Advisory Committee


Margarita Alegria, PhD

Professor, Department of Psychiatry
Harvard Medical School

Dr. Alegria’s research has focused on topics such as improvement of health care services delivery for diverse racial and ethnic populations, conceptual and methodological issues with multicultural populations, and ways to bring the community’s perspective into the design and implementation of health services. Currently she is the PI of four NIH funded research studies and PI of a Patient- Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) project with extensive experience as a member of numerous SRG committees. She was recently a mentor for an IRTI fellow.

James Anthony, PhD

Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Michigan State University

Dr. Anthony is a professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University. His research accomplishments appear in more than 300 published articles and books. Dr. Anthony is an NIH Senior Scientist awardee, with a K05 Senior Scientist award to support his research and mentorship activities, as well as continuous NIH R01 award support since the early 1980s. He has been an IRTI summer program faculty participant for a number of years and PI of the NIDA funded R25 NHSN Early Stage Career Mentoring for NIDA Research.

Edward Castañeda, PhD

Professor & Department Chair, Psychology
University of Texas El Paso

Dr. Castaneda’s research seeks to investigate plasticity in presynaptic mechanisms that modulate neurotransmitter release during changes in behavior due to repeated exposure to substances of abuse or during neurodegeneration. He is currently the Chair of the Psychology Department at the University of Texas at El Paso. In the recent past, he was Principal Investigator of an R24 DIDARP at UTEP titled Vulnerability Issues in Drug Abuse (VIDA), and he has served as faculty on the Marine Biology Laboratory Summer Program in Neuroscience, Excellence and Success for the last 19 years. He has served the IRTI as a member of the Selection Committee, and he has conducted scientific workshops during all past Summer Programs.

Felipe Gonzalez-Castro, PhD, MSW

Professor & Director, Health Psychology
Arizona State University

Dr. Castro’s research focuses on multivariate model analyses of cultural factors in the design and evaluation of prevention interventions to reduce disease risks, including the risks of type-2 diabetes and substance abuse in Hispanic/Latino populations. He has participated as a member of the IRTI Executive Committee, conducted workshops during the Summer Program, and is currently a mentor to a social/behavioral fellow. Member of over 11 standing and special emphasis SRG committees. Past president of the Society for Prevention Research (SPR).

Charles Martinez, PhD

Dean, College of Education; Professor, Department of Educational Psychology
University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Martinez’s scholarly work focuses on identifying factors that hinder or promote the success of children and families from vulnerable and underserved populations. As a prevention scientist specializing in minority education and health disparities, he is committed to translational research—research that moves evidence-based practices developed in laboratories and clinical settings into communities that often have limited access to such practices, while attending to the potential need for adaptation of such practices to ensure their cultural responsiveness. He is particularly interested in how immigrant Latino families adjust to life in the U.S. and how to better harness culturally specific protective factors to ensure their success in navigating the many challenges associated with immigration.

Patricia Molina, MD, PhD

Richard Ashman, PhD Professor & Department Head of Physiology; Director Alcohol and Drug Abuse Center of Excellence
Louisiana State University

Dr. Molina is a physician scientist with a unique set of clinical and basic science skills that enhance her ability to support laboratory-based research programs with clinical application. She was Principal Investigator of an R01 NIH/NIDA “Cannabinoid Epigenomic and miRNA Mechanisms impact HIV/SIV Disease Progression” and is a current chair of the NHSN. Additionally, she participates as a presenting faculty member during the Summer Program. Recipient of R01, R13 and U01 and numerous special emphasis and standing SRG committees. She is the PI of the R13 NHSN Conference Grant.

Laura O’Dell, PhD

Professor, Department of Psychology
University of Texas at El Paso

Dr. O’Dell’s research focused on the neural mechanisms that promote tobacco use in vulnerable populations, such as adolescents, females, and persons with diabetes. Her laboratory combines neurochemical and molecular approaches with behavioral models to study the neural basis of addiction to substances, such as nicotine and alcohol. Recipient of multiple R01’s and numerous special emphasis SRG committees.

Danielle Ompad, PhD, MHS

Clinical Associate Professor, College of Global Public Health & Deputy Director of the NYU College of Nursing’s Center for Drug Use and HIV Research
New York University

Dr. Ompad is an epidemiologist with extensive experience in the design, conduct and analysis of community-based cross-sectional and prospective studies focusing illicit substance use, risky sexual behavior, and adult access to vaccines in urban settings. She is a current mentor for the IRTI and has presented every year at the Summer Program. Recipient of R01s and R21. Has served on numerous special emphasis and SRG committees. Beneficiary of NIH diversity programs (i.e., NIAID Introduction to Biomedical Research Program, Diversity Supplement to an R01, Health Disparities Loan Repayment Program).

John Bryan Page, PhD

Professor, Department of Anthropology & Director, International Studies Program
University of Miami

Dr. Page specializes in studying the consumption of drugs, focusing particularly on recently arrived immigrant populations. He is currently participating in five related projects, including a study of the relationship between intravenous drug use and spread of HIV. He currently serves as a member of the IRTI Executive Committee, presents during the Summer Program, and has been a mentor to a social/behavioral fellow. Has been the recipient of numerous NIH grants has been a member of over 17 standing and special emphasis SRG committees.

Guillermo Prado, PhD

Dean of Graduate School, Leonard M. Miller Professor of Public Health Sciences and Director of the Division of Prevention Science and Community Health
University of Miami

Dr. Prado is a prevention scientist with extensive experience in health disparities research, drug abuse and sexual risk behaviors among youth, and in designing and evaluating culturally-specific, family- based preventive interventions for Hispanic youth. Has received over $15 million dollars of NIH and CDC funding as PI and another $70 million as mentor and co-investigator. Has been on numerous special emphasis SRG committees and has been mentor for several IRTI fellows in the past.