Study Team


The PAL2 study team is comprised of epidemiologists and treatment and recovery researchers at the Alcohol Research Group, a division of the Public Health Institute. The Public Health Institute, an independent nonprofit organization, is dedicated to promoting health, well-being, and quality of life for people throughout California, across the nation, and around the world. For more information, visit

Also serving on the team is Dr. Christine Timko, PhD, a Research Career Scientist at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System and Clinical Professor (Affiliated) in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University.

Sarah E. Zemore, PhD (Senior Scientist, Alcohol Research Group) is Principal Investigator of the PAL2 study, and likewise led the PAL1 study. Dr. Zemore is a Social Psychologist with interests in peer and social influences on treatment and recovery. She has an established record of research on diverse mutual-help groups including SMART Recovery, LifeRing Secular Recovery, and Women for Sobriety. She has also studied the utilization and efficacy of formal substance abuse treatment. She has been continually funded by NIH for 18 years, and has extensive experience with leading large NIH research grants. To learn more about Dr. Zemore, click here.

Lee Ann Kaskutas, DrPH (Senior Scientist, Alcohol Research Group) is a Co-investigator of PAL2. She is a seasoned researcher whose work has focused on non-professional approaches and social network influences in regards to alcohol problems. Her prior work on mutual-help groups has particularly targeted Alcoholics Anonymous and Women for Sobriety, and she has received prestigious awards for her work from the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA), among others. 

Amy Mericle, PhD (Scientist, Alcohol Research Group) is a Co-Investigator of PAL2. Her research has focused on addiction health services. Her studies have highlighted gaps in the substance use treatment delivery system and have examined innovative approaches to increasing access to substance use treatment and recovery support services. She has specific expertise in recovery housing and is currently conducting a national study of recovery residences. Along with leading her own studies and collaborating with other scientists on theirs, Dr. Mericle serves on the PHI Institutional Review Board and is a former member of the National Alliance for Recovery Residences Board of Directors. To learn more about Amy Mericle, click here.

Priscilla Martinez, PhD (Scientist, Alcohol Research Group) is a Co-Investigator of PAL2. Dr. Martinez has focused her research on the relationships between immune function, health, and alcohol use. She is currently the Principal Investigator of a K01 Award to investigate the role of inflammation in alcohol-related racial/ethnic health disparities, and of a CA Breast Cancer Research Program project to raise awareness among young women about alcohol use as a breast cancer risk factor. She has expertise in both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods, particularly synchronous online focus groups. In addition to her research, Dr. Martinez is a member of the Diversity Committee of the Research Society on Alcoholism, and helped found the Undergraduate Diversity Travel Award. To learn more about Priscilla Martinez, click here.

Christine Timko, PhD, is a Co-Investigator of the study. She is a Senior Research Career Scientist in Health Services Research in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). She is an Associate Director of the Center for Innovation to Implementation at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, and a Clinical Professor (Affiliated) in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Timko’s research, teaching, and mentoring focus on the quality of care for patients with substance use and/or mental health disorders and their family and friends. She serves as a reviewer for national and international funders of health services research and as a member of VA management and oversight committees, holds editorial positions for leading addiction journals, and is an invited speaker at national and international substance use and mental health research conferences. To learn more about Christine Timko, click here.

All survey data have been collected.

PAL2 is no longer recruiting new participants. 

If you would like to be informed about the study results, please contact the study Principal Investigator, Dr. Sarah Zemore, at