Sex, Drugs & Science

The Stigma & Health Inequities Lab hosts the Sex, Drugs, & Science Podcast. We are interviewing your favorite sex and drugs scientists about what they study and why. Each week features an interview with a scientist studying topics such as: pornography, opioids, HIV, harm reduction, and other topics.

Co-hosted by Valerie Earnshaw and Carly Hill with help from the UD Stigma Lab


Sex, Drugs & Science Podcast

The Stigma & Health Inequities Lab hosts the Sex, Drugs, & Science Podcast. We interview your favorite sex and drugs scientists about what they study and why. Each week features an interview with a scientist studying topics such as: pornography, opioids, HIV, harm reduction, and others. Co-hosted by Valerie Earnshaw and Carly Hill with help from the UD Stigma Lab.

Download, subscribe, and let us know what you think. Follow @sexdrugsscience on Instagram for updates. Learn about our origin story in this UDaily article.

Natalie Brousseau recently earned her PhD in Human Development & Family Sciences from the University of Delaware and will soon begin a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Connecticut. Natalie, Valerie, and Carly chat about their work on the UDisclose study, which focused on understanding disclosure experiences among people in recovery from opioid use disorders in Delaware. Natalie shares the results of her three dissertation studies, and Valerie and Carly wish Natalie good luck in her next round of science adventures.

Dr. Sarah Calabrese is an Assistant Professor of clinical psychology at The George Washington University. Her research focuses on sexual health promotion among racial and sexual minorities and other socially marginalized groups. Sarah chats with Valerie about all things PrEP (an HIV prevention medication), including: how many people are (or aren’t) using PrEP, (arguably) conservative guidelines around PrEP recommendations, and provider bias in PrEP prescription that likely leads to inequities in who can access PrEP. Valerie asks Sarah about why it’s important to think about sexual pleasure when we’re studying HIV prevention and sexual health promotion.

Dave Humes is a Board Member and the Public Policy Coordinator of aTAcK addiction, a naloxone trainer, and co-chair of the Changing Perceptions and Stigma Subcommittee of the Behavioral Health Consortium In Delaware. Dave shares his story of losing his son to an opioid overdose, and how that inspired him to advocate for policy change surrounding access to naloxone (an opioid overdose-reversal medication) in Delaware. Valerie and Carly ask Dave for advice about advocating for policy change and Dave shares advice for scientists.

Dr. Judy Tan is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Prevention Science, Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS), at the University of California San Francisco. She is a behavioral and prevention scientist trained in social and health psychological theory, quantitative research methods, and intervention development. Judy chats with Valerie and Carly about her work with older people living with HIV, researching the role of romantic relationships in health promotion, and developing a choral intervention.

Ben Levenson is the Chairman of The Levenson Foundation and founder of Origins Behavioral HealthCare. Ben chats with Valerie and Carly about harm reduction, or ways to “derisk” drug use for the millions of people who use drugs in the United States, and the gap between “the bench and the trench,” or between scientific findings and addiction treatment. Ben talks about international approaches to drug use and leaves Valerie and Carly with some excellent food for thought about the need to end stigma towards all people who use drugs, not just people in recovery from drug use disorders.

Dr. Brandon del Pozo is a postdoctoral researcher on the consequences of substance use and addiction at Rhode Island’s Miriam Hospital and the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. His interests include studying systems-level approaches to delivering substance use treatment services, overcoming the stigmas that obstruct evidence-based responses to the nation’s opioid crisis, and confronting our growing stimulant epidemic. Brandon talks with Valerie and Carly about implementing evidence-based strategies to address the opioid crisis as chief of police of Burlington, Vermont. Valerie asks Brandon about how his training in philosophy informs his work, whether academics or police are more hierarchical, and his thoughts on police discretion as a critical point of intervention.

Dr. Allecia Reid is an Assistant Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Allecia’s research aims to both understand the psychological, social, and environmental factors that relate to health behaviors and to improve the design of health promotion interventions. Allecia talks with Valerie and Carly about drinking on college campuses, including the roles of peer influence and mimicry on alcohol use as well as protective strategies to reduce harmful alcohol use. Allecia also shares about her Fulbright experience working in the UK.

Dr. Morgan Philbin is an Assistant Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. Morgan’s work explores how social-structural factors impact health outcomes for vulnerable populations, particularly racial/ethnic and sexual minority youth. Morgan talks with Valerie and Carly about her research on cannabis policies, challenges in studying how policies impact health, and the role of scientists in policy change. Morgan describes how her experiences studying and working abroad have informed her research, and advises students to take time off before starting graduate school.

Liz Richards is Executive Director of the Delaware Cares Coalition for Paid Leave, which is a coalition of health, labor, faith, business, family and community organizations and advocates committed to passing Paid Family and Medical Leave in Delaware. Liz talks with Valerie and Carly about her work advocating for paid leave in Delaware, the research evidence supporting paid leave, and how scientists can support policy change surrounding paid leave.

Dr. Ryan Watson is an Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Connecticut. Ryan’s research focuses on reducing health disparities among sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth and young adults. Ryan talks with Valerie and Carly about how terminology used by sexual and gender minority individuals changes over time (especially among youth), the role of minority stress in health, and how parents can buffer or protect youth from minority stressors. Ryan and Valerie nerd out about their interests in disclosure and time.

Dr. Laramie Smith is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at the University of California, San Diego. Valerie, Carly, and Laramie take a slow walk through Laramie’s early years, including her childhood plans to become a rodeo barrel rider and adversities she faced on her path to college. Laramie shares her experiences working for the Seattle King County HIV Planning Council before graduate school, her dissertation project in the Bronx, and her current intervention work in Tijuana. Laramie and Valerie reflect on the value of qualitative work and some of the participants from whom they’ve learned the most.

Dr. Ingrid Katz is an Associate Director at the Harvard Global Health Institute, Associate Physician in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Assistant Professor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a research scientist at the Center for Global Health at Massachusetts General Hospital. Ingrid’s research focuses on the social determinants of health-seeking behavior among people living with HIV in South Africa. Ingrid talks with Valerie and Carly about biking across the country after college to raise awareness about HIV, her interest in the “complexity of the human condition”, the value of interdisciplinary teams, her many work hats (doctor, scientist, teacher), and being part of the first openly gay couple to match at a Harvard-affiliated hospital.

This week, Valerie and Carly invite the undergrads to talk a little more about why and how we started the podcast. While we’re away on break, follow us on instagram @sexdrugsscience or email us with any questions at As always, subscribe to the podcast to stay up to date with the next season!

Dr. Samuel Friedman is a Research Professor and faculty member at the Center for Opioid Epidemiology and Policy in the Department of Population Health at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. He is also the Senior Theoretician and Associate Director of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Theory Core at the Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR). In this bonus episode, Sam and Valerie discuss their role in activism as it relates to academia. Sam also talks about his role in drug user activism in the 1990s, specifically a demonstration at the Department of Health and Human Services which involves a 12 foot tall replica of a human backbone.

Dr. Jelani Kerr is an Associate Professor of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences. Jelani and Valerie talk about what getting tenure means for them and doing research in community settings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jelani describes how he got interested in HIV research, connects drug policy to the HIV epidemic in African American communities, gives a history lesson on the war on drugs, and describes why police brutality is a systemic problem. Carly and Valerie talk about Breonna Taylor, the #SayHerName campaign, and stereotypes underlying police brutality targeting Black women.

Dr. Gabriel Culbert is an Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Illinois Chicago and Dr. Agung Waluyo is the Directorate of Community Engagement & Empowerment at the Universitas Indonesia. Gabe and Agung describe how they met in Jakarta in 2003 and how their research partnership has developed since then. Agung reflects on what it was like to learn about drug use and the HIV epidemic after a sheltered childhood, recalls being warned that he could be sent to jail for doing stigma research focused on Indonesian healthcare providers, and shares how he navigates conversations about politically sensitive research with government officials. Gabe describes the reasons why the HIV epidemic became concentrated in prisons in Indonesia, questions why Indonesia has one of the highest HIV mortality rates despite having the largest universal healthcare system in the world, and envisions an expanded role for nurses in HIV prevention and treatment. Valerie and Carly nominate Gabe and Agung to be poster children for international research partnerships.

Dr. Jasmine Abrams is an international behavioral research scientist, educator, and entrepreneur working toward health equity for women of African ancestry. She is an Assistant Professor of Community Health Sciences at Boston University School of Public Health, founder of SpiceXperience (a sex-positive woman owned company providing premium erotic education), and co-founder of Research Unlimited (a full service research assistance agency). Jasmine talks to Valerie and Carly about her work on the Strong Black Women Schema, bringing pleasure to sexual health research, drawing energy from being an entrepreneur, and supporting Black academics.

Dr. Seth Kalichman is Professor of Social Psychology and Dr. Lisa Eaton is Professor of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Connecticut. Seth is also the Editor-in-Chief of the journal AIDS & Behavior and Lisa is an Associate Editor. Seth and Lisa tell the stories of how they became interested in HIV research, share best practices for collecting data at Pride, and think about how to apply lessons learned from HIV research to COVID-19. Seth issues a public apology to Anthony Fauci, and Valerie learns that she’s technically living in the South.

Dr. Scott Hadland is a pediatrician and addiction specialist at Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine. Valerie and Carly talk with him about the importance of treating addiction during adolescence, medications for opioid use disorders, and associations between the pharmaceutical industry’s opioid marketing and physicians’ opioid prescribing. Valerie and Carly debate whether pharma has a hit out on Scott and nominate Scott for an official science superhero cape and magic policy wand.

Dr. Seven Tomek is a neuroscientist who recently earned her PhD at Arizona State University. She talks with Valerie and Carly about her research on opioids and social behavior, how she became interested in a region of the brain called the insula, and why she prefers rat participants to human participants. Seven shares her underdog story of how she became a neuroscientist, and Valerie reports on how Seven’s Instagram page expanded her research assistants’ minds about what a neuroscientist can look like. Scott from the Gin Blossoms, Seven’s friend, leaves a message for Carly and Valerie and they debate quitting their jobs to become roadies.

Dr. Stephenie “WD” Chaudoir is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the College of the Holy Cross. Stephenie talks with Valerie and Carly about integrating her background as a first-generation college student with her position as an academic scientist, using the power and privilege of tenure to tackle sexual misconduct on college campuses, and collaborating with an ace group of scientists to study how a brief writing intervention has “monster effects” on improving mental health among sexual minorities in rural Appalachia. Valerie and Stephenie reflect on why they haven’t focused on sexism research, despite being women who study stigma, and Valerie shares pro tips on science celebration piñatas.

Dr. Kim Nelson is an Assistant Professor of Community Health Sciences at Boston University, and winner of the 2020 Early Career Investigator Award from the Society for Behavioral Medicine. Kim breaks down state resolutions identifying porn as a public health issue, talks about her work on porn literacy for young sexual minority men, describes what sex education would look like in her ideal world, and shares how her all-lady scientist squad is taking on minor consent laws. Carly shares about her own sex education experiences, and Valerie and Carly encourage listeners to send complaints about the show to Kim (

Dr. Carmen Logie is the Canada Research Chair in Global Health Equity and Social Justice with Marginalized Populations at the University of Toronto. Valerie and Carly talk with her about partnering with communities globally on HIV research. Carmen pushes back on research that paints LGBT people as “sad and risky”, advises that we “only get what we ask for” in our work, and grapples with telling stories that document structural oppression while also highlighting individual agency and resilience. Valerie and Carly vow to get fluevogs before their next professional presentations.