TAMIKA D. GILREATH has worked on several projects related to substance use including biomedical studies of smoking patterns and performing secondary data analyses of the correlates of smoking among African American youth and adult samples. Her primary research interests include health disparities and patterns of co-morbidity of substance use, and poor mental health among African American youth, as well as international tobacco consumption among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa.
Gilreath has received substantial training in the use of advanced multivariate statistical methods across substantive areas with a focus on latent variable modeling. She has also co-authored several peer-reviewed articles, and presented at national conferences regarding these topics. She recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry, Division of Prevention and Community Research at Yale University School of Medicine.
Gilreath's teaching interests include research methods; advanced quantitative methods; drugs behavior and health; adolescent development; and international social work.
Growing up in a small Virginia town, Dr. Tamika Gilreath witnessed the disparities between people of color and the majority population through her mother’s experiences as a middle school guidance and crisis counselor. Her father, a principal in urban schools, gave her insight into the level of resources earmarked for ethnic minorities. Her peers also had an influence on her future research on substance use and smoking, as she noticed many of her classmates began drinking or using substances at a young age. “It was scary to see people in ninth and 10th grade looking like they were going to have substance abuse addiction problems,” Gilreath says. Those experiences led her to pursue a career focused on exploring the factors that lead adolescents to smoke or use drugs, as well as the interplay between multiple risky behaviors among youth.
Gilreath earned a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in interdisciplinary science with a concentration in chemistry before pursuing a master’s degree in psychology from Virginia State University. During that time, she began working with youth in Tanzania and South Africa, exploring predictors of smoking among black and white adolescents. Her interest in the psychological and physiological effects of mental health and substance use on vulnerable and diverse populations led her to complete a doctorate in biobehavioral health with a minor in applied statistics at Pennsylvania State University.
Following a postdoctoral fellowship in psychiatry at Yale University, Gilreath joined the faculty at the USC School of Social Work and began running statistical analyses for a major project on military children and school violence. “I’m interested in those groups of kids who aren’t really studied and who have disproportionate problems with mental health and substance abuse,” she says. In particular, she is interested in problem behavior theory and the connections between substance use, mental health and other risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex. With the level of statistical methodology and computing power available today, Gilreath is pressing for a more holistic approach to research. By examining patterns of behavior that may indicate why people engage in risky activities, she hopes to develop a greater contextual understanding that could be used to tailor interventions.
Gilreath is also interested in working closely with MSW and doctoral students, and teaches courses on advanced statistics and research methodology. “I always had an affinity with numbers,” she says, adding that she graded math papers for her mother, who also taught algebra. Gilreath remains focused on research involving diverse populations, and recently submitted a grant proposal to examine the effects of neighborhood and school characteristics on substance use among school-age Latinos.
Astor, R.A., Benbenishty, R., Jackson, L., Atuel, H., Gilreath, T., De Pedro, K. & Esqueda, M. (in press). Creating safe and supportive military-connected school climates: An evidence based guide for administrators.: ASCD.
Astor, R.A., Benbenishty, R., Jackson, L., Atuel, H., Gilreath, T., De Pedro, K. & Esqueda, M. (in press). Creating safe and supportive military-connected school climates: An evidence based guide for teachers.: ASCD.
Astor, R.A., Benbenishty, R., Jackson, L., Atuel, H., Gilreath, T., De Pedro, K. & Esqueda, M. (in press). Creating safe and supportive military-connected school climates: An evidence based guide for parents.: ASCD.
Astor, R.A., Benbenishty, R., Jackson, L., Atuel, H., Gilreath, T., De Pedro, K. & Esqueda, M. (in press). Creating safe and supportive military-connected school climates: An evidence based guide for pupil personnel.: Oxford University Press.
King, G., Gilreath, T.D., Albert, E.H. & Flisher, A.J. (2011). Smoking among high school male students in rural South Africa. Journal of Substance Use, 16(4), 282-294.
Connell, C.M., Gilreath, T.D., Aklin, W.M. & Brex, R.A. (2010). Substance use patterns among non-metropolitan high school students: An ecological model of risk and protective factors. American Journal of Community Psychology, 45(1-2), 36-48.
Gilreath, T.D., King, G. & Whembolua, G. (2010). The Pathway to Substance Abuse: The Use of Tobacco by African-Americans. In T. Gullotta, R. Hampton & R. Crowell (Eds.) Handbook of African American Health Psychology: Evidence-Based Treatment and Prevention Practice.: Guilford Press.
Connell, C.M., Gilreath, T.D. & Hansen, N.B. (2009). Co-occurrence of substance use and sexual behaviors in adolescence. Journal of Drug and Alcohol Studies, 70(6), 943-951.
Gilreath, T.D., King, G., Graham, J.W., Flisher, A.J. & Lombard, C. (2009). Associations between maternal closeness, suicidal ideation and risk behaviors in Cape Town. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 18(3), 174-179.
King, G., Polednak, A.P., Gilreath, T.D. & Bendel, R.B. (2007). Disparities in smoking cessation among U.S. adults with a history of asthma. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 33(3), 312-317.
Graham, J.W., Olchowski, A.E. & Gilreath, T.D. (2007). How many imputations are really needed? Some Practical Clarifications of Multiple Imputation Theory. Prevention Science, 8(3), 206-213.
Townsend, L., Flisher, A.J., Gilreath, T.D. & King, G. (2006). A systematic literature review of tobacco use among adults 15 years and older in sub-Saharan Africa. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 84(1), 14-27.
Townsend, L., Flisher, A.J., Gilreath, T.D. & King, G. (2006). A systematic review of tobacco use among Sub-Saharan African youth. Journal of Substance Use, 11(4), 245-269.
Townsend, L., Flisher, A.J., Gilreath, T. & King, G. (2006). A systematic review of tobacco use among adults 15 years and older in Sub-Saharan African youth. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 84(1), 14-27.
King, G., Polednak, A., Fagan, P., Gilreath, T.D., Humphrey, E., Fernander, A., Bendel, R. & Noubary, F. (2006). Heterogeneity in the smoking behavior of African American women. American Journal of Health Behavior, 30(3), 237-246.
Kaduri, P., Gilreath, T.D., Kilonzo, G., Mbwambo, J., King, G., Flisher, A.J. & Matthews, S. (2005). Orphan status and social network influence on tobacco use among students in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Promotion & Education, 12(2), 66-70.
King, G., Gilreath, T.D. & Moller, S. (2004). Smoking and Ethnicity.Scribner’s Tobacco in History and Culture Encyclopedia.