Marina Tolou-Shams Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior

Dr. Tolou-Shams is an Associate Professor (Research) at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Staff Psychologist at Rhode Island Hospital, the Director of the Rhode Island Family Court, Mental Health Clinic, the Director of the Substance Abuse Treatment Service at the Rhode Island Training School and Assistant Director of the Forensic Psychiatry Evaluation Service of Rhode Island Hospital. Dr. Tolou-Shams received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 2004 from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She completed her postdoctoral clinical and research training through the Brown University Psychology Training Consortium. She is trained as a pediatric and forensic psychologist and has many years of clinical experience with assessing and treating high-risk adolescents and their families. Dr. Tolou-Shams is also an active clinical researcher who focuses on developing evidence-based mental health, substance abuse and HIV risk reduction interventions for court-involved, non-incarcerated (CINI) juvenile offenders. She is currently Principal Investigator of two NIDA R01 studies aimed toward improving behavioral health outcomes for juvenile justice youth.

Brown Affiliations

funded research

1R01DA035231 (PI: Tolou-Shams, Ph.D.)                                        9/1/2014-3/31/2019

Title: Gender-Responsive Drug Use Treatment for Juvenile Justice Girls

National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA)


The purpose of this NIDA R01 study is to compare the relative efficacy of an already widely disseminated gender-responsive adolescent drug use treatment (VOICES) to standard-of-care treatment for 200 substance-using court-involved, non-incarcerated girls monitored through the RI Family Court.  Primary study outcomes include girls’ alcohol/drug use and HIV/STI risk behaviors as measured up to 12 months post-treatment.


1R01DA034538 (PI: Tolou-Shams, Ph.D.)                                        7/1/2013-3/31/2018

Title: Drug Use and HIV/STI Risk Trajectories among Court-Involved, Non-Incarcerated Youth

National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA)


The purpose of this NIDA R01 is to conduct a longitudinal epidemiological study of 400 first-time court-involved, non-incarcerated (CINI) juvenile offenders and their primary caregiver to measure and describe 24 month trajectories of juvenile substance use, HIV/STI risk behavior, psychiatric symptoms and recidivism from point of initial court contact.  Ecodevelopmental theory will guide the consideration and assessment of other relevant factors that may mediate or moderate two-year juvenile trajectories.


3R01DA034538-02S1 (PI: Tolou-Shams, Ph.D.)                               9/15/14-3/31/15

Title: Administrative Supplements for Research on Sex/Gender Differences


National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA)

The purpose of this NIDA administrative supplement (to NIDA R01DA034538) study is to examine sex/gender differences between male and female first-time court-involved, non-incarcerated (CINI) juvenile offenders in: 1) sexual risk and substance use behaviors and 2)accessibility and acceptability of HIV and other STI, family planning and pregnancy prevention programming.  Data will be used to inform the development of court-based gender-responsive integrated HIV/STI and pregnancy prevention interventions and to improve CINI girls’ engagement in sexual health prevention, treatment, care and support services.


R01 AA020705 (PI: Spirito, Ph.D.)                                           4/20/2012-4/19/2017          

Title: Adolescents with Major Depression and AUD: Community-based Integrated Treatment

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Addiction (NIAAA)

Role: Co-Investigator


This study is designed to test whether a treatment protocol designed to treat adolescents with comorbid mood and substance use problems is effective in the hands of Masters level clinicians in a community mental health clinic


R01 MH087520 (PI: Brown, M.D.)                                            7/1/2010- 6/30/2015

Title: Integrated Mental Health Treatment & HIV Prevention for Court-Involved Youth

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Role: Co-Investigator


The purpose of this study is to compare the relative efficacy of an integrated mental health treatment and HIV prevention program to standard-of-care mental health treatment for 200 youth receiving mental health evaluations through the RI Family Court, Juvenile Mental Health Clinic.