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Dr. Lesia Ruglass

Center Assistant Director & Associate Professor, Department of Applied Psychology, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology

Office: SMH 222

Email: lesia.ruglass@rutgers.edu

  • Bio
  • Current Research
  • Grants
  • Selected Publications
  • Recent Awards
  • Other Information


Lesia Ruglass, Ph.D., is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP) at Rutgers University, where she also serves as Assistant Director of the Center of Alcohol & Substance Use Studies. Prior to joining Rutgers, she worked as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the City College of New York, CUNY, where she also directed the NYS certified CASAC program. She also previously worked at the Social Intervention Group at the Columbia University School of Social Work for several years. Her research interests center on several areas: 1) testing the efficacy and effectiveness of combined and integrated treatments for co-occurring trauma/PTSD, and substance use disorders; 2) understanding the biopsychosocial mechanisms underlying SUDs (particularly cannabis use and tobacco use disorders); and 3) understanding and reducing racial/ethnic disparities in mental health, SUDs, and treatment outcomes. Dr. Ruglass is currently co-PI on a NIDA funded R25 training grant for translational addiction research for racial/ethnic minority BS/MD, MA and PhD students in the biomedical and social sciences and co-I on a large-scale secondary data analytic trial of PTSD and A/SUD clinical trials. She also recently completed two pilot studies examining racial/ethnic differences in attentional bias and cue reactivity among cannabis and tobacco users and was co-investigator on several clinical trials that examined the efficacy/effectiveness of combined and integrated treatments for co-occurring PTSD and substance use disorders (SUD). Dr. Ruglass has received awards and grants from the National Institutes on Health and the City College City SEEDS program. She has published multiple peer-reviewed articles and presented her work nationally and internationally. She is co-author of the book, Psychology of Trauma 101 (with Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, Springer Publishing) and co-editor of the book, Women’s Mental Health Across the Lifespan: Challenges, Vulnerabilities, and Strengths (with Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, Routledge Publishing).



Current Research

  • Understanding racial differences in attentional bias and cue reactivity among Black and White cigarette smokers (PI)
  • Neural and behavioral correlates of attentional bias to cannabis cues among adults with cannabis use disorders (PI)
  • Advancing Clinical Trials for PTSD and A/SUDs Using the Virtual Multisite Clinical Trial (Co-I)
  • TRACC Program (Translational Research Training in Addictions for Racial/Ethnic Minorities at the City College of New York and Columbia University Medical Center (MPI)


2018-2020 Sponsor: NIH/NIAAA (MPIs: Denise A. Hien, Ph.D., and Antonio Morgan-Lopez, Ph.D.); Title: Advancing Clinical Trials for PTSD and A/SUDs Using the Virtual Multisite Clinical Trial; Role: Co-Investigator; Amount: $1.7 million 
2013-2019 Sponsor: NIH/NIDA (MPIs: Ruglass & Hien); Title: Translational research training in addictions for racial/ethnic minority students at City College of New York and Columbia University Medical Center (TRACC); Roles: Principal Investigator (2016-2019); Co-Investigator (2013-2016); Education Coordinator; Faculty Mentor; Amount: $1.5 million
2014-2017 Sponsor: NIH/NCI (MPIs: Sheffer/Ostroff); Title: The TREND Partnership: Translational Research Education and Training to Eliminate Tobacco Disparities. Roles: co-Principal Investigator (Pilot Research Project: “Racial Differences in Smoking Cue Reactivity”; Amount: ~$30,000/year; Total Direct: $60,000; 2014-2017) and Faculty (Research Education and Curriculum Training [REACT] Core)
2013-2016 Sponsor: The City College of New York, City University of New York, City Seeds Fund (PI: Ruglass); Title: Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Biopsychosocial Factors Associated with Cannabis Use Disorders; Role: Principal Investigator; Amount: $45,000 


Selected Publications

Hien, D., Smith, K.Z., Owens, M., Lopez-Castro, T., Ruglass, L.M, & Papini, S. (in press). Lagged effects of symptom change in a randomized controlled trial for PTSD and substance use disorders. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Ruglass, L.M., & Yali, A.M. (in press). Do race/ethnicity and religious affiliation moderate treatment outcomes among individuals with co-occurring PTSD and substance use disorders? Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community.

Ruglass, L.M., Espinosa, A., Sykes, K., *Shevorykin, A., +Nicholson, R., & *Dambreville, N. (2018). Direct and indirect effects of cumulative trauma on history of arrest among lower SES African American and Latina women. Race and Justice, 8, 2, 126-153. (E-pub 2016 June 30, 2016).

Melara, R., Ruglass, L.M., Fertuck, E., & Hien, D. (2018). Self-regulation of threat in Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: Associations between inhibitory control and dissociative symptomatology. Biological Psychology, 133, 89-98.

Hien, D., Lopez-Castro, T., Papini, S., Gorman, B., & Ruglass, L. M. (2017). Emotion dysregulation moderates the effect of cognitive behavior therapy with prolonged exposure for co-occurring PTSD and substance use disorders. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 52, 53-61.

Ruglass, L. M., *Shevorykin, A., Brezing, C., Hu, M., & Hien, D. (2017). Psychiatric and psychosocial characteristics of treatment seeking individuals with co-occurring cannabis use disorder and cocaine use disorder. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 80, 45-51.

Espinosa, A., Ruglass, L.M., *Dambreville, N., *Shevorykin, A., +Nicholson, R., & Sykes, K. (2017). Correlates of child abuse potential among African American and Latina mothers: A developmental-ecological perspective. Child Abuse and Neglect, 70, 222-230.

Ruglass, L.M., Lopez-Castro, T., Papini, S., Killeen, T., Back, S., & Hien, D. A., (2017). Concurrent treatment with prolonged exposure for co-occurring posttraumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders: A randomized clinical trial. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 3, 150-161.

Ruglass, L.M., *Shevorykin, A., *Radoncic, V., Zumberg, K., Galatzer-Levy, I., Papini, S., & Hien, D. (2017). Impact of cannabis use on treatment outcomes among adults receiving cognitive-behavioral treatments for PTSD and substance use disorders. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 6(2), 14. (E-pub 2017 Feb 7).

Papini, S., Ruglass, L. M., Lopez-Castro, T., Powers, M. B., Smits, J. A. J., Hien, D. A. (2017). Chronic cannabis use is associated with impaired fear extinction in humans. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 126 (1), 117-124. (E-pub 2016 Nov 3).

Fertuck, E.A., *Tsoi, F., Grinband, J., Ruglass, L.M., Melara, R., Hien, D. A. (2016). Facial trustworthiness perception bias elevated in individuals with PTSD compared to trauma exposed controls. Psychiatry Research, 237, 43-48. (E-pub 2016 Jan 27).

Ruglass, L. M., *Pedersen, A., +Cheref, S., Hu, M., & Hien, D. (2016). Racial differences in adherence and response to combined treatment for full and subthreshold PTSD and alcohol use disorders: A secondary analysis. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, 15(4), 434-448. (E-pub 2015 Sept 30).

Ruglass, L. M., Lopez-Castro, T., +Cheref, S., *Papini, S., & Hien, D. A. (2014). At the crossroads: The intersection of substance use disorders, anxiety disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Current Psychiatry Reports, 16(11), 505.

Ruglass, L. M., Hien, D. A., Hu, M. C., Campbell, A. N., Caldeira, N. A., Miele, G. M., & Chang, D. F. (2014). Racial/ethnic match and treatment outcomes for women with PTSD and substance use disorders receiving community-based treatment. Community Mental Health, 50(7), 811-822.

Ruglass, L. M., Hien, D. A., Hu, M., & Campbell, A. N. (2014). Associations between PTSD symptoms and stimulant use: A secondary analysis of NIDA’s women and trauma study. American Journal on Addictions, 23, 90-95.

Recent Awards

  • NIAAA/R13 Symposium (APA Convention), Travel Award, 2014
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH), Loan Repayment Program, Initial Contract and 2 Competitive Renewal Awards, 2008-2014
  • NIAAA/NIDA, Early Career Investigator Poster Session Travel Award (APA Convention), 2009
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Director’s Travel Award (CPDD Convention), 2008

Other Information

Courses Taught: Psychopathology; Biological Bases of Behavior

Research Interests: Assessment and Integrated Treatment of Trauma/PTSD and Substance Use Disorders (SUDs); Understanding Mechanisms of Substance Use Disorders; Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Mental Health and SUDs; HIV/AIDS prevention in Racial/Ethnic Minority Communities