Adam Leventhal, PhD
Professor of Population and Public Health Sciences
Director of the Institute for Addiction Science
About Adam Leventhal, PhD
Adam Leventhal, Ph.D., Professor of Preventive Medicine and Psychology at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, is an addiction psychologist and public health scientist. Dr. Leventhal is the Founding Director of the USC Health, Emotion, & Addiction Laboratory (USC-HEAL; heal.usc.edu), a group of six faculty investigators and 30 staff and trainees who study the causes, consequences, treatment, and prevention of addiction and mental illness across the lifespan. Having been awarded more than $40M in grant funding from the NIH and other agencies, USC-HEAL’s current areas of focus are: (1) adolescent and young adult use of tobacco, cannabis, and opioids; (2) the co-occurrence of addiction and mental illness; (3) the development of new medications to promote smoking cessation; (4) science to inform public policies for regulating tobacco and other consumer products; and (5) cancer and cardiovascular disease prevention.nnDr. Leventhal is also the Founding Director of the USC Institute for Addiction Science (USC-IAS; ias.usc.edu), a university-wide initiative that supports transdisciplinary science and education for a network of 40+ faculty addiction experts across 5 schools and colleges at USC.nnDr. Leventhal has authored over 200 peer-reviewed scientific articles, including publications in JAMA, New England Journal of Medicine, and other journals. His work has been covered by the Associated Press, NBC Nightly News, New York Times, and other media outlets. Dr. Leventhal is active in policy arenas, having served on expert panels on the health effects of e-cigarettes and tobacco products for the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the US Surgeon General. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Health Behavior and American Psychological Association and recipient of awards for early and mid-career contributions to science and mentoring. His personal interests include running, playing guitar, watching football, and spending time with friends and family.
Jessica Barrington-Trimis, PhD, MS, MA
Associate Professor of Population and Public Health Sciences, Director of the Division of Health Behavior Research
Early Career Faculty Development Group
About Jessica Barrington-Trimis, PhD, MS, MA
Dr. Barrington-Trimis is an epidemiologist and Assistant Professor of Population and Public Health Sciences at the University of Southern California. She directs the USC Epidemiology of Substance Use Research Group and is a faculty member in the USC Institute for Addiction Science and the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Barrington-Trimis’ research focuses on investigation of the rapidly changing tobacco and alternative tobacco landscape. Her work aims to identify intra-individual psychological, behavioral, and social processes associated with nicotine use in adolescence and early adulthood, and to elucidate the behavioral consequences (e.g., transition to more harmful patterns of substance use) and physiological consequences (e.g., adverse respiratory health effects of e-cigarette use) of varying patterns of nicotine product use in adolescence, with the goal of informing regulatory efforts to protect adolescents and young adults.
Lorraine Kelley-Quon, PhD
Assistant Professor of Surgery and Preventive Medicine
About Lorraine Kelley-Quon, PhD
Dr. Lorraine Kelley-Quon is an Assistant Professor of Surgery and Population and Public Health Sciences at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) and the University of Southern California. She obtained her B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology at the University of California, San Diego and completed her M.D. and General Surgery training at the University of California, Los Angeles followed by a fellowship in Pediatric Surgery at Nationwide Children’s Hospital at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. During residency, she completed the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program and obtained a Master’s in Health Services Research from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.
Dr. Kelley-Quon’s research interests include identifying and eliminating health care disparities for children, optimizing pediatric surgical health care delivery and translating health services research into health policy. In partnership with HEAL, she is developing a pilot project to explore postoperative opioid use in adolescents and identify predictors of use, abuse, diversion, and conversion to chronic use. Her goal is to create physician decision support tools to optimize opioid prescribing for children and to inform policy makers of prudent initiatives regarding pediatric opioid legislation.
Junhan Cho, PhD
Assistant Professor of Research Population and Public Health Sciences
About Junhan Cho, PhD
Dr. Junhan Cho is an Assistant Professor of Research in the Department of Preventive Medicine in the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. He is the Director of Methodology and Statistics for the USC-Health, Emotion, & Addiction Laboratory (USC-HEAL), which conducts interdisciplinary research on mental health problems and health-related behaviors. With a strong interest to develop advanced research methodologies, Dr. Cho’s research aims to address how diverse social contexts and psychological vulnerabilities intersect to increase risk of addictive behaviors. Based on his research background on Human Development and Family Science throughout master and doctoral programs, his studies incorporate both theoretical and methodological frameworks necessary to conducting longitudinal and prevention studies on youth health risk behaviors with a focus on the psychosocial processes influenced by family and community contexts. His current studies include: 1) developmental patterns of conjoint multiple health risk behaviors; 2) longitudinal risk and protective pathways linking early contextual stressors to mental health problems in adolescence; and 3) interaction of social contexts and biological factors influencing psychological vulnerability to addictive behaviors including substance use across adolescence and young adulthood.
About Melissa Wong
Melissa received her MS in Biostatistics from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a BA in Applied Mathematics. As a graduate student, Melissa gained extensive skills and knowledge involving the application of statistical methods in public health research. For her graduate thesis, she developed an application that allows users to dynamically implement and analyze substance use models. In her role as the statistician for HEAL, Melissa is responsible for data analysis for several projects.
Student Research Assistant
About Peiyao Li
Peiyao Li is a graduate student in Spatial Economics and Data Analysis program at the University of Southern California. In this program, she is involved in Spatial Analysis and Modeling project, studying the accessibility of San Francisco’s health care services. She is also interested in conducting research about the relationship of substance use and mental health. During her undergraduate time, she worked as an assistant of stock analyst in Topsperity Sercurities, Ltd. After obtaining her Master’s degree, Peiyao hopes to pursue a career in the real estate market as a data analyst. In her free time, she enjoys playing basketball and spending time with friends.
Postdoctoral Scholar – Research Associate
About Alyssa Harlow
Dr. Harlow is an epidemiologist and Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences at the University of Southern California and the USC Health, Emotion, and Addiction Laboratory. After receiving her BA in Biocultural Anthropology from the University of Washington (2011), Dr. Harlow moved to Cairns, Australia to conduct research on mental health and addiction among remote Indigenous communities in the Cape York Peninsula with James Cook University. She earned her MPH in Social and Behavioral Sciences and Epidemiology (2016), and her PhD in Epidemiology (2021) from the Boston University School of Public Health. During her doctoral program, Dr. Harlow received funding for her dissertation as a competitively funded fellow with the American Heart Association’s Tobacco Center for Regulatory Science (A-TRAC 2.0).
Dr. Harlow’s research applies novel epidemiologic methods and causal inference to better understand the determinants and health effects of tobacco-product and substance use behaviors and inform policy. She has extensive experience conducting longitudinal analyses with the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH), a large national cohort study on tobacco product use. Her research primarily falls under three domains, including (a) documenting disparities and identifying fundamental causes of disparities in tobacco use among vulnerable populations; (b) identifying determinants of product transitions (e.g., initiation, progression, cessation), including the impact of product characteristics on substance use behaviors; and (c) examining the physical health effects of tobacco-product and cannabis use, including cardiopulmonary and reproductive health outcomes.
About Saida Coreas
Saida Coreas is a PhD Student in the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences, at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. She graduated from California State University, Los Angeles in 2018 with a B.S in Public Health. She completed a 3-year (2018-2021) post-baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) fellowship at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland where she worked on research projects looking at racial/ethnic differences in tobacco product use patterns among U.S. adults, as well as relationships between cigarette smoking susceptibility and smoking initiation among U.S. youth. Other work includes investigating the relationship between acculturation and cardiometabolic risk factors among U.S. Latinos. Her research focuses on understanding how factors relating to social determinants of health influence tobacco use among minority populations. In her free time, Saida enjoys gardening, going on road trips, and spending time with friends and family.
About Reid Whaley
Reid Whaley is a doctoral student in the Health Behavior Research program in the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences, at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Reid graduated with a B.A. in Communication from the University of California, Santa Barbara and an MPH from the University of San Francisco. Previously, Reid was a research coordinator at USC-HEAL, helping to investigate the unique risk factors of nicotine and tobacco use and dependence. Reid’s other work includes projects investigating the various deleterious effects (e.g., substance use, anxiety, depression) of fear of violent victimization, violent crime, bullying, and discriminatory violence among university students, and the adverse behavioral risk outcomes among Latinx youth exposed to the juvenile justice system. Reid’s current research interests concern developing health messages to reduce tobacco consumption among youth and young adults, the connection between one’s social network and health risk behaviors, and, broadly, the appeal of public and behavioral health communication campaigns. In her free time, she enjoys exercising, trying new recipes, and exploring Los Angeles.
About Gina Klemm
Gina C. Klemm joined the HEAL team in January of 2020. Gina studied behavioural science, receiving a Master’s in Public Health from Emory University before joining the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University. As a Research Specialist at Cornell, Gina managed several overlapping multi-site, multi-year grants providing critical leadership and direction of day-to-day operations. Gina’s research focused on translational research to enhance the effectiveness of community-based programs for improving nutritional status, especially the integration of nutrition interventions with multisectoral strategies. As a project manager with HEAL, Gina oversees two cohort studies exploring e-cigarette (“vaping”) product preference and vaping’s causal role in subsequent cigarette and cannabis use among low-risk adolescents and young adults. More broadly, Gina is interested in work that looks critically at health disparities and low-cost, high impact approaches to strengthen health and educational systems. She is passionate about community-based research especially the crucial elements of reciprocity in the context of research-community partnerships and collaborations.
About Erika Azpeitia
Erika joined the USC HEAL team in April 2021. She received a B.S. degree in Molecular Environmental Biology from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master’s in Public Health degree from the University of Southern California. Prior to joining the HEAL team, Erika worked closely with adolescents at USC Student Health and a Federally Qualified Health Center before that. Her public health interests lie in adolescent health and addressing health disparities among disadvantaged youth and minority groups through healthcare access and health equity. As Project Specialist, Erika supports project operations, assists with data collection and study procedures for cohort studies focused on young adults, substance use, and emotional well-being. In her free time, she enjoys working out, hiking, reading, and sharing meals with friends and family.
About Gabrielle Lozoya
Gabi Lozoya graduated from the University of Southern California in 2018 with a B.S. in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and continued her education at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. As an undergraduate, Gabi developed an interest in diminishing health disparities while supporting a research project on health equity within reproductive healthcare and volunteering to teach health education to students in low income areas. These experiences, along with her coursework, allowed Gabi to find her passion for achieving health equity, especially for youth and racially and ethnically diverse populations. She is, also, curious about the intersect of policy and healthcare access and outcomes. Gabi hopes to expand on her knowledge and interests in the areas of addiction and mental health with USC HEAL. Outside of HEAL, you can find her reading, playing volleyball at the beach, or painting with friends.
About Margaret Canady
Margaret graduated from Harvard University in 2020 with a B.A. in Psychology. As an undergraduate, Margaret worked on a variety of research projects, ranging from conducting a dance therapy intervention with adolescents to supporting research focused on identity, emotion regulation, and self-destructive behaviors. Margaret’s research interests focus on understanding and implementing mental health treatment that is accessible, equitable, and inclusive, especially for marginalized populations and communities. Ultimately, Margaret plans to further her education by pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. In her free time, Margaret loves dancing/choreographing, reading, going to the beach, and exploring Los Angeles with friends.
Student Worker, Research
About Lilia Margaryan
Lilia is an undergraduate at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.A. in Health and the Human Sciences with minors in Spanish and Healthcare Studies, set to graduate in 2024. At USC, Lilia has been involved with JEP Tutoring for elementary kids, Colleges against Cancer, and the Armenian Student Association. She is currently the vice president for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and is an active member of the Health Sciences Education Program (HSEP), which is a club that presents on various health topics across schools in the LA area. After graduation, Lilia hopes to attend graduate school and pursue a career in healthcare. In her free time, Lilia enjoys hiking, baking, cooking, going out with friends, and spending time with family.
Ariana Coba Clementel
Undergraduate Research Assistant
About Ariana Coba Clementel
Ariana is an undergraduate student at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.S. in Human Biology and a minor in Health Care Studies, set to graduate in 2023. At USC, Ariana is an active member of The Helenes, an organization that supports the university community through acts of volunteerism, hospitality and service, and works as the General Chemistry SI Leader for USC. She also volunteers with Spanglish, where she teaches English to Spanish-speaking students in Peru, and volunteers weekly at the Orthopedic Institute for Children. In her free time, she leads backpacking trips for SCOutfitters, and enjoys lifting and practicing Taekwondo. After graduation, Ariana hopes to continue her education through medical school, and aspires to pursue a career in Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.
Undergraduate Research Assistant
About Gisselle Soto
Gisselle Soto is an undergraduate student at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.A. in Health and Human Sciences with a minor in Addiction Science set to graduate in 2023. At USC, Gisselle is the Spanish Curriculum Coordinator for Science Outreach (SCout), an organization that teaches science lessons to students at local elementary schools, and the community service chair for Hermanas Unidas de USC. She is also a research volunteer for the Better Together Dementia Care Study. After graduation, she hopes to attend medical school and pursue a career in pediatrics, where she hopes to be able to apply her knowledge of addiction in order to aid in prevention and rehabilitation efforts. In her free time, Gisselle enjoys watching baseball, going on walks with her dog, trying new coffee shops, and spending time with friends and family.
Undergraduate Research Assistant
About Max Hartshorn
Max Hartshorn is an undergraduate student at the University of Southern California, pursuing a B.A. in Psychology, set to graduate in 2023. He transferred from De Anza College in Cupertino, California, where he obtained his A.A. in Liberal Arts with an emphasis in arts and letters. Currently, his plans are to go to graduate school and obtain a master’s degree in school psychology or mental health counseling. Outside of HEAL, Max is involved in Innovative Design, a design club at USC, where he currently serves as the Vice President of Internals as well as a member of the photography team. In his spare time, Max enjoys playing guitar, practicing photography, collecting vinyl records, and making daily coffee runs.
Student Research Assistant
About Hana Choi
Hana Choi is an undergraduate at the University of Southern California, pursuing a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Occupational Science, set to graduate in 2023. At USC, she is a member of the Korean American Student Association, as well as the National Alliance on Mental Illness. After graduating, she hopes to pursue a career related to child developmental psychology. In her spare time, she enjoys going on night drives and eating delicious foods with her family and friends.
Student Research Assistant
About Hannah Amobi
Hannah is a junior at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.S. in Health and Human Sciences and a minor in Dynamics of Early Childhood, set to graduate in 2024. At USC, Hannah is an active member of USC Science Outreach, an organization that teaches science experiments to at elementary schools in the USC area. She has a passion for working with children and also volunteers at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. In her free time, she enjoys playing badminton, going on hikes, and spending time with her friends and family. After graduation, Hannah hopes to continue her education in dental school, and aspires to pursue a career in Pediatric Dentistry.