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Christopher Williams

Lecturer in Psychology

Christopher Williams

Adjunct Associate Professor

Dr. Williams is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the State University of New York at Purchase College. He is also the Director and a Senior Research Scientist at National Health Promotion Associates (NHPA), a research firm that evaluates and disseminates evidence-based interventions that target behavioral risk factors associated with major chronic disease, violence, and preventable injuries. His research interests focus on risk behavior etiology; vulnerable minority youth; and, the examination of public health policy and practice to reduce racial health disparities.

Before joining Purchase and NHPA, Dr. Williams served as Deputy Director for Research Administration at the Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. He continues to serve on a number of DHHS advisory panels and ad hoc review committees at the National Institutes of Health’s Center for Scientific Review.

More About Me

Dr. Williams’s work focuses on two major areas including translational research areas involving alcohol, tobacco, and drug use and violence, and public health policies and practices:


Psychosocial Etiology Research that examines risk and protective factors for alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use among adolescents and young adults from diverse backgrounds as they learn to negotiate important developmental milestones. Special emphasis is placed on assessing social competence and self-regulation skills. This series of studies provide compelling empirical support for competence-enhancement models of drug abuse and violence prevention, with findings demonstrating that poor competence skills are consistently associated with elevated rates of problem behavior.

Preventive Intervention Research that employs behavioral interventions that teach adolescents a combination of resistance skills, refusal skills, and a variety of social and personal competence skills to reduce intrapersonal motivations to use substances and engage in violent behavior. These behavioral interventions are evaluated through methodologically rigorous randomized controlled trials that include psychometrically valid instruments, appropriate outcome variables, standardized data collection procedures, and well-accepted analytic methods.

Implementation Research that focuses on testing a variety of emerging technologies for preventing risky health behaviors and promoting health. Such strategies combine traditional in-person pedagogical techniques with innovative digital tools including e-learning modules, mobile apps, smart games, and immersive virtual reality technology.

Public Health Policy Research that critically examines policies and practices to address and reduce such health disparities laid bare by the Covid-19 global pandemic—disparities which are most pronounced for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC).

Dr. Williams’s research has been primarily supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Defense. Over the last decade, he has been Principal Investigator on 6 federal grants with over $5 million in total costs, and he has published over 20 peer-reviewed empirical papers on his research.

Research Interests

Focus Areas

  • Preventing Substance Abuse, Violence, and Related Risk Behaviors among Youth
  • Positive Youth Development as a Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy
  • Protective Role of Social and Self-Regulation Skills on Adolescent Risk Behavior
  • Digital and Hybrid Implementation of Evidence-Based Prevention Programs
  • Public Health Policy to Prevent and Reduce Racial Health Disparities

Representative Courses


  • Stress & Coping
  • Cyberpsychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Senior Thesis Supervision
  • Academic Mentoring


Williams C., & Vermund S.H. (2021). Syndemic framework evaluation of severe COVID-19 outcomes in the United States: Factors associated with race and ethnicity. Frontiers in Public Health. [PDF]


Griffin, K.W., Williams, C., Travis, W. & Tharp, A. (2021). The Effectiveness of a Brief Small-Group Intervention to Prevent Unwanted Sexual Contact among Cadets at the United States Air Force Academy. American Journal of Public Health. [PDF]


Williams, C., Griffin, K. W., Mehta, R. & Botvin, G. J. (2021). Testing an Evidence-Based Drug Abuse and Violence Preventive Approach Adapted for Youth in Juvenile Justice Diversionary Settings. Health and Justice, 9(3). [PDF]


Eger, W., Herman, D., House, M., Robinson, L. & Williams, C. (2021). Confronting a Legacy of Scarcity: A plan for America’s Re-investment in public health. A report by the Yale Global Health Justice Partnership of Yale Law School and Yale School of Public Health. [PDF]

Botvin, G.J., Griffin, K.W., Williams, C. (2015). Preventing Daily Substance Use among High School Students Using a Cognitive-Behavioral Competence Enhancement Approach. World Journal of Preventive Medicine, 3(3):48-53. [PDF]


Curriculum Vitae [PDF]

Presentations / Conferences

Recent Grants (awarded through NHPA)

A High School Program to Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse
Role on Project: Co-Investigator

Funding Source: NIH, National Institute on Drug Abuse, R44 DA043273
Project Dates: 5/1/2017 - 4/30/2023


An Evidence-Based Approach for Bullying and Cyberbullying Prevention
Role on Project: Principal Investigator
Funding Source: NICHD, National Institute on Child Health and Human Development, R44 HD074319
Project Dates: 6/1/2017 - 5/30/2023


Innovative Immersive Technologies for Evidence-Based Violence Prevention among College Students

Role on Project: Principal Investigator

Funding Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention, R43CE003173-01

Project Dates: 09/30/2020 – 09/29/2021


Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence among College Students
Role on Project: Co-Investigator
Funding Source: NIH, National Institute on Drug Abuse, R44 DA039602
Project Dates: 5/1/2015 - 1/31/2020


Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse in Middle School Students
Role on Project: Co-Investigator
Funding Source: NIH, National Institute on Drug Abuse, R44 DA040358
Project Dates: 9/15/2015 - 6/30/2019


Adapting a Life Skills Training Approach for Sexual Assault Prevention at the U.S. Air Force Academy

Role on Project: Co-Investigator
Funding Source: U.S. Department of Defense
Project Dates: 2/24/2017 - 2/23/2019


Testing a Multilevel Preventive Intervention in Youth Courts
Role on Project: Principal Investigator
Funding Source: NIH, National Institute on Drug Abuse, R34 DA034888
Project Dates: 9/15/2014 - 8/31/2018