Alison Breland, Ph.D.

Dr. Alison Breland

Research Assistant Professor
Health Psychology
Office 1:
McGuire Hall, suite B-08
Office 2:
817 W Franklin St, rm 211
(804) 628-2300

Research Assistant Professor
Health Psychology
Academic Adviser, Humphrey Fellowship Program
Ph.D. (2005), Virginia Commonwealth University

Research Interests

I have three primary research interests, all related to tobacco: (1) the evaluation of novel tobacco products, (2) tobacco use treatment among adults and adolescents with other behavioral health issues (substance use disorders and mental health disorders), and (3) tobacco use prevention. I am currently a Project Director for Project 2 of the FDA/NIH-funded VCU Center for the Study of Tobacco Products (PIs: Dr. Robert Balster and Dr. Thomas Eissenberg). Project 2 focuses on human laboratory studies evaluating potential modified risk tobacco products (MRTPs), such as electronic cigarettes. In addition, I am a Co-PI (with Dr. Randy Koch) for the Virginia Youth Tobacco Projects, a statewide initiative designed to coordinate and promote research on adolescent tobacco use, funded by the VFHY. I am also a Co-investigator on a grant from NIDA to study the effects of electronic cigarette use in pregnant women (with colleagues from the University of Kentucky). In addition to research, I am an Associate Coordinator for the Hubert H. Humphrey Program at VCU, which brings mid-career professionals from developing countries to the US for 10 months, to study substance abuse prevention and treatment.

Select Publications

Ramoa, C. P., Hiler, M. M., Spindle, T. R., Lopez, A. A., Lipato, T., Naraoughlanian, N., Shihadeh, A., Breland, A. B., & Eissenberg, T. (2016). Electronic cigarette nicotine delivery can exceed that of combustible cigarettes: A preliminary report. Tobacco Control. Advance online publication. doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2015-052447
Breland, A., Soule, E., Lopez, A., Ramoa, C., El-Hellani, A., & Eissenberg, T. (2016). Electronic cigarettes: What are they and what do they do? Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences: Addiction Reviews. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12977
Koch, J. R., & Breland, A. B. (2015). Behavioral healthcare staff attitudes and practices regarding consumer tobacco cessation services. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s11414-015-9477-4
Breland, A. B., Almond, L., Kienzle, J., Ondersma, S. J., Hart, A., Weaver, M., Dillon, P., & Svikis, D. (2014). Targeting tobacco in a community-based addiction recovery cohort: Results from a computerized, brief, randomized intervention trial. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 38, 113-120.
Breland, A. B., Nasim, A., Irons, J. G., & Koch, J. R. (2013). Tobacco use among African-American adolescents receiving behavioral health services. Journal of Behavioral Health and Services Research, 40, 88-96.

Recent Courses

  • Humphrey Seminar, Humphrey Fellowship Program
  • Tobacco Regulation in the 21st Century: The Role of Tobacco Regulation and Regulatory Science, graduate level

Recent Grants

Electronic Cigarette (e-cig) Use Behaviors, Prevalence, Perceptions and Biomarkers among Women of Childbearing Age in Appalachia. Co-Investigator (PI: Kristin Ashford), 2015-2019. National Institute Drug Abuse (NIDA). R01, DA040694, $2,450,343.

Virginia Youth Tobacco Projects Research Coalition Core Co-Principal Investigator (with J. Randy Koch), 2015-2018. Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth. $435,000.

Creating Profiles of Success for Healthy Communities Action Teams. Co-Principal Investigator (with Aashir Nasim), Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth. 2015-2016. $71,468.

Human Laboratory Methods for MRTP Evaluation. Project Director for Project 2 of the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products (PIs: Tom Eissenberg and Bob Balster), 2013-2018. Food and Drug Administration(FDA)/National Institute on Drug Abuse(NIDA). P50, DA036105). $18,113,426.

VFHY Evaluation Research Projects Co-Investigator (PI: Aashir Nasim), Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth. 2012-2015. $438,460.


  • Grace E. Harris Leadership Development Program, 2015

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