Project Staff

Principal Investigator Amy Mericle, PhD
Dr. Mericle is a scientist at the Alcohol Research Group, a project of the Public Health Institute. She focuses on addiction health services research, highlighting the gaps in the substance use treatment delivery system and examining innovative approaches to increase access to and improve the quality and availability of substance use treatment and recovery support services. She completed graduate studies at the University of Michigan and the University of Chicago as well as post-doctoral studies at the University of California, San Francisco. In addition to leading her own studies and collaborating with other ARG Scientists on theirs, she also serves on the PHI IRB and the Board of Directors for the National Alliance for Recovery Residences.

Co-Investigator Lee Ann Kaskutas, PhD
Lee Ann Kaskutas is a senior scientist at ARG who holds a doctorate in public health from UC Berkeley. Since starting at ARG in 1990, Dr. Kaskutas’ overarching professional interest has been to find solutions to alcohol-related problems that do not require professionally trained individuals for implementation. She had led numerous NIH-funded studies examining mutual aid/self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, peer support, social networks, community-based treatment, helping behaviors, spirituality, 12-step facilitation, recovery, and feedback about alcohol consumption.

Co-Investigator Katherine Karriker-Jaffe, PhD
As a senior scientist at the Alcohol Research Group (ARG), Dr. Karriker-Jaffe focuses on the contribution of the social context to alcohol and other drug use, misuse, social consequences and dependence. Dr. Karriker-Jaffe received her doctorate from the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and then completed a three-year post-doctoral research fellowship with ARG. She has led numerous NIH-funded projects that include work on neighborhood, peer and family (including genetic) influences on alcohol use disorders and testing a socioecological model of relapse and recovery from alcohol problems. She currently co-directs the U.S. National Alcohol Survey Resources Core with Thomas K. Greenfield.

Senior Consultant Jason Howell, MBA 
Jason Howell is a person in long-term recovery from mental health and substance use issues. He has an MBA from Texas A&M University and is a Peer Recovery Specialist and state approved trainer. Howell is the Executive Director of RecoveryPeople, a 501c3 nonprofit committed to supporting peer-led recovery by: connecting people, communities and resources; building the capacity of recovery workforce and support services, and shaping recovery policy and program development. Howell is also a founder and the former Board President of the National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR). He is a national speaker and has co-authored several journal published articles including Maximizing social model principles in residential recovery settings. Jason serves as a member of the Texas Health and Human Service Commission’s Behavioral Health Advisory Committee, Block Grant Committee and Ad Hoc Housing Committee and serves as a member of SAMHSA CSAT National Advisory Council.
Biostatistician Meenakshi Sabina Subbaraman, PhD
Dr. Subbaraman is a member of ARG’s biostatistics core. Her primary research interests are methods for determining mechanisms of action, the intersection of cannabis and alcohol co-use, and treatment for alcohol use disorders. She has contributed to dozens of NIAAA-funded studies, and currently acts as Biostatistician on several projects related to cannabis and alcohol policies. Dr. Subbaraman was also the primary investigator of an NIAAA-funded study aiming to examine how cannabis use affects alcohol treatment outcomes. She completed her MS in statistics at Stanford University, PhD in epidemiology at UC Berkeley, and postdoctoral studies at both UC Berkeley and Brown University. Dr. Subbaraman received the first-ever “Methodological Advances from the Next Generation of Epidemiologists” award from Society for Epidemiologic Research for her dissertation work.
Biostatistician LIbo Li, PhD
Dr. Li is also a member of ARG’s biostatistics core. He completed his doctoral work at the University of California, Los Angeles where he studied measurement and psychometrics. He has extensive experience in methodological development and evaluation of advanced models for social and behavioral research (e.g., competing risk survival analysis, structural equation modeling, generalized linear mixed modeling, multilevel modeling, and marginal structural modeling), traditional and item response theory approaches to measurement, and application of new methods to data analysis (e.g., investigation of recovery from illicit drug abuse using recurrent event analysis).
Project Coordinator Laya Cooperman, MPH
Laya Cooperman is a research associate III at the Alcohol Research Group. She received her BA in psychology from the University of Maryland, and her MPH with a concentration in epidemiology from the University of California, Davis. She has previously coordinated evaluations of child welfare and violence prevention programs, as well as studies on tobacco and transportation safety policy.

Research Associate Deidre Patterson, MPH
Deidre Patterson is a research associate IV at the Alcohol Research Group. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Brooklyn College (CUNY) and her MPH in Community Health from Hunter College (CUNY). She works on diverse topics including economic conditions and alcohol problems and alcohol-related problem and consumption measurement. Other research interests include ethnic variation in drinking behavior, disparities in alcohol behaviors and treatment, as well as cultural and community effects on alcohol drinking patterns. Prior to joining ARG, Deidre worked at the Cancer Prevention Institute supporting research on life exposures, pubertal development, and cancer risk in adulthood and at Cancer Care (New York), working as a research assistant on studies looking at side effects of cancer treatment, as well as social networks and support systems for patients.