New faculty researchers add national strength to public health program

Posted Date: January 16, 2018

Drs. Litt, Mun, Lewis and Thompson

UNT Health Science Center is poised to take on an expanded leadership role in public health education and research with the appointment of three nationally recognized alcohol and substance abuse researchers and an early-career faculty researcher focused on women’s and children’s health.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Melissa A. Lewis, Dr. Dana M. Litt, Dr. Eun-Young Mun and Dr. Erika L. Thompson to the SPH faculty,” said Dr. Dennis L. Thombs, Dean. “These new colleagues represent our commitment to building on our academic reputation and continuing to strengthen our research addressing critical public health issues of national scope.”

Drs. Lewis and Litt join UNTHSC from the University of Washington’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Mun comes to UNTHSC from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick, where she served as a tenured professor in the school’s Center of Alcohol Studies and Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology. Dr. Thompson joins UNTHSC from the University of South Florida, College of Public Health.  Their UNTHSC appointments are in the SPH Department of Health Behavior and Health Systems.

Drs. Lewis, Litt and Mun are currently leading or consulting on National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded projects on alcohol misuse among young adults, sexual risk taking, college sexual victimization risk and HIV, and prescription opiates and drug abuse.

Dr. Lewis is nationally recognized for her research on risky sexual behavior and alcohol use among adolescents and young adults. Her research has been funded by grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, and the Alcoholic Beverage Medical Research Foundation. She has authored more than 90 peer-reviewed publications, many of which appear in top-tier addictions journals.

Dr. Litt has been funded through NIAAA for studies on alcohol use among young adults, social media impact on drinking norms among adolescents, alcohol-related risk interventions and ways to motivate campus change. She has authored 26 peer-reviewed journal articles and four book chapters on health behaviors, alcohol, sexual risk taking and adolescent marijuana use and abuse.

Dr. Mun is a nationally recognized expert in using “big data” to design and analyze alcohol intervention trials. Her current R01 research project is designed to utilize data more efficiently and meaningfully to guide health recommendations. Her research has been continuously supported by NIH since 2010, and she was recognized last year as having one of the most exciting new projects funded by NIH at the Inaugural NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Festival. She has authored more than 60 peer-reviewed journal articles, 14 book chapters and three advanced textbooks.

Dr. Thompson has been involved in maternal and child health research projects related to sexual and reproductive health issues, women’s health issues and human papillomavirus prevention. She has authored 36 peer-reviewed publications in public health and health behavior journals. She is Chair of the Education and Mentoring Committee of the Association of Teachers of Maternal and Child Health.