This free one-day professional development opportunity will feature presentations on the culture of cannabis use among college students, the relationship between cannabis and mental health, the cognitive effects of cannabis and its impact on academic performance, and the evidence-based strategies to promote student success.
Open to all UConn students, faculty, and staff are welcome. Prevention, health promotion, and recovery professionals at colleges and universities in the region are also invited.
Tom Fontana, LCMHC, LADC
Drug & Alcohol Initiatives Manager, University of Vermont
Tom is the Drug & Alcohol Initiatives Manager for the University of Vermont. He coordinates prevention, education, and the brief intervention model, BASICS, which is designed to assist students in exploring their relationship with substance use in a shame free environment. This provides the opportunity to talk with hundreds of students each year individually. Additionally, Tom meets with student groups, including FSL and Athletics. Tom is lucky to be part of an AOD Team whose goal is “education and transformation.’ (Education is for individuals, to support non-use and safe-use; Transformation is for groups and culture, to disrupt harm and misuse.) When these aspects come together, meaningful change is possible.
Randi Schuster, PhD
Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School
Center for Addiction Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital
Dr. Randi Schuster is an assistant professor at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)/Harvard Medical School and the Director of Neuropsychology at the MGH Center for Addiction Medicine (CAM). She has broad background in psychology, with more specialized expertise in neuropsychological assessment and substance use among adolescents and emerging adults. Her research interests focus on the intersection of drug use and neuropsychology, with emphasis on the cognitive ramifications of early drug exposure.
She received her BA from University of Maryland, College Park in 2007 and her PhD in Clinical Psychology from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2014. During graduate school, she gained extensive experience with neuropsychological protocol implementation, recruitment and retention of high-risk cohorts in community-based settings, and longitudinal analytic approaches.
Dr. Schuster joined CAM in July 2014 as a post-doctoral fellow after completing her clinical internship in neuropsychology at MGH/Harvard Medical School. She has been the recipient of multiple awards to fund her research from Harvard Medical School, MGH, and NIH. She is currently funded by a 5-year K23 grant from NIH NIDA. She has authored or co-authored over 50 conference presentations and and over 30 peer-reviewed publications.
Dr. Schuster’s current research focuses on explicating the course of neurocognitive recovery in the early days following cannabis discontinuation among non-treatment seeking high school students. She is conducting research based out of Boston-area high schools on the utility of contingency management interventions in promoting cannabis abstinence as well as the reversibility of cognitive deficits during 30 days of cannabis discontinuation with a specific focus on vulnerability to poor cognitive resiliency among those with comorbidities such as ADHD.
Amelia Arria, PhD
Professor, Department of Behavioral and Community Health
Director, Center on Young Adult Health and Development, University of Maryland School of Public Health
Amelia M. Arria, Ph.D. is a Professor and the Director of the Center on Young Adult Health and Development in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. Her research has focused on the risk and resiliency factors associated with mental health and substance use problems among adolescents and young adults. Her most recent work has clarified the impact of substance use, particularly excessive drinking and marijuana use, on academic achievement. She is the Principal Investigator of the NIDA-funded prospective College Life Study, which annually assessed the behavioral health of 1253 college students through their young adult years. She is the co-leader of the Maryland Collaborative, which provides training and technical assistance to a network of 17 colleges across the state that are committed to aligning their substance use prevention and intervention strategies with scientific evidence. She has authored more than 170 scientific peer-reviewed publications, numerous white papers and book chapters, and is the recipient of several major grant awards from foundations, and state and federal agencies. Much of her work has direct relevance to parents, communities, educational professionals and policy makers. She completed her undergraduate degree at Cornell University, a PhD in Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh and postdoctoral training in Psychiatric Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University.
Jonathan Beazley, LMFT, LADC
Alcohol and Other Drug Interventionist, University of Connecticut
Jonathan Beazley, LADC LMFT is the Alcohol and Other Drug Interventionist at the University of Connecticut and has served in this role since 2009. He is a licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor as well as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of Connecticut and has been in the field of behavioral health since 1979. He earned his BA in Psychology at Penn State University and completed his Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Southern Connecticut State University. Throughout his career he has served in numerous clinical and supervisory roles across the spectrum of mental health and substance abuse organizations. He is a frequent presenter and educator on subjects associated with substance abuse and other mental health issues. He presently serves as the chairperson of the clinical advisory board at TriCircle Inc in Wallingford, CT. Finally, he is the co-author of the 2018 book: Cannabis on Campus: Changing the Dialogue in the Wake of Legalization. He also has a private practice in Glastonbury, CT.
UConn Student Health and Wellness & Connecticut Healthy Campus Initiative