Dr. Melissa Abadi is a Senior Research Scientist and Center Director at the PIRE Louisville Center. She received her Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Kentucky in 2006. During her doctoral program, Dr. Abadi worked on NIDA-funded studies that assessed the effectiveness of prevention messages and interventions, looking at the impact of different personality traits and individual characteristics as well as the impact of varying message design characteristics on youth and young adult populations.
Dr. Abadi joined PIRE in 2006 as an Associate Research Scientist. Since then, she has successfully managed and directed field research in various areas of health, effectively collaborating with multidisciplinary research teams and state agencies, law enforcement, coalitions, schools and universities, local nonprofits, medical offices, hospitals, and health agencies.
Dr. Abadi’s key research focus is on the role of social-environmental factors and situational contexts on substance use-related attitudes, intentions, and behaviors, particularly among vulnerable populations. She has successfully directed large and rigorous research projects with hard to reach populations, including rural populations and youth and young adult populations. She has been a Project Director or Principal Investigator on several studies that focus on developing and evaluating messages, intervention materials, training materials and course curriculum. Her studies have included use of qualitative and quantitative methods, and Dr. Abadi has a great deal of experience developing instruments, recruiting, and collecting and analyzing data using both methodologies.
Dr. Abadi was Principal Investigator on a NIDA-funded R03 to assess associations of environmental contexts and tobacco use among youth, a Project Director and Co-investigator on an R21 study that developed and evaluated intervention materials and environmental strategies for reducing prescription drug use among rural youth in Tennessee, a Project Director and lead trainer for a large-scale SAMHSA-funded study evaluating prevention efforts with 30 county anti-drug coalitions across Tennessee, and a Study Director on three international studies with at-risk youth and female populations in rural drug abuse treatment centers.
Currently, in addition to being the Director of the Louisville Center, Dr. Abadi is a Project Director and Co-Investigator on a U01 RCT to develop and rigorously evaluate an oral health promotion training program among caregivers for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities in group homes in Kentucky (U01DE025833), a Lead Evaluator and Co-Investigator on a contract with the Veterans Health Administration to evaluate Whole Health training curricula for VHA staff and volunteers and Whole Health programming for Veterans, and a Senior Advisor on a study to develop and test an alcohol harm reduction program among college students.
A complete list of her published work can be found in NIH’s MyBibliography.