Robert J. Reid, PhD, earned his doctorate in 1999 from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University with a concentration in Social Policy, Planning, and Policy Analysis. Dr. Reid is presently a Professor in the Department of Family and Child Studies, College of Education and Human Services, at Montclair State University. His research focuses on the development, coordination, and testing of community-wide prevention initiatives to reduce risk and to promote protective factors associated with various health behaviors, such as adolescent substance abuse, sexual risk, and youth violence. Additionally, he has continually examined the factors that may either enhance or constrain the quality of life for children, families, and communities. His work has been cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the World Health Organization (WHO). Since 2003, Dr. Reid has served as Principal Investigator on a Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) grant, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP). Through this decade-long initiative, Dr. Reid has developed and coordinated comprehensive substance abuse and HIV/AIDS prevention services targeting under-served racial and ethnic minority youth in the city of Paterson, New Jersey. More recently, Dr. Reid was funded by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and SAMHSA to continue his prevention work in the Paterson community by developing the infrastructure for an anti-drug coalition targeting at-risk urban minority adolescents. With federal, university, and community support, the Paterson Coalition Against Substance Abuse (P-CASA) was founded in 2013. Its mission is to foster collaboration among key community sectors to increase the capacity for environmentally-based substance abuse prevention activities throughout the city, with the ultimate goal of reducing substance use among Paterson’s youth.


Pauline Garcia-Reid, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Family and Child Studies, College of Education and Human Services, with an affiliate appointment in the Center for Child Advocacy and Policy, College Humanities and Social Sciences, at Montclair State University. Her research interests include youth substance use and violence prevention, social justice and advocacy within a culturally-grounded social work lens, and practice and research with racial and ethnic minority children and families. She has also served as a technical advisor to the SAMHSA National Registry of Effective Prevention Programs Project (NREPP).


Andriana Herrera holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Montclair State University, with a concentration in community health. In her current role as Program Manager, Ms. Herrera oversees two federally funded prevention-intervention grants—one through the Drug Free Communities (DFC) Grant Program and the other through the Minority Aids Initiative (MAI) Grant Program. These federal grants are aimed at helping prevent drug and alcohol (ab)use, as well as providing intervention services that focus on safe sex behavior, HIV and VH testing behavior, and knowledge about HIV/AIDS, substance (ab)use, and VH among youth (ages 13 to 17) and young adults (ages 18 to 24) in Paterson, New Jersey. Prior to her work with P-CASA and Project COPE, Ms. Herrera was employed as a Senior Program Coordinator at NJ SNAP-ED. In this role, Ms. Herrera engaged with community organizers, outreach advocacy and prevention services, as well as federally qualified heath centers (FQHC) and non-profit organizations to bring programs and services to under-served, low-income community members in, New Jersey.


Ijeoma Opara is a doctoral research fellow and a doctoral student in the department of Family Science & Human Development at Montclair State University. Ms. Opara received a Master of Social Work from New York University and a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from New York Medical College. She also attended the University of Pennsylvania for post-baccalaureate pre-health course work. Before pursuing her doctorate, Ms. Opara worked as a youth and family therapist for an alternative-to-incarceration agency in New York City where she primarily served urban youth of color and their families. She was also employed as the Assistant Director of supportive housing division at a large child welfare organization in Westchester County, New York, that helped youth transition from foster care to independent living. Additionally, Ms. Opara has conducted research on asthma morbidity in African American children at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as a Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) public health intern. Her research interests include racial disparities in health care, HIV/AIDS, positive youth development, and adolescent girls of color.


Carrie Bergeson is a second year doctoral fellow working on her PhD in Family Science and Human Development at Montclair State University. Ms. Bergeson is also a doctoral research fellow working with Project COPE and P-CASA. She has earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Family and Community Services from East Carolina University. Ms. Bergeson is accredited in two levels of Triple P (Positive Parenting Program), a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE), and a member of the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR). Her research focus is on family dynamics, specifically parent-child relationships/education with vulnerable and marginalized populations.


David T. Lardier Jr., PhD, LPC, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Individual, Family, and Community Education, Family and Child Studies Program at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Lardier’s research interests focus primarily on youth and community empowerment in under-served communities of color, as well as the mechanisms through which youth can be involved in research and policy change as both activists and actors of social change. Dr. Lardier also examines the development and practice of empowerment-based prevention programs that meet the diverse needs of youth and their communities. Beyond this, Dr. Lardier engages in research that focuses on the fit/lack of fit between diverse youth and educational institutions, adolescent behavior in professional counseling, and family dynamics. Currently, he serves as program evaluator for the Paterson Coalition Against Substance Abuse (P-CASA) a Drug Free Communities (DFC) Grant Program out of Montclair State University. Dr. Lardier also serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Adolescent and Family Health.