It is my pleasure to introduce the incoming Scientific Director William (Bill) C. Kerr who has been elected to the position following my retirement from the role.
An economist by training, with a doctoral dissertation on Addiction, Quality Choice, and the Demand for Alcohol from University of California, Davis, Bill was recruited to ARG in 2008 after working with Kaye Fillmore’s longitudinal analysis team at the University of California, San Francisco. From the beginning, Bill led Center projects involving methodological intake protocols and age-period-cohort analyses — themes he has built on to the present.
In 2016, Bill took over as Center director, with an increasing focus on alcohol-related disparities, and is now also leading the Center-affiliated University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health-ARG Graduate Research Training program, funded by NIAAA. In addition, Bill has been PI on a significant number of grants from NIAAA and NIDA, and leads contracts and subawards, while also serving as Co-I on numerous other grants.
Bill’s research foci have included alcohol and mortality, life-course alcohol patterns and health, spirits privatization, cannabis legalization, and more recently, alcohol and drug harms to others. Bill has authored or coauthored over 150 peer-reviewed publications and chapters, and many other noteworthy reports.
Even before he led the T32 Training Program, Bill mentored numerous predocs, postdocs and early career scientists, while continuing to collaborate with leading external researchers. Bill has served as a member of the CoCom of the Kettil Bruun Society, the program planning committees for the Research Society on Alcohol and Alcohol Policy series meetings, and NABCA’s Public Health Advisory Committee. In addition to being on boards of several alcohol policy organizations, Bill has been a standing member of NIH’s Addiction Risks and Mechanisms initial review group (IRG) and served on several other NIH IRGs. He is associate editor of Addiction and is on editorial boards of Contemporary Drug Problems and the Open Addiction Journal.
To better support ARG’s scientific efforts and help with organizational oversight, the Executive Committee has elected Scientist Priscilla Martinez, PhD, to the role of deputy scientific director.
After her undergraduate work in biochemistry and molecular biology at Mills College, Priscilla received her doctorate from the Norwegian Center for Addiction Research, University of Oslo, Norway, with a dissertation on Alcohol Use in Special Populations in Africa. First coming to ARG as a postdoc in 2013, Priscilla secured a prestigious 5-year K01 Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award on Inflammation and Alcohol-related Racial/Ethnic Health Disparities.
As lead Co-director of the Center’s National Alcohol Survey research project, she continues her work on survey research and has, for the first time, introduced the collection of biological samples. Recently, she received a NIAAA R01 designed to enhance our understanding of longitudinal relationships between alcohol use, mental health, and COVID-19 pandemic impacts. She has led several other projects, including the first campaign in the U.S. to raise awareness among young women that alcohol is a risk factor for breast cancer. She has since presented at national meetings and conferences and is sought-after for her growing expertise.
Priscilla has authored and coauthored over 30 peer-reviewed articles and chapters. Since 2015, she has been a lecturer in the Department of Community Health and Human Development of the School of Public Health, UC Berkeley, first teaching survey research and then co-leading the School of Public Health’s Advanced Alcohol Research Seminar held at ARG. She also serves as Chair of the Research Society on Alcohol’s Diversity Subcommittee to Increase Diversity in the Research Pipeline. She was also the inaugural chair of ARG’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee.
It is with tremendous enthusiasm and confidence that I pass the baton to this outstanding scientific leadership team. I am excited to support their vision and goals and be part of the organization’s continued growth.
Thank you both.
—Tom Greenfield, April 2023