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Alice Cepeda, PhD

TitleAssociate Professor of Social Work, Dept. of Adult Mental Health and Wellness
InstitutionUniversity of Southern California
DepartmentSocial Work
AddressATT T1400
Off Campus
Los Angeles CA 90089-1400
Phone+1 213 821 6464
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    Alice Cepeda is currently an assistant professor in the School of Social Work. She was previously in the Department of Sociology and associate director of the Center for Drug and Social Policy Research at the University of Houston. She received her doctoral degree from the City University of New York, Graduate Center.

    Her work has focused on the social epidemiology of drug use and the related health risk behaviors that disproportionately affect urban Mexican-origin minority populations, including violence, HIV/STI infection risks and mental health conditions. Cepeda’s research has also highlighted the unique gendered experiences encountered by females within this cultural context. Her research publications have explored the complex of social determinants, including familial, neighborhood and socio-ecological factors that contribute to drug use and negative social and health outcomes among vulnerable minority populations.

    Cepeda has been a recipient of several federal National Institutes of Health grants. She is currently principal investigator and co-investigator, respectively, on two National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded studies: one examining the long-term health consequences of adolescent gang membership and one on the emergence and diffusion of crack use in Mexico City. Cepeda has also been a multiple recipient and scholar of the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities Loan Repayment Program.

    She received the 2010 National Award of Excellence in Research by a New Investigator from the National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse based on her outstanding research and publication in the field of Hispanic drug abuse. She was also a recipient of the 2010 Junior Scholar Award presented by the Drinking and Drugs Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems. Cepeda is currently chair of the Early Career Leadership Committee for the National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse.


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    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help.
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    1. Cepeda A, Nowotny KM, Frankeberger J, Onge JMS, Valdez A. Biological Risk and Infection Profiles of Young Adult Male Mexican American Gang Members. Public Health Rep. 2018 Aug 01; 33354918782495. PMID: 30067450.
      View in: PubMed
    2. Mendoza-Meléndez MÁ, Cepeda A, Frankeberger J, López-Macario M, Valdez A. History of child sexual abuse among women consuming illicit substances in Mexico City. J Subst Use. 2018; 23(5):520-527. PMID: 30393464.
      View in: PubMed
    3. Nowotny KM, Frankeberger J, Rodriguez VE, Valdez A, Cepeda A. Behavioral, Psychological, Gender, and Health Service Correlates to Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 Infection among Young Adult Mexican-American Women Living in a Disadvantaged Community. Behav Med. 2018 Mar 20; 1-10. PMID: 29558260.
      View in: PubMed
    4. Nowotny KM, Perdue T, Cepeda A, Valdez A. Mental health of heroin users with differing injection drug use histories: A non-treatment sample of Mexican American young adult men. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2017 Dec 01; 181:124-131. PMID: 29054031.
      View in: PubMed
    5. Bazzi AR, Mogro-Wilson C, Negi NJ, Gonzalez JMR, Cano MÁ, Castro Y, Cepeda A. Developing scientists in Hispanic substance use and health disparities research through the creation of a national mentoring network. Mentor Tutoring. 2017; 25(2):151-165. PMID: 28804254.
      View in: PubMed
    6. Cepeda A, Frankeberger J, Bailey JL, Nowotny KM, Natera-Rey G, Valdez A. HIV and STI knowledge, testing, and risk among adult crack users in Mexico city: baseline findings from a feasibility study. AIDS Care. 2017 Mar; 29(3):350-354. PMID: 27832703.
      View in: PubMed
    7. Valdez A, Nowotny KM, Negi N, Mora EZ, Cepeda A. Un Jalón, Un Volteón, y Otra Vez: High-Risk Crack Smoking Paraphernalia in México City. J Psychoactive Drugs. 2016 Sep-Oct; 48(4):295-302. PMID: 27356211.
      View in: PubMed
    8. Cepeda A, Nowotny KM, Frankeberger J, Valdez A. Precocious transitions and long-term heroin use outcomes: A longitudinal study of gang-affiliated Mexican-American males. Addict Behav. 2016 09; 60:48-52. PMID: 27092995; PMCID: PMC4884489 [Available on 09/01/17].
    9. Nowotny KM, Cepeda A, James-Hawkins L, Boardman JD. Growing Old Behind Bars: Health Profiles of the Older Male Inmate Population in the United States. J Aging Health. 2016 Sep; 28(6):935-56. PMID: 26553724.
      View in: PubMed
    10. Cepeda A, Nowotny KM, Valdez A. Injecting Drug Use Among Mexican Female Sex Workers on the US-Mexico Border. J Ethn Subst Abuse. 2015 Oct-Dec; 14(4):351-63. PMID: 26211392.
      View in: PubMed
    11. Cepeda A, Saint Onge JM, Nowotny KM, Valdez A. Associations Between Long-Term Gang Membership and Informal Social Control Processes, Drug Use, and Delinquent Behavior Among Mexican American Youth. Int J Offender Ther Comp Criminol. 2016 Oct; 60(13):1532-48. PMID: 25979430.
      View in: PubMed
    12. Cepeda A, Nowotny KM, Valdez A. Trajectories of Aging Long-Term Mexican American Heroin Injectors: The "Maturing Out" Paradox. J Aging Health. 2016 Feb; 28(1):19-39. PMID: 25953814.
      View in: PubMed
    13. Valdez A, Kaplan C, Nowotny KM, Natera-Rey G, Cepeda A. Emerging patterns of crack use in Mexico City. Int J Drug Policy. 2015 Aug; 26(8):739-45. PMID: 26003928; PMCID: PMC4499486.
    14. Cepeda A, Nowotny KM. A border context of violence: Mexican female sex workers on the U.S.-Mexico border. Violence Against Women. 2014 Dec; 20(12):1506-31. PMID: 25409891.
      View in: PubMed
    15. Saint Onge JM, Cepeda A, Lee King PA, Valdez A. The relationship between trajectories of family/cultural stressors and depression and suicidal ideation among substance using Mexican-American adults. Am J Community Psychol. 2013 Dec; 52(3-4):263-72. PMID: 23904175.
      View in: PubMed
    16. Volkmann T, Fraga MA, Brodine SK, Iñiguez-Stevens E, Cepeda A, Elder JP, Garfein RS. Drug-scene familiarity and exposure to gang violence among residents in a rural farming community in Baja California, Mexico. Glob Public Health. 2013; 8(1):65-78. PMID: 23072623; PMCID: PMC3549003.
    17. Cepeda A, Kaplan C, Neaigus A, Cano MÁ, Villarreal Y, Valdez A. Injecting transition risk and depression among Mexican American non-injecting heroin users. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2012 Sep; 125 Suppl 1:S12-7. PMID: 22749681; PMCID: PMC4451197.
    18. Guerrero EG, Cepeda A, Duan L, Kim T. Disparities in completion of substance abuse treatment among Latino subgroups in Los Angeles County, CA. Addict Behav. 2012 Oct; 37(10):1162-6. PMID: 22658303.
      View in: PubMed
    19. Valdez A, Neaigus A, Kaplan C, Cepeda A. High rates of transitions to injecting drug use among Mexican American non-injecting heroin users in San Antonio, Texas (never and former injectors). Drug Alcohol Depend. 2011 Apr 01; 114(2-3):233-6. PMID: 21075561; PMCID: PMC3060287.
    20. Valdez A, Cepeda A, Negi NJ, Kaplan C. Fumando la piedra: emerging patterns of crack use among Latino immigrant day laborers in New Orleans. J Immigr Minor Health. 2010 Oct; 12(5):737-42. PMID: 19924538; PMCID: PMC3001040.
    21. Cepeda A, Valdez A. Ethnographic strategies in the tracking and retention of street-recruited community-based samples of substance using hidden populations in longitudinal studies. Subst Use Misuse. 2010 Apr; 45(5):700-16. PMID: 20222780; PMCID: PMC3003425.
    22. Cepeda A, Saint Onge JM, Kaplan C, Valdez A. The association between disaster-related experiences and mental health outcomes among drug using African American Hurricane Katrina evacuees. Community Ment Health J. 2010 Dec; 46(6):612-20. PMID: 20091228; PMCID: PMC2919598.
    23. Cepeda A, Valdez A, Kaplan C, Hill LE. Patterns of substance use among hurricane Katrina evacuees in Houston, Texas. Disasters. 2010 Apr; 34(2):426-46. PMID: 19863564; PMCID: PMC3008163.
    24. Valdez A, Cepeda A, Kaplan C. Homicidal Events Among Mexican American Street Gangs: A Situational Analysis. Homicide Stud. 2009 Sep 01; 13(3):288-306. PMID: 21218188.
      View in: PubMed
    25. Valdez A, Cepeda A, Neaigus A, Russell A. Heroin transition risk among daily and non-daily cannabis users who are non-injectors of heroin. Int J Drug Policy. 2008 Dec; 19(6):442-9. PMID: 19038723; PMCID: PMC3008164.
    26. Valdez A, Neaigus A, Cepeda A. Potential risk factors for injecting among Mexican American non-injecting heroin users. J Ethn Subst Abuse. 2007; 6(2):49-73. PMID: 18192204; PMCID: PMC2621113.
    27. Valdez A, Kaplan CD, Cepeda A. The drugs-violence nexus among Mexican-American gang members. J Psychoactive Drugs. 2006 Jun; 38(2):109-21. PMID: 16903450; PMCID: PMC3015236.
    28. Cepeda A, Valdez A. Risk Behaviors Among Young Mexican American Gang-Associated Females: Sexual Relations, Partying, Substance Use, and Crime. J Adolesc Res. 2003 Jan 01; 18(1):90-106. PMID: 21218177.
      View in: PubMed
    29. Valdez A, Kaplan CD, Cepeda A. The process of paradoxical autonomy and survival in the heroin careers of Mexican American women. Contemp Drug Probl. 2000; 27:189. PMID: 21057594.
      View in: PubMed