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William Kerr, PhD

William C. Kerr, PhD, is a senior scientist at the Alcohol Research Group (ARG).

Since joining ARG in 2001, Kerr has pursued research in the areas of alcohol policy; the methodology of alcohol use pattern measurement; the decomposition of trends in U.S. alcohol consumption with a focus on age, period and cohort modeling; and the relationship between alcohol use patterns and health and mortality outcomes. His research utilizes both individual-level data from surveys and aggregate-level data from sales and mortality statistics.

Kerr also conducted a review and completed an annotated bibliography covering key areas in alcohol policy and regulation. He was the principal investigator of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 project focused on population relationships between alcohol consumption and mortality causes in the U.S., which was completed in 2010. He is currently an assistant editor for the journal Addiction and a member of the editorial board of the journal Contemporary Drug Problems.

From 1997 to 2001, Kerr served as the project director of the Collaborative Alcohol Related Longitudinal Project in the Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco.

Kerr received his PhD in economics from the University of California at Davis in 1997.

Alcohol and Pregnancy: Do State-Level Punitive and Supportive Policies Matter?

The Alcohol Research Group will support UCSF’s study by:  1) Prepare complex survey and vital statistics data for analysis, including strategies for variable coding to account for changes in question wording, measurement, and sampling that occurred over the thirty to forty years of data collection;  2) Prepare datasets for analysis and conduct preliminary analyses; 3) Conduct data analysis and provide guidance to Dr. Roberts on data analysis; 4) Collaborate closely with Dr. Roberts to interpret findings and 5) Contribute as co-authors on manuscripts for publication as well as conference presentations.

Disparities in Alcohol-related Risks for Injury, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Morbidity and Mortality

This project assesses the health disparities in major alcohol-related injuries and chronic conditions. Analysis of alcohol’s role in risks for these health issues among disparate populations will help our understanding of how to reduce alcohol-related disparities through policy, prevention efforts and treatment. Data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and the National Alcohol Surveys (NAS) will be used to assess major causes of illness, injury, disability and death in areas of the US where significant alcohol-related racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities occur. Results will inform efforts to reduce health disparities through targeted and general policies and interventions aimed at reducing alcohol use and problems in disadvantaged populations.

Effects of Spirits Privatization on Alcohol Prices and Alcohol-Related Harms

This project will track implementation of regulations, revenues and prices and use state-representative surveys of Washington drinkers and residents to evaluate changes in drinking, purchasing, problems, attitudes and experiences following privatization and other subsequent changes. Results will inform debates on government control of alcohol sales, relevant to 18 remaining control states, and on the three-tier system and alcohol taxation relevant to all US states.

Epidemiology of Alcohol Problems: Alcohol-related Disparities

The grant supports four core components and three research projects that focus on addressing alcohol-related health disparities in order to identify and reduce the effects of economic or social disadvantage on public health outcomes. It also supports the National Alcohol Research Resources Core which enables researchers to conduct the National Alcohol Survey (NAS), a cross-sectional alcohol-epidemiological survey every five years and undergirds Center research projects.  With a future wave scheduled to begin in 2018, the NAS will celebrate forty years of monitoring our nation’s drinking patterns and its associated problems in various sub-populations.

National Alcohol Research Center Administrative Core

The Administrative Core is responsible for the overall management and coordination of the National Alcohol Research Center as a whole. In addition to Director William C. Kerr, the Center’s senior leaders include Associate Director Sarah E. Zemore. Dr. Zemore serves as the Center’s Director of Training and is PI of the T32 Training grant. Dr. Zemore also leads the enrichment speakers’ program. This program brings nationally and internationally renowned scientists to present their new research and to meet with staff and fellows on common interests. She also assists Dr. Kerr in Center administrative duties.

State Parity Laws May Explain Why Federal Policy Aimed at Increasing Access to Alcohol Treatment Services Shows Modest Effect (2019)

In the US, approximately 16 million people have an alcohol use disorder and heavy drinking is a leading cause of preventable death. However, a...

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Trends in Alcohol’s Harms to Others (AHTO) and Co-occurrence of Family-Related AHTO: The Four US National Alcohol Surveys, 2000–2015 (2015)

PHI Alcohol Research Group researchers Thomas K. Greenfield, Katherine Karriker-Jaffe, Lauren Kaplan and William C. Kerr, along with Sharon C. Wils...

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The Blurring of Alcohol Categories (2013)

Consumers often don't know how much alcohol is in their drink because beer and wine makers have been upping the amount of alcohol in ...

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With more than 1,000 peer-reviewed studies, PHI’s highly regarded epidemiological research on substance abuse identifies gaps in knowledge an...

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Law & Policy

The Public Health Institute believes in the power of laws and policies to improve public health outcomes by changing community environments to bett...

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Research - Quantitative

To make an effective impact on community health, public health practices, programs and policies must be informed by accurate research and analysis....

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Research - Survey

The Public Health Institute believes in fostering health and well-being through rigorous quantitative and qualitative research, guided by the princ...

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