Andrea Mohan, PhD, MPH – President
Dr. Andrea Mohan is a Lecturer in the School of Health Sciences at the University of Dundee, and belongs to the Substance Use Research Group (SURG) within her department. Andy’s research interest spans the field of alcohol and drugs research, from population-level interventions such as alcohol licensing and drink-driving, to an individual focus on harm reduction and recovery. Andy’s research background is in public health, health promotion and behaviour change in socially-deprived populations and she has experience in public engagement.
Andy assumed the post of President of ICARA in October 2023. She previously served as Vice-President of ICARA from 2021-2023.
Matej Košir – Immediate Past President
Matej Košir is the Director of UTRIP (www.institut-utrip.si) and served as ICARA President from 2021-2023. He has been working in the field of addiction prevention and public health advocacy for the last 20 years. He is an author, co-author and reviewer of scientific articles and papers. He has been a Postgraduate Research Assistant at Oxford Brookes University (UK) (2015-2016). He is a coordinator of the Prevention Platform network, which includes more than 40 supporting institutions and organisations in Slovenia. He was also a senior consultant of the World Bank in the field of alcohol policy and prevention between January 2017 and June 2019. He has been awarded by the European Society for Prevention Research (EUSPR) with “Leading European Prevention Science Practitioner Honour” in 2017. He has been awarded (together with his wife Sanela Talić) by the Society for Prevention Research (SPR) with “International Collaborative Prevention Research Award” in 2020. He is a PhD in Prevention Science student at the University of Zagreb (Croatia). He is a Deputy Chairperson of the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC).
Rachel Barry – Vice-President
Dr. Rachel Barry is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow within the University of Bath’s Tobacco Control Research Group (TCRG). Currently, Rachel leads a work package for the SPECTRUM Research Consortium, a multi-university project focused on the commercial determinants of health, on how commercial actors influence health and public policy. Over the last decade, Rachel has examined the political influence and regulation of several industries (tobacco, cannabis, e-cigarettes and alcohol), working across multiple projects at three leading research centres in Bath, Edinburgh and San Francisco, with expertise in questions around coherence and coordination that are integral to the future development of research on the commercial determinants of health.
Rachel has substantial experience in applied health policy research with particular expertise in qualitative methods. Rachel is widely recognised for her work on cannabis regulation, having served as an expert policy advisor for Health Canada’s Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Secretariat and the Lt. Governor of California’s Marijuana Policy Commission. She is also a member of the Drug Research Network Scotland (DRNS). Her research has received widespread media attention, including interviews with several high-profile news outlets such as Time Magazine, Vice News, Healthline and US National Public Radio.
Rachel was appointed as Vice-President of ICARA in October 2023. She previously served as Secretary from 2021-2023.
Jenni Savonen, M.Soc.Sci – Treasurer
Jenni Savonen is a social psychologist finishing her PhD at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Her research is on the social representations of illicit drug use – on how this societal group is perceived by others and how it affects policies and identity construction. Jenni has worked also with other dependence-related projects at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare and is currently the secretary of the Finnish Society for Alcohol, Drug and Gambling research.
Jenni was appointed as Treasurer of ICARA in November 2021.
Josefin Westermarck – Secretary & Deputy Treasurer
Josefine Westermarck is a sociologist and doctoral student at University of Helsinki, Finland. She is currently working on her PhD project that investigates alcohol harm in alcohol law preparation in
Josefin was appointed at Secretary and Deputy Treasurer of ICARA in October 2023.
Neo Morojele, PhD – Board Member
Professor Neo Morojele is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. She is also an Honorary Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of the Witwatersrand and the School of Public Health and Family Medicine at the University of Cape Town, and serves as a Consultant to the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Research Unit of the South African Medical Research Council. Her current research focuses on alcohol use and HIV; alcohol policy; and access to substance use disorder treatment among men in South Africa. She is a Co-Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Alcohol and Drug Research; Associate Editor for Africa for the Journal of Substance Use; and an Associate Editor of the African Journal of Drug and Alcohol Studies.
Neo was appointed as an Ordinary Board member in 2018, and was re-elected to the role in November 2021
Joel Msafiri Francis, MD, MSc, PhD – Board Member
Dr. Joel Francis is an epidemiologist, and senior researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand, School of Clinical Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, and Primary Care.
Prior to joining WITS, he worked as a research scientist with the National Institute for Medical Research in Tanzania and a research fellow with the Department of Global Health and Population at Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University. He holds a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree (equivalent to MBBCh) from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and an MSc in Epidemiology from Harvard University, USA, and a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of London (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), UK. His primary areas of research interests include Alcohol and Other Drug Use, HIV, Mental Health, Implementation Science and Epidemiology.
He serves in the editorial boards of three BMC series journals (BMC- Public Health & BMC – Global Health Research and Policy, BMC -Infectious Diseases), the PLOS One journal, a statistical editor for the Health Policy and Planning Journal, an editorial advisor at the BMJ Open journal and the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
He is rated at NRF-C2 level by the South Africa National Research Foundation (NRF).
He was appointed to the ICARA board in November 2021.
Richard Purves, PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons) – Board Member
Dr. Richard Purves is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Marketing and Health, University of Stirling. Richard’s background is in qualitative research and his primary research interests involve studying the impact of commercial marketing on addictive behaviours (alcohol, tobacco, HFSS foods, gambling).
Richard is well known for his work in the field of alcohol marketing and sports sponsorship and his previous work has examined the nature and frequency of alcohol and gambling marketing during major sporting events such as the UEFA EURO 2016 football tournament and the 2020 Six Nations Rugby Union Championship. Richard is currently the principal investigator on two ESRC-funded projects in sports settings: one aims to investigate the role alcohol plays in UK football fans’ match day experiences; and the other is focused on the COVID-19 mitigation measures in place at the EURO 2020 football tournament. Richard’s other work includes learning from international implementation of alcohol marketing regulations, developing a peer-led, gambling education intervention, and exploring the role of public health teams in alcohol licensing.
Isabelle Uny, PhD – Board Member
Dr. Isabelle Uny is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Marketing and Health. Isa is a social scientist and an experienced qualitative researcher with a PhD in Global Health and Development. Her research in the area of alcohol harm prevention focuses on alcohol policy formulation and implementation mainly in Global South contexts. Isa is currently the PI on a project call RAPSSA (“Regulating alcohol packaging and supply to protect health in Sub-Saharan Africa: evidence from policy systems in Malawi and Uganda”) which will explore perceptions of the formulation and implementation of the ban on alcohol sachets in both countries with a view of drawing lessons for the Region.
Isa’s research uses a ‘decolonised’ approach and focuses on co-design and community engagement. A large part of her work is focused on research capacity strengthening and multidirectional learning between global North and Global South (and including South to South learning. Isa is also a Mentor on the WHO scientific research and writing mentorship initiative towards diversity in research on alcohol control policies.
Isa was appointed to the ICARA board in 2021.
Samantha Thomas, PhD – Board Member
Professor Samantha Thomas is Professor of Public Health at the Institute for Health Transformation, Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Australia where she currently leads the Public Health Policy, Engagement and Advocacy team. Samantha is an internationally recognised scholar and advocate on public health responses to harmful industries.
Professor Thomas is most well known for her research in the area of gambling harm prevention. Her team at Deakin focuses on the impact of gambling industry tactics and government policies on gambling harm. While most well known for their work on the impact of gambling marketing on the normalisation of gambling for children and young people, Samantha’s team also critically examines the impact of gambling industry strategies on women and young men, the normalisation of gambling for older adults, and ‘responsible gambling’ paradigms in public education campaigns. Other areas of research outside of gambling include understanding the impact of alcohol marketing on women, and youth engagement strategies for climate change.
In the last five years, Professor Thomas has received grants for gambling research from the Australian Research Council, the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, the Office of Gaming NSW, Deakin University, and Gamble with Lives. She has testified to numerous government inquiries relating to gambling, and regularly comments in national and international media.
Samantha was appointed to the ICARA board in November 2021.
Mélissa Mialon, PhD – Board Member
Dr. Mélissa Mialon is currently a Research Assistant Professor at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland (part-time), with funding from the Health Research Board. She recently obtained research funding from the Institut National du Cancer (INCa) in France, and will work on the practices of the alcohol industry in France.
Mélissa is an expert on the commmerical determinants of health (CDoH) and is the co-coordinator of the GECI-PH network (“governance, ethics and conflict of interest in public health” network), and a board member of Formindep, a civil society organisation led by medical doctors and advocating for the independence of medicine in France. She also works closely with the World Health Organization and other institutions.
Mélissa was appointed to the ICARA board in October 2023.
Alagie B. Janneh – Board Member
Alagie Janneh is the Chairman of the Alcohol Policy Alliance Gambia, and has been actively involved in advocating for evidence-based policies aimed at reducing the harm caused by alcohol use. Alagie is also a member of the West African Alcohol Policy Alliance Secretariat in Ghana, where he has gained valuable experience in working with stakeholders from diverse backgrounds. He is also trained medical practitioner with experience in public health and public policy.
Alagie was appointed to the ICARA board in October 2023.