Contact Information

Associate Professor
University of Southern California
School of Social Work
Montgomery Ross Fisher Building
669 West 34th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States of America

Membership Information

Membership Category:
Research Scientists

Co-Chair of Membership Committee

Member Since: 2005


Alice Cepeda, Ph.D., MS

Cepeda, Alice


Ph.D. in Sociology, City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York
M.S. in Sociology, The University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas
B.A. in Sociology, The University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas

About Me

ALICE CEPEDA is currently an assistant professor in the School of Social Work. She was previously in the Department of Sociology and associate director of the Center for Drug and Social Policy Research at the University of Houston. She received her doctoral degree from the City University of New York, Graduate Center.

Her work has focused on the social epidemiology of drug use and the related health risk behaviors that disproportionately affect urban Mexican-origin minority populations, including violence, HIV/STI infection risks and mental health conditions. Cepeda’s research has also highlighted the unique gendered experiences encountered by females within this cultural context. Her research publications have explored the complex of social determinants, including familial, neighborhood and socio-ecological factors that contribute to drug use and negative social and health outcomes among vulnerable minority populations. 

Cepeda has been a recipient of several federal National Institutes of Health grants. She is currently principal investigator and co-investigator, respectively, on two National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded studies: one examining the long-term health consequences of adolescent gang membership and one on the emergence and diffusion of crack use in Mexico City. Cepeda has also been a multiple recipient and scholar of the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities Loan Repayment Program.

She received the 2010 National Award of Excellence in Research by a New Investigator from the National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse based on her outstanding research and publication in the field of Hispanic drug abuse. She was also a recipient of the 2010 Junior Scholar Award presented by the Drinking and Drugs Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems. Cepeda is currently chair of the Early Career Leadership Committee for the National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse.

View Curriculum Vitae

Recent Publications

Cepeda, A. (In Press). “Prevalence and Levels of Severity of childhood Trauma among Mexican Female Sex Workers: A Comparison of Two Mexico Border Cities.” Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma.

Valdez, A., Kaplan, C.D., Neaigus, A., and Cepeda, A. (2011) “High Rates of Transitions to Injecting Drug Use among Mexican American Noninjecting Heroin Users in San Antonio, Texas (Never and Former Injectors). Drug and Alcohol Dependence 114, 233-236. PMID: 21075561

Cepeda, A., Saint Onge, J.M., Kaplan, C., and Valdez, A. (2010). “The Association between Disaster-Related Experiences and Mental Health Outcomes among Drug Using African American Hurricane Katrina Evacuees.” Community Mental Health Journal, 46(6):612-20. PMID:20091228.

Cepeda, A., & Valdez, A. (2010). “Ethnographic Strategies in the Tracking and Retention of Street Recruited Community- Based Samples of Substance Using Hidden Populations in Longitudinal Studies”, Journal of Substance Use and Misuse, 45: 700 - 716. PMID:20222780.

Valdez, A., Cepeda, A., Negi, N., & Kaplan, C. (2010). “Fumando La Piedra: Emerging Patterns of Crack Use among Latino Immigrant Day Laborers in New Orleans” Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 12:737-742. PMID: 19924538

Cepeda, A., Valdez, A., Kaplan, C.D., & Hill, L. (2010). “Patterns of Substance Use among Hurricane Katrina Evacuees in Houston, Texas” Disasters: The Journal of Disaster Studies, Policy and Management, 34(2):426-446. PMID: 19863564. PMID: 19863564