UH Researcher Receives National Award of Excellence in Research

The National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse awarded the National Award of Excellence in Research by a New Investigator to Alice Cepeda, sociology professor and associate director of the Center for Drug and Social Policy Research, Graduate College of Social Work, University of Houston.  Cepeda will be honored Sept. 30 at the organization's annual conference in New Orleans.

The National Award of Excellence in Research by a New Investigator is presented for outstanding research and/or publication in the field of Hispanic drug abuse. The candidate must be a postdoctoral student (within five years of completing doctorate). Cepeda received the award based on her scientific contributions to the field of drug use among Hispanic populations.  

"Dr. Cepeda's cutting-edge epidemiological research has substantively added to the knowledge base regarding social context and high risk behavior associated to drug use and abuse among Latinos," said Nalini Negi, assistant professor, University of Maryland School of Social Work. "Among her many research accomplishments, Dr. Cepeda obtained $4 million in external research funding (along with Drs. Avelardo Valdez and Charles D. Kaplan, also at the University of Houston) in 2008 as principal investigator for ‘At Risk Hispanic Gangs: Long Term Consequences for HIV, Hepatitis and STI.' There is no doubt that her work will continue to have important policy and public health implications aimed to improve the lives of Latinos."

Cepeda's work has been funded through external support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Her research has focused on the social epidemiology of drug use among disadvantaged populations including undocumented Latino day laborers, Hurricane Katrina evacuees, and sex workers on the U.S./Mexico border. Recently, her research has expanded to understand risk behaviors associated with drug use that have been linked to social and health consequences including HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. She is currently working on a NIDA-funded research study focused on the influence of social networks among aging Mexican American injecting heroin users.

Cepeda received a Ph.D. in sociology from City University of New York in 2004. She graduated from The University of Texas at San Antonio with a M.S. in sociology in 1999 and a B.A. in sociology in 1995.

Earlier this year she received the 2010 Junior Scholar Award from the Drinking and Drugs Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems.

For more information about the award, visit http://nhsn.med.miami.edu/x7.xml


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