Addiction, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, and Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, among others. He also is co-author of several books, including “Substance Abuse Treatment and the Stages of Change.”

A member of the APA, Connors is a fellow of the APA’s Society of Clinical Psychology and Society of Addiction Psychology. He also is a member of the Research Society on Alcoholism, the College on Problems of Drug Dependence and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.