Michael Fendrich, PhD

Associate Dean for Research
Professor (PI)

School of Social Work

Research Overview

The central question that drives my research agenda is: “How can we understand the risk of substance abuse in the population?” My ongoing work in measurement – specifically in biomarker development – addresses this question. My work responds to the notion that substance use may not be accurately reported on in surveys. I have conducted four epidemiological studies that have assessed substance use in the population by incorporating survey questions and biomarker testing.

While my earlier biomarker studies have focused on illicit drug detection, most recently, I have worked on the development of biomarkers for heavy drinking. In a recently completed NIAAA SBIR grant, in collaboration with colleagues in private industry, I validated a biomarker by exploring the concentration of Ethylglucuronide in fingernails and hair in a probability sample of college students. My work examining the consequences and correlates of substance use in men who have sex with men – supported by two separate NIDA grants, underscores the interrelationships between high-risk sexual behavior, drug use, and psychiatric symptomology. My work evaluating the Milwaukee County Drug Court – supported by two SAMHSA grants – underscores the complex nature and intractability of substance involvement among those entering the criminal justice system. Increasingly, I have been driven by the need to understand how policies and programs impact substance abuse risk. Recognizing that prescription medication misuse is trending as the major substance abuse problem in the US, my recent work has begun to investigate the local and national impact of statewide Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs.

Finally, I note that for the past eight years, my research was executed while I provided solid administrative leadership to CABHR. I have experience fostering and promoting collaborative, extramurally funded research among center scientists, while continuing to build and expand my own research agenda.


B.A. Haverford College, Sociology & Anthropology, 1978
Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin, Community Psychology, 1985
M.S. Columbia University, Biostatistics, 1987

Recent/Selected Publications

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Contact Information
Phone(959) 200-3612
Mailing AddressSchool of Social Work
38 Prospect Street
Hartford, CT 06103