M. Dolores Cimini

M. Dolores Cimini

Director & Senior Research Scientist
Center for Behavioral Health Promotion and Applied Research
Department of Educational & Counseling Psychology
School of Education
Psychological Services Center


Catskill 271

PhD, Clinical Psychology, State University of New York at Albany 

New York State Licensed Psychologist 

Dr. M. Dolores Cimini headshot wearing purple blazer

Dr. M. Dolores Cimini is a New York State licensed psychologist and Director of the Center for Behavioral Health Promotion and Applied Research and Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology. She is the former Director of the nationally recognized Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program. 

Dr. Cimini has led comprehensive efforts in research-to-practice translation at the University at Albany since 1990 with over $10 million in support from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, and New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports.  

The screening and brief intervention program developed by Dr. Cimini — the STEPS Comprehensive Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention Program — has earned 13 national awards for best practices and innovation in behavioral health care.  

Dr. Cimini has co-edited two books, including a volume focused on college student health and well-being entitled Promoting Behavioral Health and Reducing Risk Among College Students: A Comprehensive Approach (2018) and Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment for Substance Use: A Practitioner’s Guide (2020).  

Dr. Cimini has served as a member of the National Advisory Council of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention from 2015 to 2019 and is currently a member of the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association.  

She served on the governance board of the American Psychological Association (APA), where she is a former Chair of the Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest. In this role, she has had leadership for reviewing and disseminating APA’s practice standards focused on serving diverse and underrepresented groups and addressing issues related to psychology and social justice.  

Dr. Cimini enjoys long-distance walking, traveling and listening to classical and modern music. 

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Teaching: Substance use and addictive behaviors, suicide prevention and crisis intervention, prevention and early intervention, internship in mental health counseling, and practicum in counseling psychology.

Research: Prevention, early intervention, and treatment of substance use and related risk behaviors among emerging adults and college students; Suicide prevention and crisis intervention; Mental health promotion and early intervention: Sexual assault, stalking, and violence prevention; Prevention and early intervention using a comprehensive public health framework; Disability issues; Leadership development.

Research Center: Center for Behavioral Health Promotion and Applied Research


  1. Martens, M.P., Cimini, M.D., Barr, A.R., Rivero, E.M., Vellis, P.A., Desemone, G.A. & Horner, K.J. (2007). Implementing a Screening and Brief Intervention for High-Risk Drinking in University-Based Health and Mental Health Care Settings: Reductions in Alcohol Use and Correlates of Success, Addictive Behaviors.  doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2007.05.005.

  2. Cimini, M. D., Martens, M. P., Larimer, M. E., Kilmer, J. R., Neighbors, C., & Monserrat, J. M. (2009). Assessing the effectiveness of peer-facilitated interventions addressing high-risk drinking among judicially mandated college students. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs,16, 57-66.

  3. Martens, M. P., Hatchett, E. S., Martin, J. L., Fowler, R. M., Fleming, K. M., Karakashian, M. A., & Cimini, M. D. (2010). Does trait urgency moderate the relationship between parental alcoholism and alcohol use? Addiction Research and Theory, 18, 479-488. doi:10.3109/16066350903145064.

  4. Martens, M. P., Martin, J. L., Littlefield, A. K., Murphy, J. G., & Cimini, M. D. (2011). Changes in protective behavioral strategies and alcohol use among college students. Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

  5. Cimini, M. D., Rivero, E. M., Bernier, J. E., Stanley, J. A., Murray, A. D., Anderson, D. A., &  Bapat, M. (2014). Implementing an Audience-Specific Small-Group Gatekeeper Training Program to Respond to Suicide Risk among College Students: A Case Study. Journal of American College Health, 62(2), 92-100.

  6. Rivero, E. M., Cimini, M. D., Bernier, J. E., Stanley, J. A., Murray, A. D., Anderson, D. A., & Wright, H. R. (2014). Implementing an early intervention program for residential students who present with suicide risk: a case study. Journal of American College Health, doi:10.1080/07448481.2014.887574.

  7. Cimini, M.D., Monserrat, J.M., Sokolowski, K.L., Dewitt-Parker, J.Y., Rivero, E.M., & McElroy, L.A.  (2015). Reducing high-risk drinking among student-athletes: The effects of a targeted athlete-specific brief intervention.  Journal of American College Health, 63(6), 343-352. DOI:10.1080/07448481.2015.1031236.

  8. Arria, A. M., Caldeira, K. M., Vincent, K. B., O'Grady, K. E., Cimini, M. D., Geisner, I. M., Kilmer, J.R., & Larimer, M. E. (2017). Do college students improve their grades by using prescription stimulants nonmedically? Addictive behaviors, 65, 245-249.

  9. Arria, A. M., Geisner, I. M., Cimini, M. D., Kilmer, J. R., Caldeira, K. M., Barrall, A. L., & Lee, C. M. (2018). Perceived academic benefit is associated with nonmedical prescription stimulant use among college students. Addictive Behaviors, 76, 27-33.

  10. Sawyer, J. S., Sokolowski, K., Ertl, M. M., Longo, L. M., Cimini, M. D., & Rivero, E. Racial and sex differences in college student engagement in health risk behaviors. Manuscript in preparation.

  11. Martin, J. L., Cimini, M. D., Longo, L., M., Sawyer, J. S. Ertl, M. M. (2020). Equipping mental health professionals to meet the needs of substance-using clients: Evaluation of an SBIRT training program. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 14, 42–51.

  12. Mun, E. Y., Li, X., Lineberry, S., Tan, Z., Huh, D., Walters, S. T., Zhou, Z., Larimer, M. E., & in Collaboration with Project INTEGRATE Team (2021). Do Brief Alcohol Interventions Reduce Driving After Drinking Among College Students? A Two-step Meta-analysis of Individual Participant Data. Alcohol and Alcoholism (Oxford, Oxfordshire), agaa146. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1093/alcalc/agaa146.

  13. Kilmer, J. R., Fossos-Wong, N., Geisner, I. M., Yeh, J. C., Larimer, M. E., Cimini, M. D.,& Arria, A. M. (2021). Nonmedical use of prescription stimulants as a “Red Flag” for other substance use. Substance Use & Misuse, 56(7), 941-949.

  14. Fossos-Wong, N., Litt, D. M., King, K. M., Kilmer, J. R., Fairlie, A. M., Larimer, M. E., ... & Lewis, M. A. (2021). Behavioral willingness, descriptive normative perceptions, and prescription stimulant misuse among young adults 18-20. Substance Use & Misuse, 1-8.


  1. Cimini, M.D. & Rivero, E.M. (2013). Postvention as a Prevention Tool: Developing a Comprehensive Campus Response to Suicide and Related Risk. New Directions for Student Services: Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  2. Baille, S.K., Kilmer, J.R., & Cimini, M.D. (2015). Health, wellness, and alcohol:  reaching students through education and intervention. In Anderson, D.A., Wellness Issues for Higher Education. New York: Routledge Press, Inc.

  3. Cimini, M.D. (2016). The experience of disability: sociocultural and psychological factors. In Anderson, D.A., Further Wellness Issues for Higher Education. New York: Routledge.

  4. Cimini, M.D. & Rivero, E.M., Eds. (2018). Promoting Behavioral Health and Reducing Risk among College Students: A Comprehensive Approach. New York: Routledge.

  5. Cimini, M.D. & Martin, J.L., Eds. (2020). Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment: A Practitioner’s Guide. Washington: APA Books.

  6. Cimini, M.D. & Martin, J.L., (In press).Addressing substance use in clinical assessment and treatment. In APA Handbook of Psychotherapy. Washington: APA Books.

Most Recent Grants:

Project ACCESS (Achieving College Completion through Engaged Support Services):  A Comprehensive HIV Prevention Navigator Program at a Large Public University

The purpose of this  project is to provide timely and responsive HIV Prevention Navigator services to undergraduate and graduate students from racial/ethnic minorities at highest risk for HIV and substance use disorders enrolled at the University at Albany, State University of New York, a diverse public institution of higher education that offers access to excellence and career opportunities for students from racial and ethnic minorities hailing from areas that are hardest hit by the HIV epidemic (Bronx County, Kings County, New York County, and Queens County).

  • Funder: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (SAMHSA-CSAP)            

  • Award Amount: $999,318

  • Project Dates: August 31, 2021, to August 30, 2026

  • Role on Project: Principal Investigator


The STEPS Program: Expanding and Enhancing a Comprehensive, Coordinated Response to Student Suicide and Substance Abuse on a Large Public University Campus

Project activities will include: the development, implementation, and evaluation of an interactive online gatekeeper training program that contains the flexibility to address faculty and staff department and student group-specific needs, concerns, and subcultures, so that each of these audiences may respond effectively to students with mental and behavioral health problems, including suicide risk and substance abuse, and enhancement, implementation, and evaluation of the University’s existing innovative, evidence-based substance abuse Screening and Brief Intervention (SBI) protocol for alcohol abuse to include concurrent screening for depression, anxiety, marijuana, the non-medical use of prescription drugs, and opioid use.

  • Funder: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (SAMHSA-CMHS)

  • Award Amount: $306,000

  • Project Dates: November 20, 2018, to November 29, 2021

  • Role on Project: Principal Investigator


University at Albany Collegiate Recovery Program Enhancement Project

This project aims to enhance and evaluate the University at Albany’s Collegiate Recovery Program (CRP). Focus areas will include enhancing access to health and counseling care for students in recovery, offering collegiate recovery housing, providing educational opportunities and academic support to students in recovery, and expanding the network of campus and community services that are collaborating with the CRP to promote retention and graduation for students in recovery.

  • Funder: New York State office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services

  • Award Amount: $240,000

  • Project Dates: September 30, 2018, to September 29, 2020

  • Role on Project: Principal Investigator


University at Albany Alcohol and Other Drug Environmental Prevention Grant

This project aims to enhance and evaluate the University at Albany’s comprehensive prevention program addressing alcohol and other drug misuse among students. Focus areas will include the enhancement of the University’s campus-community coalition as well as expansion of efforts in Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT).

  • Funder: New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services

  • Award Amount: $655,000

  • Project Dates: July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2022

  • Role on Project: Principal Investigator


Project PHARM: Personalized Health Assessment Related to Medications

This project aims to develop, implement, and evaluate the efficacy of screening and brief intervention for the non-medical use of stimulant and co-occurring marijuana and alcohol use at nine colleges and universities across the United States.

  • Funder: National Institute on Drug Abuse

  • Award Amount: $460,703

  • Project Dates: September 1, 2015, to August 31, 2021

  • Role on Project: Principal Investigator