Advisory Committee


Edward Castañeda, PhD

Professor & Department Chair, Psychology
University of Texas El Paso

Dr. Castaneda’s research seeks to understand neuroplasticity in presynaptic regulation of dopamine release. His research further integrates behavioral approaches with neurochemistry, anatomy, and pharmacology of mesotelencephalic dopamine pathways. Dr. Castaneda has served as PI for the NIH/NIDA UTEP Vulnerability Issues in Drug Abuse research-training program where he provided oversight to a 3-college multidisciplinary project that investigated the relationship between drug abuse vulnerability and cultural factors, socioeconomic challenges, and neurobiological mechanisms. Dr. Castaneda has received recognition for his mentoring contributions from the National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse as well as the Arizona Association of Chicanos for Higher Education.

Felipe Gonzalez-Castro, PhD, MSW

Professor, College of Nursing and Health Innovation
Arizona State University

Dr. Castro is a Hispanic health psychologist, whose research program examines multivariate models of health behavior and behavior change, to study the role of cultural and non-cultural risk and protective factors in effecting health lifestyle, including drug, alcohol, and tobacco use. He utilizes a stress-coping-resilience paradigm to understand how cognitive, affective and behavioral factors affect health and well-being, including the expression of resilience. Dr. Castro is the originator of the Integrative Mixed Methods methodology, which offers a rigorous approach to conduct mixed methods research to examine the sociocultural determinants of health in Hispanic/Latino and other vulnerable populations. 

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 Principal Investigator of an NIAAA-funded T-32 training grant focused on biomedical consequences of alcohol abuse and NIAAA-funded P60 LSUHSC Comprehensive Alcohol-HIV/AIDS Research Center. Dr. Molina is strongly dedicated to teaching and mentoring, as she has been a has been a member of the faculty of the LSUHSC School of Graduate Studies, the Graduate Education Committee in Physiology, Graduate Advisory Council, and is a mentor for the LSUHSC Interdisciplinary Graduate Program. Currently, Dr. Molina serves as Co-Chair of the National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse (NHSN).

Laura O’Dell, PhD

Professor, Department of Psychology
University of Texas at El Paso

Dr. O’Dell’s research program is 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. Her research program is supported by a R01 grant from the NIDA and a Basic Science Award from the American Diabetes Association.

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’s work is focused on the areas of urban health, HIV, illicit drug use, and adult access to vaccines. With respect to illicit drug use, her work has spanned the entire natural history of addiction, from initiation to cessation, with particular attention to risk for infectious diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and STIs. She has primarily worked with people who use heroin, crack, cocaine, and/or club drugs. Most recently, she has been examining heroin cessation among current, former, and relapsed heroin users in NYC and harm reduction service utilization among people who inject drugs in Ukraine.

John Bryan Page, PhD

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

Dr. Page’s work has consistently emphasized the value of on-the-scene perspectives in the study of human behaviors in the margins of society. He has studied patterns of marijuana smoking, poly-drug consumption, self-injection, crack use, and sex trade. Dr. Page’s publications often address questions of community setting and approaches to finding specific populations in those settings.