Mary Marden Velasquez, Ph.D., is the Centennial Professor in Leadership for Community, Professional and Corporate Excellence and director of the Health Behavior Research and Training Institute at The University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work. Velasquez was trained in clinical psychology and behavioral health and holds a PhD in behavioral sciences from the University of Texas Health Science Center-School of Public Health. She served on the faculty in the McGovern Medical School and Director of Research in Family and Community Medicine from 1999-2006 and as Associate Dean for Research in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at UT Austin from 2006-2013.
Dr. Velasquez’ program of research focuses on the development and implementation of behavioral interventions to prevent negative health outcomes caused by substance use disorders. With over 20 years of support from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Velasquez and her research team have developed and tested behavioral interventions in the areas screening and brief interventions, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, alcohol and other drug abuse, prenatal health, HIV prevention, and smoking cessation. Her current studies are funded by the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism and the CDC and focus on developing and testing technology-based interventions to prevent alcohol, tobacco and marijuana-exposed pregnancies. She is the author of books, journal articles and book chapters on using brief interventions to facilitate treatment adherence and promote behavior change for a variety of health problems. A particular current interest is in teaching graduate students and health professionals to use brief motivational interventions in medical settings. Dr. Velasquez is an internationally recognized trainer in both Motivational Interviewing and the Transtheoretical Model, and is a founding member of the Steering Committee for the International Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers.