Dr. Dennis Thombs
Professor & Dean
Education & Experience:
I completed PhD degree requirements in Health Education at the University of Maryland – College Park. At the University of South Florida, I completed a B.A. in Sociology and the M.A. and Ed.S. degrees in Mental Health Counseling. Prior to joining the UNTHSC School of Public Health in 2010 as Professor and Chair of the Department of Behavioral and Community Health, I held faculty positions at the University of Florida, Kent State University and the State University of New York at Brockport. Prior to entering academia, I held a variety of professional positions in mental health treatment and substance abuse prevention and treatment.
Teaching Areas & Public Health Interests:
My interests are addictive behavior and public policy approaches to reducing morbidity and mortality related to substance abuse. I currently teach “Foundations of Public Health.”
Professional Activities & Awards:
I am an active member of the American Public Health Association (APHA), the Texas Public Health Association (TPHA), Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), and the American Academy of Health Behavior (AAHB). I was named as a Fellow in the American Academy of Health Behavior in 2005, and served as President of the Academy from 2009 to 2010.
My major research contributions have been in the study of alcohol and drug use in the adolescent and young adulthood population. Over the last 30 years, my work has examined the role of peer norms in facilitating heavy, episodic drinking and impaired driving; identified specific pharmacologic, genetic, economic and site risk factors that contribute to unsafe patron intoxication levels in the on premise setting; and developed evidence-based, mental health first aid strategies to connect persons in need with professional mental health treatment resources. My research has been supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institute of Mental Health and the U.S. Department of Education. I have authored more than 90 articles in peer-reviewed national and international journals, and am the author of one of the leading textbooks on addiction, Introduction to Addictive Behaviors, published by the Guilford Press, which will appear in its fifth edition in 2019.