Kuerbis, Alexis | LCSW | PhD

Phone: (212) 396- 7538
Office: 435
Email: ak1465@hunter.cuny.edu
Areas of Expertise:
Substance use and misuse
Brief interventions for individuals who drink hazardously
Mechanisms of behavior change within addictive behaviors
Substance use and special populations (older adults, LGBTQIA+)
Mobile health interventions
Ecological momentary assessment

Ph.D., New York University
M.S.W., New York University

Courses Include:
Alcoholism and Substance Abuse
Clinical Practice with Individuals, Groups and Families II and III
Methods of Data Analysis (Doctoral Program)
Advanced Statistical Analysis (Doctoral Program)

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Kuerbis, A., Sacco, P., Blazer, D., & Moore, A. A. (2014). Substance use disorders in older adults. Clinics in Geriatric Medicine, 30(3), 629-654.

Kuerbis, A., Mereish, E., Hayes, M., Davis, C. M., Shao, S., & Morgenstern, J. (2017). Testing cross-sectional and prospective mediators of internalized heterosexism on heavy drinking, alcohol problems, and psychological distress among heavy drinking men who have sex with men. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 78(1), 113-123.

Kuerbis, A., Mulliken, A., Muench, F., Moore, A. A., & Gardner, D. (2017). Older adults and mobile technology: Toward a better understanding of utilization for applications to behavioral health. Mental Health and Addiction Research, 2(2), 1-11.

Kuerbis, A., Houser, J., Levak, S., Shao, S. & Morgenstern, J. (2018). Exploration of treatment matching to problem drinker characteristics with motivational interviewing and non-directive client-centered psychotherapy for problem drinkers. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 86, 9-16.

Kuerbis, A., Treloar Padovano, H., Shao, S., Houser, J., Muench, F., & Morgenstern, J. (2018). Comparing daily drivers of problem drinking among older and younger adults: An electronic daily diary study using smartphones. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 183, 240-246.


Tailored Adaptive Mobile Messaging to Reduce Hazardous Drinking
This NIH funded study is a randomized controlled trial investigating the efficacy of tailored text messaging to help problem drinkers reduce their drinking. Text messages are based on contemporary theories of behavior change and building off of evidence-based practices in substance use disorder. Adaptive text messaging demonstrates the quickest reduction in hazardous drinking (within 1 month), while even just weekly mobile assessment of drinking reduced hazardous drinking to an equivalent amount by 6 months. This study emphasizes the utility of even minimal mobile health interventions in improving public health.

Project STOP PAIN: Developing interventions for older adults living with HIV who experience severe pain and use mood altering substances problematically.
This NIH funded study pilot tested a combined cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), tai chi, and supportive text messaging to treat older adults living with HIV to manage their pain and reduce their substance use. This studied yielded interesting findings. The combined treatment was feasible and acceptable to the participants, and it was also preliminarily effective in reducing alcohol and drug use and increasing physical activity. Furthermore, participants provided feedback that they wanted more sessions and to discuss HIV stigma and loneliness more overtly in the therapy. Our team is now working on adapting the intervention to these suggestions. In addition, a reciprocal relationship between pain and alcohol use was discovered—each increasing the other in the next 24 hours. Physical exercise on a daily basis reduced worst pain.

Adaptive Interventions for Problem Drinkers
This NIH funded study is a randomized controlled trial testing stepped care, brief interventions for problem drinkers. The intervention is meant to mimic the ideal processes in primary care in treating problem drinking to identify mechanisms of action of those interventions in order to improve and streamline them. Findings demonstrated that participants who had at least some cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), not only motivational interviewing (MI), reduced their use the most. Analyses on the mechanisms of action within trajectories of treatment are being explored.

Component Analysis of Motivational Interviewing (Project Motion)
Several hundred randomized controlled trials have confirmed that motivational interviewing is an effective intervention for working with individuals to change a variety of health behaviors. However, it remains unknown how MI works to help individuals change their behavior. This randomized controlled trial aimed to investigate the mechanisms of behavior change for individuals with mild to moderate alcohol use disorder with a desire to moderate their drinking. Thus far findings appear to support the idea that motivational interviewing should only be used when there is either very little or an absence of motivation.

Naltrexone and Psychotherapy for Men who have Sex with Men who Drink Hazardously (Project SMART)
Heavy drinking men who have sex with men (MSM) are a unique at-risk for experiencing problems related to their alcohol use and for contracting HIV compared to their heterosexual counterparts. This study aimed to address these risks by examining the efficacy of naltrexone, psychotherapy (CBT), and these two treatments combined among problem drinking MSM. Findings from several different analyses revealed that while CBT had the most profound impact, naltrexone was therapeutic in both the presence and absence of CBT. Analyses continue on these data.