Sexual Health Researchers

SASH Research Award Winners

These researchers are recipients of the annual SASH Research Award of merit for their exceptional research contribution to the field of sexual health and/or problematic sexual behavior.

Dr. Candice N. Hargons
 2022 Award Winner

Candice Hargons
Dr. Candice Hargons (she/her) is an award-winning associate professor in the counseling psychology program at the University of Kentucky, where she studies sexual wellness and healing racial trauma – all with a love ethic. She is the PI of the SAMHSA funded Neighborhood Healers Project, which seeks to advance mental health literacy and utilization among Black Lexingtonians. She is also a co-I on projects funded by NIDA, HRSA, and NIMHD examining substance use outcomes, treatment, and sexual health disparities. Additionally, she leads the Big Sex Study, a mixed methods, community-based participatory action research project investigating Black sexual wellness. She is a core faculty member of the Center for Health Equity and Transformation, as well as a faculty affiliate of African American and Africana Studies and the Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies.

Dr. Hargons serves on the American Psychological Association Board of Directors (2021-23), and she is a Fellow in APA Division 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology) and an APA Minority Fellow alumna. She previously served on the Kentucky Psychological Association Executive Board, the Society of Counseling Psychology Executive Board, and as Advocacy Chair for the Lexington Urban League Young Professionals. She earned an APA Presidential Citation (2019), and several other national awards for her social justice research and leadership.

Dr. Hargons teaches Diagnosis/Psychopathology, Ethics, Social Justice Consultation, and Practicum.

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Dr. Beáta Bőthe 
2021 Award Winner

Breata Bothe
For her contributions in the research of problematic pornography use and as primary investigator for several large scale sex studies internationally. Dr. Beáta Bőthe currently works at the Université de Montréal. She focuses on problematic and non-problematic pornography use, and compulsive sexual behaviors. She also works on a problematic pornography use reduction intervention program. She is passionate about research of behavioral addictions and is particularly interested in the role of social and situational factors that could lead to the development of behavioral addictions.
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Dr. Joshua Grubbs
2020 Award Winner

Joshua Grubbs
I am currently an associate professor in the APA Accredited Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at Bowling Green State University.

My research (and the research of the SPARTA lab) is primarily concerned with the scientific study of addiction, personality, and morality (particularly as it relates to addiction and personality).

The largest portion of my current research program is concerned with addiction. I am particularly interested in topics related to behavioral addictions or compulsive behavior patterns. My specific interests in these domains are related to the social construction of addiction. I’m also interested in the social and structural factors that shape self-perceptions of potentially addictive behaviors. Ultimately, I want to understand how self-reported beliefs about addiction influence presentation of symptoms, which, in turn, influence diagnosis, classification, and treatment of addictive behaviors. I have past and ongoing projects related to pornography use, compulsive sexual behavior more broadly, and excessive gambling behaviors.

With regards to personality, I am particularly interested in the role that specific personality traits play in influencing the experience and expression of psychopathology. In this vein, I generally study narcissistic traits such as entitlement, grandiosity, and antagonism, and their domain specific manifestations such as Moral Grandstanding.

In addition to these domains, I am also interested promoting replicability, reproducibility, and transparency in the scientific process. I strive to conduct my research in accordance with current standards of transparency and openness, and I encourage my students to do the same. You can find more information about my current projects at my Open Science Framework page (link available below profile picture) and a complete list of my publications at my Google Scholar page (link available below profile picture).
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Dr. Kristen Mark 
2019 Award Winner

Kristen Mark
I am a behavioral health scientist with an academic background in psychology and public health and a research interest in sexuality and romantic relationships. I am the Joycelyn Elders Endowed Chair in Sexual Health Education and a tenured Professor at University of Minnesota Medical School. I’m the Director of Education in the Institute for Sexual and Gender Health, housed within the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. I am also Affiliate Research Faculty at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University. For the first 9.5 years of my career as a faculty member, I was at University of Kentucky as a professor in health promotion and directing the Sexual Health Promotion Lab. I study many aspects of sexual health including, but not limited to: women’s sexual health, sexual desire and desire discrepancies, sexual satisfaction, sexual well-being, sexual functioning, and sexuality education. I am particularly interested in the way all of these topics impact sexual pleasure and intertwine with dynamics of the couple relationship. I earned a PhD in Health Behavior at Indiana University with a concentration in Human Sexuality from the Kinsey Institute. I also completed an MPH in Biostatistics at Indiana University, an MS in Human Development at University of Guelph, and an undergraduate degree in Psychology with a certificate in LGBT Studies at Queen’s University. I have served as a board member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality and was the Scientific Program Chair for 2017-2019, I am a member of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, the Canadian Sex Research Forum and the International Association for Relationships Research, and an elected member of the International Academy of Sex Research. I am also a certified sexuality educator through the American Association for Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. My research has been widely published in several academic journals such as Journal of Sexual Medicine, The Journal of Sex Research and Archives of Sexual Behavior and I have presented my work at over 100 academic conferences. I am regularly requested to provide expert opinion about sex and relationships for writers and producers of broadcast, print, and online media and value the opportunity to translate sex and relationship science to the public through these means.

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Dr. Mark Griffiths
2018 Award Winner

Mark Griffiths
Professor Griffiths is a Chartered Psychologist and Director of the International Gaming Research Unit. He mostly teaches on areas related to his research interests on various undergraduate and postgraduate Psychology programmes. His main teaching interests are in the areas of abnormal, social and health psychology with particular emphasis on behavioural addictions (e.g. gambling addiction, videogame addiction, Internet addiction, sex addiction, exercise addiction, work addiction, etc.), cyberpsychology and the psychology of sexual behaviour. In 2006, he was awarded the British Psychological Society’s highest teaching honour (‘Excellence in Teaching of Psychology Award’).

Professor Griffiths has held many major administrative roles since joining the University including Head of Psychology Division, Psychology Research Co-ordinator, Social Policy Research Co-ordinator, and Psychology Postgraduate Co-ordinator. In addition to his teaching and research. He is currently Psychology Research Co-ordinator. Professor Griffiths is also a gaming consultant and works with the gaming industry to promote responsible gambling, social responsibility, harm minimization, and player protection. He is also a freelance journalist and writes for many national and international newspapers and magazines.

Professor Griffiths has supervised over 30 PhD students mostly in the area of behavioural addiction, gambling, gaming, Internet use, and mindfulness. This has included doctoral theses in specific area such as:

- cross cultural studies of slot machine gambling
- cyber-ethnographic studies of Internet gambling
- addiction and identity
- excessive online videogame playing and videogame addiction
- Internet addiction; adolescent addictive behavior
- adolescent gambling on the lottery
- adolescent gambling and treatment
- videogame transfer phenomena
- female sex addiction
- mindfulness

Professor Griffiths uses mixed methods (quantitative and qualitative) and has particular expertise in self-report methods (questionnaires, interviews) and online data collection.
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Dr. Marc Potenza
2017 Award Winner

Marc Potenza
Dr. Potenza is a board-certified psychiatrist with sub-specialty training and certification in addiction psychiatry. He has trained at Yale University receiving a combined BS/MS with Honors in Molecular Biochemistry and Biophysics and a PhD in Cell Biology, the latter concurrent with the MD through the Medical Scientist Training Program. He completed internship, psychiatric residency and addiction psychiatry fellowship training at Yale. Currently, he is a Professor of Psychiatry, Child Study and Neuroscience at the Yale University School of Medicine where he is Director of the Division on Addictions Research at Yale, the Center of Excellence in Gambling Research, the Yale Research Program on Impulsivity and Impulse Control Disorders, and the Women and Addictive Disorders Core of Women's Health Research at Yale. He is also a Senior Scientist at the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling. He is on the editorial boards of fifteen journals (including editor-in-chief of Current Addiction Reports) and has received multiple national and international awards for excellence in research and clinical care. He has consulted to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Registry of Effective Programs, National Institutes of Health, American Psychiatric Association and World Health Organization on matters of addiction.

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Dr. Paula Banca
2016 Award Winner

Paula Banca
I am a cognitive neuroscientist with background in clinical psychology. I began my career as a clinical psychologist in 2005, after an MA in Psychology at the University of Coimbra, Portugal. Four years of clinical experience with diverse mental illnesses gave me a good understanding of patients’ needs and inspiration for research into new avenues for treatments. This led me back to University, in 2008, to acquire deeper knowledge of molecular biology, biochemistry and neuroanatomy via a Master’s degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences.
In 2009, I was awarded a PhD fellowship by the Portuguese Science Foundation and integrated the Doctoral Programme in Experimental Biology and Biomedicine, organized by the Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, in Coimbra, to investigate compulsivity in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This flexible PhD fellowship enabled me to conduct my studies in two different research sites: University of Coimbra, Portugal and University of Cambridge, UK. The opportunity of gathering complementary expertise from both sites/supervisors was crucial for my training as a neuroscientist.
After obtaining my PhD in 2015, I moved back to Cambridge to work with Professor Trevor Robbins, an expert on compulsivity. My new project in OCD will be extended for the next 4 years given my recently awarded Sir Henry Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Fellowship.
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Dr. Rory Reid
2012 Award Winner

Dr. Rory Reid holds a master’s degree in social work and a doctorate in clinical psychology with a dual emphasis in Neuropsychology and Marriage and Family Therapy. He completed his post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at UCLA and additional post-doctoral training in clinical research at Harvard Medical School. His research interests focus on impulse control disorders with work centered on problem gambling, compulsive sexual behavior disorder, and adult ADHD. Current research involves investigating the neurobiological mechanism associated with mindfulness meditation as an intervention for these clinical conditions using neuroimaging (e.g., fMRI, Diffusion tensor imaging, etc…).
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Dr. David Delmonico
2009 Award Winner

David Delmonico
Dr. David Delmonico is a Professor at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dr. Delmonico conducts research, consultation, and training on topics such Internet psychology, cyber-behavior, and Internet safety. Dr. Delmonico has co-authored three books on these topics and presents nationally to helping professionals, probation officers, and schools on how to help those with online problematic behavior and keeping kids safe online. Dr. Delmonico is Director of the Online Behavior Research and Education Center (OBREC) at Duquesne University and Associate Editor of the Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity journal.
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Dr. Jennifer Schneider
2007 Award Winner

Jennifer Schneider
Jennifer P. Schneider, M.D., Ph.D., is a physician certified in Internal Medicine, Addiction Medicine and Pain Management. She is the author of 15 books and numerous articles in professional journals. She is a compassionate professional committed to educating others in her fields of specialty. She is a nationally recognized expert in two addiction-related fields: addictive sexual disorders and the management of chronic pain with opioids. She also has experience and interest in the area of osteoporosis and its drug treatment, and maintains an email support group for people who have experienced atypical femur fractures related to the use of bisphosphonate medications. Dr. Schneider has also written several articles in medical journals about egg donation and its potential long-term risks. Now retired from direct patient care, her professional activities include writing, lecturing at conferences, serving as an expert witness in legal settings, and appearing as a media guest on television and radio. One of her main current activities is to teach a remedial 21-Continuing Medical Education course on appropriate prescribing of controlled substances for chronic pain, under the auspices of Professional Boundaries Education in multiple locations in the U.S.
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Dr. Michael Reece
2005 Award Winner

Michael Reece
Michael Reece is a professor in applied health science whose research is focused on sexual health in both domestic and international settings and is conducted under the auspices of his research team, the Center for Sexual Health Promotion.

Education: University of Georgia, Ph.D., 2000; San Diego State University, MPH, 1995.
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Dr. Alvin (Al) Cooper
2004 Award Winner

Dr Alivn Cooper received his doctorate from Texas Tech University where he majored in clinical psychology and minored in Martial and Family relations with an emphasis in sexuality. Al had a variety of talents he shared with the sexual addiction and compulsivity community. His goal was to objectively research internet sexuality and develop internet research methodologies in order to accomplish this goal. Al's understanding of sexually compulsive behavior on the internet was one of the greatest contributions to the field of sexual addiction and compulsivity. Cybersex experts and other helping professionals will never forget the "Triple A Engine" (Accessibility, Anonymity, and Affordability), or  "Online Sexual Activity (a term Al coined to help differentiate sexual health versus pathology on the internet), among many, many other contributions. 
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Conference Panelists, Presenters & Other Researchers

Dr. Shane Kraus

Shane Kraus
Shane W. Kraus, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor of Psychology at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His clinical research focuses on study of psychopathology, sexual trauma, substance use disorders, gambling disorder, and compulsive sexual behavior disorder (CSBD). He is particularly interested in using behavioral, epidemiological, and neurobiological methods to assess factors that contribute to the development of addictive behaviors and other co-occurring psychiatric disorders among at-risk groups (e.g., U.S. military veterans, ethnic and sexual minorities, homeless). Dr. Kraus has published extensively on compulsive sexual behavior and was part of the World Health Organization working group who put forth the diagnostic criteria for CSBD for ICD-11. He received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Bowling Green State University in 2013. In 2016, he completed his post-doctoral psychology fellowship at the VISN 1 New England MIRECC/VA Connecticut Healthcare System and Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry.
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Dr. Tracie Q. Gilbert

Tracie Q. Gilbert, PhD (she/her) is an educator, writer, and researcher who uses her work to pursue sexual wellness for Black people, and racial justice in sex ed spaces. Using lectures, interactive workshops, conversation series and other projects, Dr. Gilbert works to help all of us unpack the mental, historical, and cultural barriers that keep us from having productive conversations about sex and sexuality.

As of 2022, Dr. Gilbert has officially reached her 25th year of experience serving urban youth, young adults, and their advocates. During that same time period she received her Master of Science in Education at the University of Pennsylvania, and her doctorate from the Center for Human Sexuality Studies at Widener University, where she now teaches as an Assistant Professor. In November of last year Dr. Gilbert released her first book entitled Black & Sexy: A Framework of Racialized Sexuality. This inaugural work is a deep dive into the intersections of race & sexuality as experienced among Africans Americans in the 21st Century.

Dr. Gilbert has consulted with nearly a dozen different organizations over her career including Fact Forward, Vermont Network Against Domestic & Sexual Violence, Christiana Healthcare Systems, Evoluer House, the Innovative Learning Institute, and the Center for Sex Education. Her voice and perspectives can be found most often on her podcast, The Sex Ed of Blackfolk w./ Dr. G., airing on all major platforms.
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Dr. Matuesz Gola

Matuesz Gola
Dr. Gola holds an Associate Professor of Psychology position at the Institute of Psychology of the Polish Academy of Sciences and an Associate Research Professor at the Institute for Neural Computation at the University of California in San Diego.

His main research expertise is neuroscience of behavioral addiction, especially compulsive sexual behaviors (e.g. problematic pornography use, excessive paid sexual behaviors or risky sexual behaviors).

Dr. Gola graduated from Clinical Psychology (2007) and Cognitive Neuroscience (2011) programs at the University of Social Sciences & Humanities in Warsaw, Poland. In 2017 he completed a research fellowship at Yale School of Medicine. He has been working as a psychotherapist since 2009 and obtained licenses of Polish and European Societies of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.

Dr. Gola co-founded PredictWatch Inc, a company developing technologies supporting addicts in maintaining abstinence and allowing for early prediction of relapses using mobile devices. He also authored 3 patent applications and over 120 scientific publications in such journals as: “Lancet Psychiatry”, “Nature Neuropsychopharmacology”, “Journal of Behavioral Addictions” or “Journal of Sexual Medicine” and other.

His work contributed to the understanding of neural and psychological mechanisms underlying problematic pornography use. His personal goal is to help as many addicted individuals as possible by developing and providing effective and personalized treatment methods.
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Dr. Allyson Kelley

Allyson Kelley
Allyson believes in the power of community and the value of community participation in the research and evaluation process. This belief has led Allyson on many journeys throughout the country as a writer, observer, mentor, and evaluator.
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Dr. J. Wilson Kenney

J Wilson Kenney
Wilson's areas of specialization include personality disorder, sexual misconduct, threat assessment and forensic assessment. Wilson is a licensed psychologist and certified Forensic Evaluator.

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Jessica J. Hille, JD, PhD- Kinsey

Jessica Hille
Dr. Hille is a gender and sexuality scholar and the Assistant Director for Education at the Kinsey Institute. In this role, she has overseen the development of an online continuing education program, serves as a Co-director for the Scholarly Concentration in Human Sexuality and Health with the Indiana University-Bloomington School of Medicine, and relaunched the Kinsey Institute Lecture Series, among other initiatives.

Her research focuses on asexuality and ace spectrum identities, sexual pleasure and orgasm, and critical theory. Her paper "'Sex' on the ace spectrum: Definitions of sex, behavioral histories, and future intereste for individuals who identify as asexual, graysexual, or demisexual" was published by the Journal of Sex Research in 2019. She has also presented her research at national conferences, including the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists, and the American Public Health Association. Her current research projects focus on ace spectrum identities, consent, and non-sexual intimacy during COVID-19.

Dr. Hille completed her PhD in Gender Studies under Dr. Stephanie Sanders with a PhD minor in Human Sexuality from the Kinsey Institute under Dr. Justin Garcia. Before coming to IU, she earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago, a JD from Washington University in St. Louis, and an LLM in Health Law and Policy from the University of Washington - Seattle.
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Dr. Jennifer Daer Shields

Jennifer Daer Shields
Dr. Shields is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Section of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. Dr. Shields is a licensed clinical psychologist whose primary clinical and research interests include the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based interventions for children who have experienced maltreatment as well as children who exhibit problematic sexual behavior. She provides national training and consultation in the University of Oklahoma Problematic Sexual Behavior – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (PSB-CBT) school-age model. Further, Dr. Shields is a nationally certified therapist in Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), an evidence-based treatment for young children with disruptive behavior disorders.
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Dr. Jane Silovsky

Jane Silovsky
Dr. Silovsky is a Professor and the Director of the Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, in the Department of Pediatrics. She is a clinical child psychologist whose primary work is with treatment outcome research and program evaluation of services for children who have been maltreated or traumatized and for children with problematic sexual behavior. Dr. Silovsky serves as a clinical supervisor and mentor for residents.
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Dr. Shemeka Thorpe

Dr. Shemeka Thorpe is an award-winning sexuality educator and researcher at the University of Kentucky. She obtained her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Community Health Education. Her research focuses on the sexual well-being of Black women using sex-positive and intimate justice frameworks.
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Dr. Ashley Townes

My research interests include black women’s sexual health experiences, sexual health education, and the elimination of health disparities and inequities.
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Dr. Brian Willoughby

Brian Willoughby
Dr. Willoughby's research generally focuses on how adolescents, young adults, and adults move toward and form long-term committed relationships, focusing on young adult development, couples dynamics, marriage, cohabitation, marital beliefs, and sexuality. Dr. Willoughby is also currently the Director of the RELATE Institute. RELATE Institute is a non-profit organization with the specific tasks of developing research and outreach tools that can be used directly with the public and that can be used to gather information about relationships.
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