LEAD Program Faculty

James L. Sorensen, PhD (LEAD Program Director)

Dr. Sorensen’s research in drug abuse began 30 years ago, directing a NIDA-funded double-blind study of detoxification from heroin using LAAM or methadone. An experienced investigator, he has published 200+ articles, chapters, and books. An experienced leader, Dr. Sorensen was the Chief of Substance Abuse Services at San Francisco General Hospital from 1982 through 1995, has led numerous NIH R01 research grants, was Director of the NIDA-funded San Francisco Treatment Research Unit (1989-1994), and leads or participates in numerous other NIH and non-governmentally supported research and training programs. Dr. Sorensen was a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Community-Based Drug Treatment, which produced the report that led to development of the Clinical Trials Network, and he has made the linking of research and practice his major area of focus for the next decade. His current research focus is as the contact Program Director and senior research investigator of the NIDA-sponsored (U-10) Western States Node of the NIDA Clinical Trials Network, where he has overall responsibility for the scientific, administrative, and clinical performance of the Node and the participating programs in California, Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, and Hawaii.

Dr. Sorensen is dedicated to training future researchers. He has a long record of mentoring and leading research training programs with a focus on development of minority investigators. He is a clinical psychologist who serves on the Medical Staff at San Francisco General Hospital, where he is the leader of the Public Service and Minority Cluster of the Clinical Psychology Training Program. He is a co-director of the CAPS Visiting Professor R25 program. Dr. Sorensen leads a NIDA-funded T32 grant, Drug Abuse Treatment and Services Research Postdoctoral Training Program, and serves as mentor in the Psychiatry Department’s Clinical Services Research training program. For the period of 2010-2015 he leads the Research Training Core of the NIDA-funded San Francisco Treatment Research Center. Altogether Dr. Sorensen has served as primary mentor to 17 predoctoral and 22 postdoctoral fellows. Dr. Sorensen’s leadership in the current training effort facilitates not only good research mentorship but also excellent collaboration across research training programs at UCSF.

Carmen L. Masson, PhD (LEAD Program Director)

Dr. Masson’s research has focused on the design and evaluation of behavioral interventions to address HIV and HCV health disparities among drug using populations. Her research has included the cost and cost-effectiveness of methadone maintenance treatment, integration of syringe exchange services in a hospital setting as a strategy to reduce HIV transmission and increase healthcare access, barriers to healthcare access among drug users, HIV/HCV testing and treatment, and a randomized trial of a hepatitis care coordination intervention in the methadone treatment setting.

Dr. Masson has been a core faculty member within the UCSF Postdoctoral Training Program in Drug Abuse Treatment and Services Research since 1998 (T32DA007250; Director, James L. Sorensen), and has mentored and co-mentored several promising early stage investigators through this training program. For the past 11 years she has also served as the coordinator and mentor for undergraduate students in the UCSF site of the Summer Research with NIDA program. Dr. Masson also serves as the co-Director of the local Dissemination Team for the Western States Node of the NIDA Clinical Trials Network (CTN), and is a member of the national CTN’s Minority Special Interest Group. The Western States Node is one of 13 regional research centers in a national network dedicated to improving drug abuse treatment by determining effectiveness of promising and clinically relevant interventions in multi-site trials, and by supporting the transfer of effective interventions into clinical practice.

Joseph R. Guydish, PhD (Director of Program Evaluation)

The research of Dr. Guydish concerns access, delivery, and organization of substance abuse treatment services. His experience in addictions research includes studies evaluating efforts to improve access to publicly-funded drug abuse treatment, assessing federal policy to end addiction as an SSI disability category, evaluating needle exchange as an HIV prevention strategy, and investigating Drug Court and intensive case management interventions for drug-involved offenders.
In the course of his career, Dr. Guydish has been primarily responsible for the training of 16 pre and postdoctoral scholars, for both clinical and research training. Of these scholars, 5 (31%) have been underrepresented minority scholars, and an additional 5 (31%) were of other minorities not currently counted as underrepresented by the NIH. Much of this work occurred in the context of the UCSF NIDA T32 postdoctoral training program in Drug Abuse Treatment and Health Services Research, which is one of the programs used as a model for the LEAD program. In addition, and for the past 17 years, Dr. Guydish leads an annual 6 month Scientific Writing Seminar directed toward postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty, designed to support participants in the process of scientific writing and publication. In that time, the seminar has had a total of 162 seminar participants and, using rules which count only one manuscript per participant per year, the seminar has a 70% submission rate and a 64% publication rate for papers it has supported.

Training Committee members

Advisory Committee members

Minority advisors

UCSF faculty speakers