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Youth and Family Research Program

About the Staff

   Brooke Molina, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh and Director of the Youth and Research Program.  She is also a licensed clinical psychologist in Pennsylvania.  Dr. Molina's research interests are in the long-term course and treatment of behavior problems, alcoholism, and drug abuse among youth and young adults.  She has been federally funded to conduct research on these topics since 1995 when she and Dr. William E. Pelham initially began collaborating on a longitudinal study of children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  That project, the Pittsburgh ADHD Longitudinal Study (PALS), is following a large group of children with and without ADHD into early adulthood.  The study is positioned to address a wide range of questions about ADHD and the factors that affect long-term outcomes.  Dr. Molina is also an investigator on the longitudinal follow-up of the multi-site Multimodal Treatment of ADHD Study (MTA), and on the Tween to Teen Study.

The Tween to Teen Study is a long-term follow-up study of children in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.  It is funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)Dr. John Donovan is the Principal Investigator.  The goal of this study is to examine a range of factors in the child's life that may affect later alcohol consumption.  Development of these factors is of particular interest to inform future efforts toward preventing alcohol problems in youth and adults.

Dr. Molina also researches treatments for ADHD, other behavior problems, and substance abuse among youth and young adults.

Selected Publications of Dr. Brooke Molina

   Oscar Bukstein, M.D., M.P.H., Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and Chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Texas at Houston.  He has published extensively on the topic of adolescent alcohol and other drug use disorders, including a single-authored book on adolescent substance use disorders.  He has considerable experience in the treatment of adolescents with comorbid substance use disorders and psychiatric disorders and is especially interested in treatment research on adolescents with comorbid substance use problems and ADHD.

Dr. Bukstein was a member of the work group of the American Psychiatric Association that developed the "Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Substance Use Disorders:  Alcohol, Cocaine, Opioids".  He was primary author of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry's "Practice Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Adolescent Substance Use Disorders" (AACAP, 1997).  Currently he is co-chair of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry's Work Group on Quality Issues that develops practice parameters or treatment guidelines for mental health professionals.  He was the director of the clinical core of the Pittsburgh Adolescent Alcohol Research Center funded by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) where he was responsible for recruitment and assessment of adolescent participants.  Dr. Bukstein was also the medical director of the Appalachian Tri-State Node of the Clinical Trials Network funded by National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Dr. Bukstein continues to provide oversight to the TOSCA Study that he began before leaving the University of Pittsburgh in October 2010.

Selected Publications of Dr. Oscar Bukstein

Srihari Bangalore, M.D., M.P.H., Assistant Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh.  Dr. Bangalore is the medical director for the ADHD Specialty Treatment Program at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, as well as the medical director for the Youth and Family Research Program.  He is actively involved in clinical and academic activities, as well as teaching child fellows and psychiatry residents.  Dr. Bangalore was the recipient of the NARSAD Young Investigator Award for 2009.

Selected Publications of Dr. Srihari Bangalore

   Michael Marshal, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh.  His research interests include identifying risk and protective factors for the development of substance use and abuse during adolescence.  Dr. Marshal has received numerous competitive federal training grants from National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).  Dr. Marshal is currently conducting the Longitudinal Emerging Adulthood Program  Study(LEAP), a study about longitudinal patterns of substance use and mental health as youth transition into young-adulthood. 

Dr. Marshal and his research staff are also conducting two pilot studies (the GEM and SMYL studies) that seek to describe and understand the health and wellness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth.

Selected Publications of Dr. Michael Marshal

   Sarah Pedersen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh.   Dr. Pedersen was appointed to the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh in 2012.  Her clinical and research interests are broadly focused in the area of addictive behaviors.  During her graduate work at the University of Missouri and her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Dr. Pedersen conducted research on individual differences in predictors of heavy alcohol use.  Dr. Pedersen has continued this line of research and expanded it to include the examination of decisions and experiences made within a drinking event and racial differences on these constructs.  Specifically, the majority of her current research focuses on understanding how and why the alcohol risk process may differ for African Americans compared to the majority culture. 

Dr. Pedersen was recently awarded a 5-year Career Development Award from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) designed to use both laboratory and naturalistic assessment techniques to investigative the links between behavioral disinhibition and response to alcohol in order to further examine pathways of risk for African American drinkers. 

Selected Publications of Dr. Sarah Pedersen

   Tracey Wilson, Program Coordinator is a graduate of Penn State University and has worked in the mental health field for more than 25 years as a therapist, a consultant, and since 1989, as the coordinator of the ADHD Program.  From 1989-1996, she coordinated the ADHD Clinical Program, including the Children's Summer Day Treatment Program.  Since 1996, Tracey has been the coordinator of the ADHD Research Program, the predecessor of the Youth and Family Research Program.  Since 1999, Tracey has also coordinated PALS. 

Tracey particularly enjoys the opportunity to work with a great group of highly motivated staff and being able to maintain long-term relationships with participants in our longitudinal research, especially summer program families.

In 2010, Tracey was named Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic's "Research Staff Person of the Year" and was selected to received a UPMC "Award for Commitment and Excellence in Service" (ACES).

   Heidi Kipp, M.Ed., L.P.C., Clinical Coordinator received both her Bachelor of Science and a Master of Education degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and is a Licensed Professional Counselor.  She currently coordinates the program's Clinical Trials investigating treatments for ADHD and she continues to provide oversight to the Preschool Study.  Heidi has been with our program since the summer of 1991 where she started as an undergraduate counselor in the Summer Treatment Program.

Heidi enjoys spending her free time with her two daughters - Jordan and Riley.


Montaya Dawkins, Research Associate graduated from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She currently works on the Young Adult Diversion Study. As an undergraduate, she worked as a student researcher in the Neuropsychology lab at North Carolina A&T.  She also worked as a research assistant in the Speech Perception & Learning lab at Carnegie Mellon University. When she’s not working, she loves spending time with her family and church family, and she loves to encourage young people in local communities.            

   Tara Draper, Research Principal received her Bachelor of Arts in Applied Psychology from  Pennsylvania State University - Beaver Campus and her Master of Science in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh.  She has worked in the field of children's mental health and early intervention for many years.  Tara enjoys working on PALS because she is always learning something new.

   Kelly Glew, B.S., Research Project Coordinator graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology.  Kelly previously coordinated the MTA Study and will be coordinating one of Dr. Molina’s recently funded studies for adults with ADHD. In her free time she enjoys photography, crafts, yoga, walking her dogs, and volunteering for local animal rescues.

   Jason Duin, Senior Research Associate graduated from Geneva College with a Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Psychology.  He is an interviewer with PALS and with Dr. Marshal's LEAP, GEM, and SMYL studies.  He has been with PALS since it started in 1999.  He has enjoyed working at the Youth and Family Research Program because of interacting with the great staff and interacting and interviewing the PALS and LEAP families over the years.  He enjoys cooking, reading, and especially traveling.

Jess Perez

Jess Perez, Research  Associate graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Harvard University, and currently works on the APE study.  Prior to joining APES, Jess worked in marketing research and served as a student mental health liaison in college.  When not working, Jess enjoys reading, playing tennis, and biking.


Michelle Shultz, M.H.S., Project Coordinator received her Master's degree focused in International Health and Human Nutrition from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences.  Michelle coordinates Dr. Marshal's LEAP Study and assists with his pilot GEM and SMYL Studies.  In her free time she enjoys cooking, running, practicing Bikram yoga, and camping/hiking.

  Kellie Spontak, Research Project Assistant graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology.  While an undergraduate, she worked for Dr. Molina on the pilot study that was the predecessor to PALS.  She has worked on PALS since its inception - assisting with locating Summer Treatment Program (STP) families, recruiting subjects, and compiling the study questionnaires.  Kellie conducts PALS interviews and oversees tracking the retention status of all participants for each year of participation.

   Alaina Tiani, Research Associate graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. As an undergraduate student, Alaina completed directed research in the MR Hyper Study lab under Dr. Richard Jennings, worked as an undergraduate research assistant on the Pittsburgh Girls Study, and volunteered as a research assistant under Dr. Martica Hall on the Sleep in Midlife Women study at the University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychiatry Sleep and Chronobiology Center in WPIC. Alaina’s research interests include health and biological psychology and behaviors.



   Carol Walker Hundiak, Administrative Specialist Carol joined our lab in 1993 while under the direction of Dr. William Pelham as part of the MTA Study Team (The Multimodal Treatment of ADHD Study). This large multisite study was designed to evaluate the leading treatments for ADHD, including behavior therapy, medications, and the combination of the two.  Currently, Carol provides administrative support to several of Dr. Molina’s studies, edits the PALS (The Pittsburgh ADHD Longitudinal Study) quarterly newsletter, maintains the program’s electronic repository of scientific publications and serves as our program computer network administrator.  Carol enjoys spending her free time with her family and watching her son’s baseball games.



   Sarah White, Research Specialist  earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Carlow University, where she worked as a data analyst for the Department of Institutional Research and Effectiveness. She currently works on two of Dr. Pedersen’s alcohol administration studies: ACE and APES. Outside of WPIC, Sarah is currently working on a Master of Arts in Psychology Chatham University, and is involved in qualitative research on the Black/African American community and LGB acceptance. Her research interests include psychopathology, moods and behaviors.


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