Alicia M. Allen, PhD, MPH

BS: University of Minnesota, 2003
MPH: University of Minnesota, 2006
PhD: University of Minnesota, 2012
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Prenatal Smoking, 2006-2007
  • Addiction
  • Substance Misuse
  • Substance Use Disorders
  • Health behavior change
  • Sleep
  • Stress
  • Pregnancy
  • Postpartum
  • Ovarian hormones
  • Hormonal contraceptives
  • Women's health
  • Research methodology
  • Epidemiology
Academic / Professional Bio: 

Alicia Allen, PhD, MPH, is the founder and director of the Recovery through ENGaging and Empowering Women (RENEW) Research Team ( RENEW seeks to identify the role of female-specific factors (e.g., pregnancy, postpartum, menstrual cycle, hormonal contraceptive use, puberty) in addiction, and utilize that information to help women avoid and overcome addiction. To date, Dr. Allen has received a total of $7.9 million in funding for this research primarily from the National Institutes of Health, as well as the American Cancer Society, Prevent Cancer Foundation, Clearway Minnesota, and University of Arizona. Dr. Allen has published over 70 manuscripts, primarily with Addictive Behaviors, Nicotine and Tobacco Research, Addiction, and Journal of Addiction Medicine.  She is an associate editor with Nicotine Tobacco Research (NTR) and Drug and Alcohol Dependence Reports (DADR). She has also received the New Innovator Award from National Institutes (2020) and Faculty Excellence in Clinical Research award from College of Medicine Tucson (2023).

Dr. Allen began working in clinical research on substance use disorders in 2001 as an undergraduate student. This experience prompted her to obtain her masters in community health education, graduate certification in addiction studies and doctorate in social and behavioral epidemiology, all from the University of Minnesota.  She also completed a fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the area of prenatal smoking. As a behavioral epidemiologist, she is particularly interested in research study design and improving methodology.  She has conducted randomized clinical trials, controlled cross-over trials, and cross-sectional online surveys, as well as analyzed data from large epidemiological datasets.

Beyond conducting research, Dr. Allen is passionate about supporting women seeking to overcome seemingly unpassable barriers and pursue their dreams. The inspiration for this passion comes from going up in a small rural community, as well as being raised and parenting in non-traditional family structures. As such, she welcomes trainees of all levels, backgrounds and experiences. She is also currently pursuing an academic coaching certification from International Coaching Federation, with a goal of building supportive programs to advance women's health research, as well as women health researchers.

2023-2024 Courses:

  • CMM 500-Fund Clinical Translational Science
  • CTS 500-Fund Clinical Translational Science

Current Projects as Principal Investigator:

  • Hormonal Response to Infant Caregiving: A Novel Strategy to Break the Opioid Relapse Cycle during the Postpartum Period (New Innovator Award Funded by National Institutes of Health, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)
  • Modifying Progesterone and Estradiol Levels to  Prevent Postpartum Cigarette Smoking Relapse and Reduce Secondhand Smoke Exposure in Infants and Children (R01 Funded by National Institutes of Health, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)
  • A Novel Approach to  Help Women of Reproductive Age Quit Smoking (Funded by Prevent Cancer Foundation)
  • Development of an Adjunctive Behavioral Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder during the Postpartum Period (Funded by University of Arizona)

Recent Selected Publications:

Honors and Awards: 
Women & Gender Junior Investigator Award, College of Problems on Drug Dependence and National Institute of Drug Abuse, 2009
Dean’s PhD Scholar Award, University of Minnesota, 2012
Outstanding Junior Mentor Award, Clinical and Translational Science Institute at University of Minnesota, 2014