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University at Buffalo Alcohol Research Lab at the University at Buffalo, Department of Psychology
Thank you for participating in ABCT’s Featured Lab program! It’s time to get acquainted with Jennifer Read and her lab.
Dr. Read is a Professor and Director of Clinical Training in the Department of Psychology at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. In this position, she teaches, mentors doctoral and undergraduate students, and provides clinical supervision to trainees. She is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, and an Associate Field Editor for the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Dr. Read’s research focuses on the intersection of substance use, trauma, and posttraumatic stress (PTSD). She is the author of over 100 peer-reviewed papers and co-editor of a book on these topics. Her program of research has been well supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, as well as private foundations. Dr. Read is the recipient of the University at Buffalo’s Excellence in Graduate Mentoring award (2016) and ABCT’s Outstanding Contribution to Research award (2017).
Dr. Read is the Director of UB’s Alcohol Research Lab. Most of the work conducted in the lab is focused on etiology. However, some recent work has been treatment-oriented research. For example, Dr. Read and her colleagues are conducting a clinical trial to examine the application of an exposure-based therapy, Narrative Exposure Therapy, for decreasing posttraumatic stress and substance risk in urban youths. Other work examines the social processes that may lead to both risk for and protection against alcohol-involved sexual assault. This includes a lab-based examination of how women’s social and interpersonal goal orientations may affect perceptions of sexual assault risk. Dr. Read’s research is done in collaboration with other investigators around the country and world. This is the 15th year of the lab, and since its inception, there has always been a lot going on. There are plenty of research and educational activities for graduate and undergraduate students to get involved in.
How do you stay current with developments in the field, both research and practice?
Through my own scholarly work, I naturally read quite a bit of research on the topics of addiction and trauma/PTSD. Also, through my editorial and review activities, I have a chance to see a lot of what’s going on in the field, even before it is out in print. Further, I teach a graduate course in Psychopathology and I conduct clinical supervision of our Ph.D. students and so I am constantly looking for readings and other materials that will be useful learning vehicles for students as they develop as clinicians. Together, all of these things really push me to keep current with the literature and emerging topics in the field of psychology. On top of this, I use conferences to try to get some exposure to things that I might not otherwise learn about. Each year at ABCT, I try to choose at least 2 or 3 symposia or clinical round tables that are on a topic that I know very little about. This provides me with initial exposure to something new, and often prompts me to go find out more.
What conferences do you regularly attend and why?
ABCT and the annual meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA) are the two conferences that I attend pretty much every year. RSA is at the beginning of the summer and of course, ABCT is at the end of the fall. The two conferences anchor the rest of the year for me. In addition to these, I also frequently attend conferences for the Association for Psychological Science (APS) and the American Psychological Association (APA), both of which offer excellent programming on topics relevant to clinical science.
How long have you been a member of ABCT?
A long time. I first became a member when I was a graduate student, so I think it’s been more than 20 years!
How has ABCT helped you professionally?
Really, there are so many ways. ABCT has been a part of my professional life since I’ve had a professional life. Because of that, it is a part of the foundation of my professional identity. I belong to the Addictions SIG, and that’s been really important in terms of maintaining connections with other addictions researchers. This has been a great source of support, information, and collegiality. Lastly, as I mentioned above, sometimes it’s really helpful to me to find out about things that are not directly in my research area. The ABCT list serves, conferences, publications, and other materials really help to do that.
How do you see the future of ABCT for both you and your students?
A strength of ABCT is that is has evolved and changed with the times. The ABCT (or really, the AABT) that I joined as a graduate student is not the same organization that it is today. I look forward to seeing how ABCT will continue to respond to emerging issues in the field. ABCT plays a critical role in setting the agenda for researchers and clinicians to be useful and relevant in the face of changing national and global mental health priorities. I look forward to seeing how they use this role to shape the field in years to come.
Are your students members of ABCT? If so, what has been most useful for them? Absolutely. There is a lot that ABCT has to offer to students and other early career professionals, and my students have really benefited from this. And, of course, the opportunity to disseminate their work has been incredibly valuable for their professional development. Also, over the years, my students have been members of the Addictive Behaviors SIG and I think that this has been a great way for them to establish professional connections and to meet other early career psychologists.
For prospective students:
Anyone interested in addictions and/or trauma should consider applying to work with me. We have a fun, exciting, and busy lab, with lots of opportunities. Also, the Ph.D. program at UB is a great program, with strong clinical scientists who also happen to be really good people. The students and the faculty are, to a person, fantastic. It’s a great place to be. If you think you might be interested, check us out at https://arlbuffalo.com. You also can get a general sense of the Ph.D. program and Psychology Department or the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program by going to our website: http://psychology.buffalo.edu/graduate/ph-d/clinical.
Questions for students: We asked students each of the following questions:
What is your area of research interest?
How has ABCT been helpful to you? and
If a student were thinking about joining ABCT, what activities would you recommend they get involved in?
Tiffany Jenzer, Doctoral Student
My research focuses on examining the mechanisms and processes that link alcohol use disorder to other forms of psychopathology (e.g. PTSD). I am particularly interested in cognitive and attentional processes that influence alcohol use, as well as difficulties in coping ability and emotion regulation.
ABCT has allowed me to learn about important research outside my area and has given the me opportunity to meet and connect with other researchers.
I would recommend submitting your work as a poster or symposium, going to talks during the convention, and attending interest groups (SIG) relevant to your research. There are also many workshops that can be helpful if you are looking to learn new skills.
Jessica Blayney, Doctoral Student
I’m interested in understanding the individual and contextual risk factors associated with sexual assault as well as variation in the post-assault adaptation process, including distress and heavy drinking.
ABCT has been important in helping me expand my knowledge of current research and treatments related to post-assault outcomes. It also has been essential for networking for professional development.
There are a lot of benefits to student membership with ABCT including networking opportunities, professional development talks, and student research grants.
Greg Egerton, Doctoral Student
I am interested in the development of alcohol and substance use disorders in late adolescence and early adulthood, and how normative and unique life experiences inform substance-related decision making processes during this period.
ABCT has given me an opportunity to network with other researchers in my field of study.
I would recommend presenting a poster, as well as attending the SIG most relevant to your research interests.