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About Us



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BBGS e-Screener


20th Anniversary


Other Division web sites:


Expressions of Addiction

The Transparency Project

About the Division on Addiction

Our Mission

The mission of the Division on Addiction (the Division) at the Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital, is to strengthen worldwide understanding of addiction through innovative research, education, and the global exchange of information. The ultimate goal of the Division is to alleviate the social, medical, and economic burdens caused by addictive behaviors. The Division provides a message of compassion, tolerance, acceptance, and hope and offers encouragement, education, and training to clinicians and practitioners who treat clients with addictive disorders and to scientists who study addiction. In addition, the Division provides relevant, up-to-date addiction-related information to public policy makers as well as the general public.

Division on Addiction Overview

In 1990, a Harvard Medical School (HMS) planning committee recommended the creation of a Division on Addiction to direct the school's educational, medical and scientific resources toward alleviating the vast and complex array of public heath problems caused by addictive behaviors. It assigned the Division the task of coordinating research, education, training, and communication relevant to substance abuse at HMS and its primary affiliated teaching hospitals.

Presently, the Division is deepening and broadening its scope both within and outside the university. The Division provides a critical link between HMS students, the clinical and research scientists at Harvard, other medical education communities, and the lay public. Through its continuing medical education, faculty development courses, research collaborations with other HMS and non-HMS faculty, and fellowship training program, the Division is having a meaningful influence on the public health and medical communities. Further, The Division is reaching additional communities through its public forums, public education activities, middle school curriculum development and high school student internship program.

The Division’s work has resulted in groundbreaking psychiatric epidemiological research concerning addictive behavior. Division faculty members have published hundreds of scholarly publications that are advancing our understanding of addiction. Most notably, Division researchers proposed the ‘Syndrome Model’ to help explain the trajectory of addictive behavior (Shaffer, LaPlante, Kidman, Donato, & Stanton, 2004). This system of classification incorporates the risk factors and consequences common to all addictions, and simultaneously accounts for the elements that distinguish various forms of addiction from one another.

Faculty and Staff


Howard J. Shaffer, Ph.D., Director, Division on Addiction; Morris E. Chafetz Associate Professor in Psychiatry in the Field of Behavioral Sciences (Click here to read more...)


Debi LaPlante, Ph.D., Director of Research and Academic Affairs, Division on Addiction, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School (Click here to read more...)


  • Mark Albanese, M.D., Director, Addiction Services, Cambridge Health Alliance

  • Jeanne Blake, Medical Reporter, Author, and Affiliated Faculty member, Division on Addiction (Click here to read more...)

  • Julia Braverman, Ph.D., Consultant, Division on Addiction

  • Tasha Chandler, Senior Grant and Contract Consultant, Division on Addiction (Click here to read more...)

  • Alec Conte, Research Coordinator

  • Peter Emerson, M.P.A., Administrative Associate

  • Gregory P. Gasic, Ph.D., Associate Director for Neuroscience & Genetics

  • Vanessa Goldstein, Research Coordinator

  • Heather Gray, Ph.D., Associate Director of Academic Affairs, Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School (Click here to read more...)

  • Scarvel Harris, Technical Research Analyst and Programmer

  • Layne Keating, Research Coordinator

  • John H. Kleschinsky, M.P.H., Project Manager

  • John R. Knight, M.D., Associate Director for Medical Education

  • Sarah Nelson, Ph.D., Associate Director for Research, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School (Click here to read more...)

  • Matthew Tom, Research Data Analyst

  • Tauheed Zaman, MD, Contributor for CARS (Click here to read more about CARS.)

Visiting Faculty, Scholars, and Postdoctoral Fellows:

  • 2016 - Anjali Talcherkar, Ph.D candidate of Integrative Medicine, Saybrook University; Division on Addiction Summer Mentee

  • 2015 - Luke Downey, Ph.D., NH & MRC Research Fellow, Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, Swinburne University of Technology; Visiting Research Fellow, Swansea University; Visiting Faculty, Division on Addiction

  • 2014 - Douglas M. Walker, Ph.D., Professor of Economics, College of Charleston; Visiting Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School academic appointment at the Division on Addiction

  • 2012 - 2014 Jakob Linnet, Ph.D., M.A., Licensed Clinical Psychologist; Head of Research Clinic on Gambling Disorders, Aarhus University Hospital; Associate Professor, Aarhus University; Visiting Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School academic appointment at the Division on Addiction; 2015 Division on Addiction affiliated faculty

  • 2012 - Guo Song, Ph.D., Head of Research, National Addictions Management Service/Addiction Medicine Department, Institute of Mental Health, Singapore; Adjunct Assistant Professor, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore; Lecturer, Yang Lu Ling Medical School, National University of Singapore

  • 2011 - Tuuli Lahti, Ph.D., Senior Researcher, Adjunct Professor, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland

  • 2010 - Heather Wardle, Research Director, Health and Wellbeing Group, National Centre for Social Research (NatCen); Project Director, British Gambling Prevalence Survey 2010

  • 2009 - Simon Planzer, Attorney at Law, MLaw, M.A., Lecturer of Law, University of St. Gallen (Switzerland); Visiting Researcher, Harvard Law School; Visiting Scholar, Division on Addiction

  • 2008 - 2010 Ryan J. Martin, Ph.D., Thomas N. Cummings Postdoctoral Fellow

  • 2005 – 2006 Professor Tae Kyung Lee, M.D., Ph.D., Alcohol and Drug Addiction Center, Seoul National Hospital, Seoul, South Korea

  • 2004 - 2006 Professor Valerie DeMarinis, Stockholm Centre for Dependency Studies/The Karolinska Institute Stockholm Sweden

  • 1998 - 2001 Richard McGowan, SJD, Professor of Economics, Boston College

  • 1997 - 1998 David Korn, M.D., University of Toronto

Click here to learn more about our Visiting Scholars Program.

Young Scholars:

  • 2016 - Anjali Talcherkar, 

  • 2015 - Kelly Chen, Undergraduate Summer Research Mentee, Williams College

  • 2015 - Michelle Lin, Undergraduate Summer Research Mentee, Skidmore College

  • 2013 - Melanie Mitchell, Undergraduate Summer Research Mentee, Bridgewater State University

  • 2012 - Than Finan, Young Scholar, Williams College

  • 2012 - Elisha Thapa, University of Massachusetts Amherst

  • 2010, 2011 - Aaron Lim, Young Scholar, Williams College

  • 2009 - Katerina Belkin, Young Scholar, Williams College

  • 2009 - Theresa Kelliher, Young Scholar, Boston University

  • 2007 - 2008 Line Gebauer Josefsen, Young Scholar, Center for Functionally Integrative Neuroscience, Aarhus University, Denmark

  • 2006 - Andrew Boudreau, Young Scholar, Johns Hopkins University

Division on Addiction Advisory Board

Linda B. Cottler, Ph.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.E.
Dean's Professor and Founding Chair, College of Medicine and College of Public Health and Health Professions
Associate Dean for Research, College of Public Health and Health Professions
Professor, Department of Psychiatry
University of Florida

Joseph T. Coyle, M.D.
Eben S. Draper Professor of Psychiatry
Harvard Medical School

Jeff Derevensky, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology
Director, International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-risk Behaviors
McGill University

Barry Kosofsky, M.D., Ph.D.
Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Professor of Pediatrics
Chief, Division of Pediatric Neurology
Director, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Laboratory of Molecular and Developmental Neuroscience
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center

Robert Ladouceur, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology
Université Laval

Eileen Luna Firebaugh, J.D., M.P.A.
Associate Professor of American Indian Studies
University of Arizona, Tucson

Brian McKay, J.D.
Former Nevada Attorney General

Richard McGowan, S.J.
Associate Professor of the Practice - Finance Department
Boston College

Lisa M. Najavits, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry
Boston University School of Medicine
Adjunct Professor
University of Massachusetts Medical School

Eric Turner
Waban Consulting

Charles F. Wellford, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice
University of Maryland

Ken C. Winters, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor (affiliated)
Department of Psychiatry
University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Harold Wynne, Ph.D.
Wynne Resources, Ltd.

Past Members

Mark Appelbaum, Ph.D.
Associate Vice Chancellor
Professor of Psychology
University of California, San Diego

William Eadington, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics
Director, Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming
University of Nevada, Reno

Herbert D. Kleber, M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

David C. Lewis, M.D.
Professor of Medicine
Brown University
Project Director
Physician Leadership on National Drug Policy

© Division on Addiction. All Rights Reserved. Last Updated:  September 09, 2016