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Ricky Bluthenthal, PhD
Professor of Preventive Medicine
Institute for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention
SSB 302R 2001 N. Soto Street Health Sciences Campus Los Angeles
+1 323 442 8236


Ricky N. Bluthenthal is a Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and the Institute for Prevention Research at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California. He received a BA in History and Sociology from the University of California Santa Cruz and a PhD in sociology from the University of California Berkeley. His research has established the effectiveness of syringe exchange programs, tested novel interventions and strategies to reduce HIV risk and improve HIV testing among injection drug users and men who has sex with men, documented how community conditions contribute to health disparities, and examined health policy implementation. His current studies include an exploratory, mixed-method study on people who initiated drug injection in their thirties, a community-based participatory research project to reduce multiple health risk among Latinos, and a randomized controlled trial to test the efficacy of a single session intervention to reduce injection initiation risk behaviors among established people who inject drugs. Dr. Bluthenthal has authored or co-authored over 110 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals such as the American Journal of Public Health, Social Science and Medicine, The Lancet, Addiction, and Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research among others.


. Vape Shop Retailers’ Perceptions of Their Products, Customers, and Services: A Qualitative Study Tobacco Prevention & Cessation. 2017; 2(Supplement):3. View in: PubMed

. Correlates of Sexual Coercion among People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) in Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA J Urban Health. 2018 Apr 03. View in: PubMed

. Efficacy of a Small-Group Intervention for Post-Incarcerated Black Men Who Have Sex with Men and Women (MSMW) J Urban Health. 2018 Mar 14. View in: PubMed

. Latent Classes of Sexual Risk Among Black Men Who Have Sex with Men and Women Arch Sex Behav. 2018 Mar 14. View in: PubMed

. Harnessing the language of overdose prevention to advance evidence-based responses to the opioid crisis Int J Drug Policy. 2018 Mar 07; 55:77-79. View in: PubMed

. Exploring and Adapting a Conceptual Model of Sexual Positioning Practices and Sexual Risk Among HIV-Negative Black Men Who Have Sex With Men J Sex Res. 2018 Feb 21; 1-11. View in: PubMed

. Differences in time to injection onset by drug in California: Implications for the emerging heroin epidemic Drug Alcohol Depend. 2018 Feb 15; 185:253-259. View in: PubMed

. Preventing Injection Drug use Initiation: State of the Evidence and Opportunities for the Future J Urban Health. 2018 Feb; 95(1):91-98. View in: PubMed

. Age Cohort Differences in Sexual Behaviors Among Black Men Who Have Sex With Men and Women J Sex Res. 2018 Jan 29; 1-10. View in: PubMed

. Racial Pride and Condom Use in Post-Incarcerated African-American Men Who Have Sex With Men and Women: Test of a Conceptual Model for the Men in Life Environments Intervention Arch Sex Behav. 2018 Jan; 47(1):169-181. View in: PubMed

. HIV Acquisition and Transmission Potential Among African American Men Who Have Sex with Men and Women in Three US. Cities. Arch Sex Behav. 2018 Jan; 47(1):183-194. View in: PubMed

. Direct and indirect effects of parent stress on child obesity risk and added sugar intake in a sample of Southern California adolescents Public Health Nutr. 2017 Dec; 20(18):3285-3294. View in: PubMed

. Sexual Positioning Practices and Sexual Risk Among Black Gay and Bisexual Men: A Life Course Perspective AIDS Behav. 2017 Oct 27. View in: PubMed

. Parents' perceptions of dental care challenges in male children with autism spectrum disorder: An initial qualitative exploration Res Autism Spectr Disord. 2017 Jul; 39:63-72. View in: PubMed

. Sexual Positioning Among Men Who Have Sex With Men: A Narrative Review Arch Sex Behav. 2017 May; 46(4):869-884. View in: PubMed

. Parents’ perceptions of dental care challenges in male children with autism spectrum disorder: An initial qualitative exploration Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. 2017; 39(July 2017):63-72. View in: PubMed

. Drug use generations and patterns of injection drug use: Birth cohort differences among people who inject drugs in Los Angeles and San Francisco, California Drug Alcohol Depend. 2017 06 01; 175:210-218. View in: PubMed

. Contextualising family microaggressions and strategies of resilience among young gay and bisexual men of Latino heritage Cult Health Sex. 2017 Jan; 19(1):107-120. View in: PubMed

. Initiation of Heroin and Prescription Opioid Pain Relievers by Birth Cohort Am J Public Health. 2016 Feb; 106(2):298-300. View in: PubMed

. Moral ambivalence and the decision to initiate others into injection drug use: A qualitative study in two California cities Int J Drug Policy. 2016 11; 37:42-51. View in: PubMed

. Food insecurity among people who inject drugs in Los Angeles and San Francisco Public Health Nutr. 2016 08; 19(12):2204-12. View in: PubMed

. A cost-benefit analysis of a potential supervised injection facility in San Francisco, California, USA Journal of Drug Issues. 2016. View in: PubMed

. Oxford Handbook of Acculturation and HealthEdited by Seth J. Schwartz & Jennifer Unger. Acculturation and risky sexual behavior in adolescents and emerging adults from immigrant families. 2016. View in: PubMed

. Gender, Ethnicity, and Their Intersectionality in the Prediction of Smoking Outcome Expectancies in Regular Cigarette Smokers Behav Modif. 2016 Jan; 40(1-2):281-302. View in: PubMed

. Next steps in research on injection initiation incidence and prevention Addiction. 2015 Aug; 110(8):1258-9. View in: PubMed

. Is cannabis use associated with less opioid use among people who inject drugs? Drug Alcohol Depend. 2015 Aug 01; 153:236-41. View in: PubMed

. Factors associated with being asked to initiate someone into injection drug use Drug Alcohol Depend. 2015 Apr 01; 149:252-8. View in: PubMed

. Drug-related deaths and the sales of needles through pharmacies Drug Alcohol Depend. 2015 Feb 01; 147:229-34. View in: PubMed

. Patterns of drug use, risky behavior, and health status among persons who inject drugs living in San Diego, California: a latent class analysis Subst Use Misuse. 2015 Jan; 50(2):205-14. View in: PubMed

. Consistency of self-reported drug use events in a mixed methods study of people who inject drugs Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2015; 41(4):332-8. View in: PubMed

. Factors associated with initiating someone into illicit drug injection Drug Alcohol Depend. 2014 Nov 01; 144:186-92. View in: PubMed

. Syringe disposal among people who inject drugs in Los Angeles: the role of sterile syringe source Int J Drug Policy. 2014 Sep; 25(5):905-10. View in: PubMed

. Characteristics of people who initiate injection drug use later in life Drug Alcohol Depend. 2014 May 01; 138:244-50. View in: PubMed

. The association between law enforcement encounters and syringe sharing among IDUs on skid row: a mixed methods analysis AIDS Behav. 2013 Oct; 17(8):2637-43. View in: PubMed

. Abscess and self-treatment among injection drug users at four California syringe exchanges and their surrounding communities Subst Use Misuse. 2013 May; 48(7):523-31. View in: PubMed

. Pharmacy syringe purchase test of nonprescription syringe sales in San Francisco and Los Angeles in 2010 J Urban Health. 2013 Apr; 90(2):276-83. View in: PubMed

. Reducing crime by shaping the built environment with zoning: An empirical study of Los Angeles University of Pennsylvania Law Review. 2013; 161:699-757. View in: PubMed

. The privatization of public safety in urban neighborhoods: Do business improvement districts reduce violent crime among adolescents? . Law and Society Review. 2013; 47(3):621-52. View in: PubMed

. Attitudes and beliefs related to HIV/AIDS in urban religious congregations: barriers and opportunities for HIV-related interventions Soc Sci Med. 2012 May; 74(10):1520-7. View in: PubMed

. Non-medical prescription drug use among injection drug users Journal Drug Issues. 2012; 42(3):216-225. View in: PubMed

. Assessing geographic and individual level factors associated with arrests among injection drug users in California Health Place. 2011 Nov; 17(6):1258-65. View in: PubMed

. Commentary for Li et al, "Sexual transmissibility of HIV among opiates users with concurrent sexual partnerships: An egocentric network study in Yunnan, China. " Addiction. 2011 Oct; 106(10). View in: PubMed

. Religious congregations' involvement in HIV: a case study approach AIDS Behav. 2011 Aug; 15(6):1220-32. View in: PubMed

. A framework for the specificity of addictions Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 08; 8(8):3399-415. View in: PubMed

. HIV prevalence and risk among heterosexual methamphetamine injectors in California Subst Use Misuse. 2011; 46(9):1081-9. View in: PubMed

. HIV risks and seroprevalence among Mexican American injection drug users in California AIDS Behav. 2011 Jan; 15(1):95-102. View in: PubMed

. The effect of business improvement districts on the incidence of violent crimes Inj Prev. 2010 Oct; 16(5):327-32. View in: PubMed

. Prevalence and predictors of transitions to and away from syringe exchange use over time in 3 US cities with varied syringe dispensing policies Drug Alcohol Depend. 2010 Sep 01; 111(1-2):74-81. View in: PubMed

. Cognitive behavioral theories used to explain injection risk behavior among injection drug users: a review and suggestions for the integration of cognitive and environmental models Health Educ Behav. 2010 Aug; 37(4):504-32. View in: PubMed

. Three years after legalization of nonprescription pharmacy syringe sales in California: where are we now? J Urban Health. 2010 Jul; 87(4):576-85. View in: PubMed

. Learning about urban congregations and HIV/AIDS: community-based foundations for developing congregational health interventions J Urban Health. 2010 Jul; 87(4):617-30. View in: PubMed

. Access to sterile syringes through San Francisco pharmacies and the association with HIV risk behavior among injection drug users J Urban Health. 2010 Jul; 87(4):534-42. View in: PubMed

. Pharmacy participation in non-prescription syringe sales in Los Angeles and San Francisco counties, 2007 J Urban Health. 2010 Jul; 87(4):543-52. View in: PubMed

. Commentary on Palmateer et al(2010): next steps in the global research agenda on syringe access for injection drug users. Addiction. 2010 May; 105(5):860-1. View in: PubMed

. Not enough fruit and vegetables or too many cookies, candies, salty snacks, and soft drinks? Public Health Rep. 2010 Jan-Feb; 125(1):88-95. View in: PubMed

. The role of community context in business district revitalization strategies: Business improvement districts in Los Angeles Public Performance and Management Review. 2010; 33(3):436-58. View in: PubMed

. Getting the message straight: effects of a brief hepatitis prevention intervention among injection drug users Harm Reduct J. 2009 Dec 15; 6:36. View in: PubMed

. The neighborhood alcohol environment and alcohol-related morbidity Alcohol Alcohol. 2009 Sep-Oct; 44(5):491-9. View in: PubMed

. Measuring the food environment: shelf space of fruits, vegetables, and snack foods in stores J Urban Health. 2009 Sep; 86(5):672-82. View in: PubMed

. The effect of urban street gang densities on small area homicide incidence in a large metropolitan county, 1994-2002 J Urban Health. 2009 Jul; 86(4):511-23. View in: PubMed

. Adverse drinking-related consequences among lower income, racial, and ethnic minority drinkers: cross-sectional results Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2009 Apr; 33(4):645-53. View in: PubMed

. Social capital and the neighborhood alcohol environment Health Place. 2009 Mar; 15(1):323-32. View in: PubMed

. Alcohol outlet density and alcohol consumption in Los Angeles county and southern Louisiana Geospat Health. 2008 Nov; 3(1):91-101. View in: PubMed

. Alcohol and tobacco marketing: evaluating compliance with outdoor advertising guidelines Am J Prev Med. 2008 Sep; 35(3):203-9. View in: PubMed

. Improving coverage and scale-up of HIV prevention, treatment and care for injecting drug users: moving the agenda forward Int J Drug Policy. 2008 Apr; 19 Suppl 1:S1-4. View in: PubMed

. Alcohol availability and neighborhood characteristics in Los Angeles, California and southern Louisiana J Urban Health. 2008 Mar; 85(2):191-205. View in: PubMed

. Approval of syringe exchange programs in California: results from a local approach to HIV prevention Am J Public Health. 2008 Feb; 98(2):278-83. View in: PubMed

. Encyclopedia of Substance Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Needle exchange programs. 2008; 629-32. View in: PubMed

. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2007 Nov; 31(11):1920-6. View in: PubMed

. Reliability of a store observation tool in measuring availability of alcohol and selected foods J Urban Health. 2007 Nov; 84(6):807-13. View in: PubMed

. Community characteristics associated with HIV risk among injection drug users in the San Francisco Bay Area: a multilevel analysis J Urban Health. 2007 Sep; 84(5):653-66. View in: PubMed

. Higher syringe coverage is associated with lower odds of HIV risk and does not increase unsafe syringe disposal among syringe exchange program clients Drug Alcohol Depend. 2007 Jul 10; 89(2-3):214-22. View in: PubMed

. Human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis C virus testing services at syringe exchange programs: availability and outcomes J Subst Abuse Treat. 2007 Jun; 32(4):423-9. View in: PubMed

. The impact of legalizing syringe exchange programs on arrests among injection drug users in California J Urban Health. 2007 May; 84(3):423-35. View in: PubMed

. Examination of the association between syringe exchange program (SEP) dispensation policy and SEP client-level syringe coverage among injection drug users Addiction. 2007 Apr; 102(4):638-46. View in: PubMed

. Racial disparities in completion rates from publicly funded alcohol treatment: economic resources explain more than demographics and addiction severity Health Serv Res. 2007 Apr; 42(2):773-94. View in: PubMed

. Coverage of HIV prevention programmes for injection drug users: confusions, aspirations, definitions and ways forward Int J Drug Policy. 2007 Mar; 18(2):92-8. View in: PubMed

. A multilevel decomposition approach to estimate the role of program location and neighborhood disadvantage in racial disparities in alcohol treatment completion Soc Sci Med. 2007 Jan; 64(2):462-76. View in: PubMed

. HCV and HIV counseling and testing integration in California: an innovative approach to increase HIV counseling and testing rates Public Health Rep. 2007; 122 Suppl 2:68-73. View in: PubMed

. Perspectives on therapeutic treatment from adolescent probationers J Psychoactive Drugs. 2006 Dec; 38(4):461-71. View in: PubMed

. Increasing HIV testing among latinos by bundling HIV testing with other tests J Urban Health. 2006 Sep; 83(5):849-59. View in: PubMed

. Alcohol outlets, gonorrhea, and the Los Angeles civil unrest: a longitudinal analysis Soc Sci Med. 2006 Jun; 62(12):3062-71. View in: PubMed

. Price elasticity of demand for malt liquor beer: findings from a US pilot study Soc Sci Med. 2006 May; 62(9):2101-11. View in: PubMed

. Hospital utilization for injection drug use-related soft tissue infections in urban versus rural counties in California J Urban Health. 2006 Mar; 83(2):176-81. View in: PubMed

. Unmet need for recommended preventive health services among clients of California syringe exchange programs: implications for quality improvement Drug Alcohol Depend. 2006 Feb 01; 81(2):167-78. View in: PubMed

. Secondary syringe exchange among users of 23 California syringe exchange programs Subst Use Misuse. 2006; 41(6-7):865-82. View in: PubMed

. Building an academic-community partnered network for clinical services research: the Community Health Improvement Collaborative (CHIC) Ethn Dis. 2006; 16(1 Suppl 1):S3-17. View in: PubMed

. Witness for Wellness: preliminary findings from a community-academic participatory research mental health initiative Ethn Dis. 2006; 16(1 Suppl 1):S18-34. View in: PubMed

. Seeking community input to improve implementation of a lifestyle modification program Ethn Dis. 2006; 16(1 Suppl 1):S79-88. View in: PubMed

. Condom attitudes and behaviors among injection drug users participating in California syringe exchange programs AIDS Behav. 2005 Dec; 9(4):423-32. View in: PubMed

. Psychosocial and behavioral differences among drug injectors who use and do not use syringe exchange programs AIDS Behav. 2005 Dec; 9(4):495-504. View in: PubMed

. Screening for sexually transmitted diseases in non-traditional settings: a personal view Int J STD AIDS. 2005 Aug; 16(8):521-7. View in: PubMed

. Characteristics of malt liquor beer drinkers in a low-income, racial minority community sample Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2005 Mar; 29(3):402-9. View in: PubMed

. Recruiting drug-using men who have sex with men into behavioral interventions: a two-stage approach J Urban Health. 2005 Mar; 82(1 Suppl 1):i109-19. View in: PubMed

. Sexual risk among injection drug users recruited from syringe exchange programs in California Sex Transm Dis. 2005 Jan; 32(1):27-34. View in: PubMed

. International Journal of Drug Policy Police crackdowns, societal cost, and the need for alternative approaches. 2005; 16:137-8. View in: PubMed

. Injection risk behaviors among clients of syringe exchange programs with different syringe dispensation policies J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2004 Oct 01; 37(2):1307-12. View in: PubMed

. Sterile syringe access conditions and variations in HIV risk among drug injectors in three cities Addiction. 2004 Sep; 99(9):1136-46. View in: PubMed

. Sexual relationships, secondary syringe exchange, and gender differences in HIV risk among drug injectors J Urban Health. 2004 Jun; 81(2):249-59. View in: PubMed

. What is it about needle and syringe exchange programs that make them effective for preventing HIV transmission? . 2003; 14(5/6):361-3. View in: PubMed

. Delivering syringe exchange services through “Satellite Exchangers”: Sacramento Area Needle Exchange International Journal of Drug Policy. 2003; 14(5/6):461-3. View in: PubMed

. Hepatitis-associated knowledge is low and risks are high among HIV-aware injection drug users in three US cities Addiction. 2002 Oct; 97(10):1277-87. View in: PubMed

. Predictors and prevention of nonfatal overdose among street-recruited injection heroin users in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1998-1999 Am J Public Health. 2001 Nov; 91(11):1842-6. View in: PubMed

. Trends in HIV seroprevalence and risk among gay and bisexual men who inject drugs in San Francisco, 1988 to 2000 J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2001 Nov 01; 28(3):264-9. View in: PubMed

. Sexual transmission of HIV-1 among injection drug users in San Francisco, USA: risk-factor analysis Lancet. 2001 May 05; 357(9266):1397-401. View in: PubMed

. Factors associated with readiness to change drug use among needle-exchange users Drug Alcohol Depend. 2001 May 01; 62(3):225-30. View in: PubMed

. Needle exchange program attendance and injection risk in Providence, Rhode Island AIDS Educ Prev. 2001 Feb; 13(1):78-90. View in: PubMed

. Accessing HIV testing and care J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2000 Dec 15; 25 Suppl 2:S151-6. View in: PubMed

. From the cell to the community: AIDS research in CaliforniaThe University of California Universitywide AIDS Research Program annual meeting, February 2000. West J Med. 2000 Aug; 173(2):119-24. View in: PubMed

. The effect of syringe exchange use on high-risk injection drug users: a cohort study AIDS. 2000 Mar 31; 14(5):605-11. View in: PubMed

. High prevalence of abscesses and cellulitis among community-recruited injection drug users in San Francisco Clin Infect Dis. 2000 Mar; 30(3):579-81. View in: PubMed

. Risk factors among IDUs who give injections to or receive injections from other drug users Addiction. 1999 May; 94(5):675-83. View in: PubMed

. Collateral damage in the War on Drugs: HIV risk behaviors among injection drug users The International Journal of Drug Policy. 1999; 10:25-38. View in: PubMed

. HIV risk behaviors associated with the injection process: multiperson use of drug injection equipment and paraphernalia in injection drug user networks Subst Use Misuse. 1998 Oct; 33(12):2403-23. View in: PubMed

. Use of an illegal syringe exchange and injection-related risk behaviors among street-recruited injection drug users in Oakland, California, 1992 to 1995 J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr Hum Retrovirol. 1998 Aug 15; 18(5):505-11. View in: PubMed

. Harm reduction and needle exchange programmes Lancet. 1998 Jun 13; 351(9118):1819-20. View in: PubMed

. Syringe exchange as a social movement: a case study of harm reduction in Oakland, California Subst Use Misuse. 1998 Apr; 33(5):1147-71. View in: PubMed

. HIV seroprevalence among street-recruited injection drug and crack cocaine users in 16 US municipalities Am J Public Health. 1998 Jan; 88(1):108-13. View in: PubMed

. Impact of law enforcement on syringe exchange programs: a look at Oakland and San Francisco Med Anthropol. 1997 Dec; 18(1):61-83. View in: PubMed

. HIV risk profile of drug-using women who have sex with women in 19 United States cities J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr Hum Retrovirol. 1997 Nov 01; 16(3):211-7. View in: PubMed

. Structural impediments to operational syringe-exchange programs AIDS Public Policy J. 1996; 11(4):169-84. View in: PubMed

. HIV seroprevalence in injection drug users JAMA. 1995 Apr 19; 273(15):1178. View in: PubMed

. Multimethod research from targeted sampling to HIV risk environments NIDA Res Monogr. 1995; 157:212-30. View in: PubMed

. GANGS: The Origins and Impact of Contemporary Youth Gangs in the United States Gang Organization and Migration. 1993; 193-217. View in: PubMed

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