Heal Lab


Michael Dunn

Michael E. Dunn, Ph.D.

Director, HEAL

Founder and Co-Director, SURG

Faculty Member, Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Program

Clinical Supervisor, Substance Use Disorders Clinic


Email: Michael.Dunn@ucf.edu

Dr. Dunn joined UCF after completing a post-doctoral fellowship at the Alcohol and Substance Use Research Institute at the University of South Florida. He worked at the Addictive Behavior Research Center at the University of Washington for four years while completing a B.S. in Psychology, and he completed his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of South Florida. Dr. Dunn is a founding member of the faculty of the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at UCF. His research interests include the development of alcohol and substance use in children, development of prevention and intervention programs for children and college students/emerging adults, cognitive processes related to alcohol and substance use, alcohol-related harms, interpersonal violence and sexual assault. Programs based on his work are currently in use in high schools and colleges nationwide. Dr. Dunn is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Florida (PY5502) and his clinical interests include Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention, Moderation Management, ACT, and DBT for the treatment of substance use and other disorders.  He has served as a consultant to school systems, foundations, universities, and attorneys on alcohol and substance use issues in addition to his academic position at UCF. His research has been supported by grants from NIAAA, SAMHSA, U.S. Department of Education, The State of Florida and others. Dr. Dunn established SURG at UCF in 1996 to facilitate research, teaching, and community service related to alcohol and drug use.  SURG has transformed into a research partnership co-directed by four faculty members, and SURG is now comprised of all four research labs, REALE-TIME, DREAM, STRIVE, and Dr. Dunn’s lab which is now known as HEAL.

Dr. Dunn is the author of over 200 scientific publications and presentations, and is currently the Principal Investigator for two research grants, and a co-investigator on two others.

Current Grants:

1R15AA028909-01A1 (NIAAA Grant)             Dunn, Principal Investigator

Immediate and Long-term Efficacy of the Expectancy Challenge Alcohol Literacy Curriculum (ECALC) on Reducing Adverse Alcohol Outcomes. 

0000007755 (NCAA Grant)          Dunn, Principal Investigator

Act Because you Care: Development and Implementation of a Bystander Intervention Program for Acute Intoxication.

1R15AA026420-01A1 (NIAAA Grant)                 Dvorak, Principal Investigator                                                                              

An Adaptive Mobile Intervention to Increase Safe Drinking Strategies Using Deviance Regulation Theory.

AWD00000899 (SEED Grant)      Woerner, Principal Investigator

Alcohol use and impacts on sexual violence and sexual risk behavior: Identification of mechanisms and development of intervention strategies

HEAL Ph.D. Students

Mark Crisafulli

Mark Crisafulli, M.S.

Mark received his B.A. from Clark University in Worcester, MA in 2016 with a major in Psychology and a concentration in Law and Society. Mark recently completed his thesis examining a theoretical model of college student alcohol use. His research interests include substance use expectancies, and he currently is working on projects examining vaping, cannabis, and simultaneous alcohol and cannabis use expectancies.

Gabrielle Lynch, M.S.

Gabrielle Lynch received her B.A. from DePaul University in 2019 where she majored in psychology. While at DePaul, she conducted research on social networks in substance use recovery homes and was a member of the McNair Scholars Fellowship program. She is now a part of the Graduate McNair Scholars Fellowship. Her primary research interests include how expectancies and social support can be used to prevent the development of substance abuse as well as how they can be used to aid in sustained recovery.

Cameron Davis, B.S.

Cameron received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Central Florida in 2020, where she worked as a research assistant to the HEAL Lab for three years. Cameron is working alongside Drs Woerner, Dunn, and Dvorak on the SEED grant titled Alcohol use and impacts on sexual violence and sexual risk behavior: Identification of mechanisms and development of intervention strategies. Her research interests include substance use expectancies, sexual aggression proclivity, and the development of intervention and prevention programs for sexual violence.

Rachel Cooper, B.A.

Rachel is a Clinical Psychology PhD student in both the HEAL and STRIVE labs. Rachel graduated from Smith College in 2017 with a BA in Psychology and Religion and worked in two research labs prior to coming to UCF. Her research interest focuses broadly on sexual assault and violence and more specifically on sexual aggression, sexual communication and rejection, and the role substance use plays in perpetration, victimization and revictimization. She is also interested in the unique experiences of LGBTQ+ survivors of sexual violence as well as the development of intervention and prevention programs for sexual violence among both heterosexual and LGBTQ+ communities.

Shane Marohnic, B.A.

Shane received his B.A. in Psychology from Arizona State University. Before joining HEAL in 2023, Shane performed research at Arizona State University, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center on alcohol, methamphetamine, cocaine, and tobacco use. Among other areas, his research interests include polysubstance use and consequences, technological interventions to reduce alcohol-related harms, substance-related risk-taking (e.g., coercive sex), and impulsive decision-making.

Lab Staff

Melissa Manning, B.S.

Melissa is the lab manager for the HEAL Lab, and has been in her position since June 2022. Melissa primarily oversees the coordination of an NIH-funded project investigating an intervention on college students using the ECALC. Melissa received her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Central Florida, and is planning to apply to graduate programs in the 2025 cycle.

Quinn Allen

Quinn Allen is the tech coordinator for the UCF HEAL Lab. His research focuses on substance use, eating and sleep pathology, and the creation of ecological momentary assessment platforms for longitudinal research studies. His programs are currently used as key instruments in multiple studies across the University of Central Florida. Quinn currently works with Drs Dvorak and Paulson on studies involving alcohol use and sleep pathology. He will be looking to apply to graduate schools in the 2025 cycle.

Doctoral Alumni

Jessica Flori

Jessica Flori, Ph. D.

Jessica (Jess) completed her predoctoral internship at Yale University School of Medicine, and is now working on an NIH-funded postdoc at the University of Connecticut. Originally from Rhode Island, she received her B.A. from Wheaton College in Norton, MA in 2013 with a major in Psychology and minors in English Literature and Ethnomusicology. Jess received her Master of Science from UCF in 2020 with her thesis entitled: Changes in Likely Activation Patterns of Alcohol Expectancies After Exposure to the Expectancy Challenge Alcohol Literacy Curriculum (ECALC). Jess’s research interests include the refinement of non-experiential expectancy challenge prevention and intervention programs, promotion of harm reduction strategies for substance use, and investigation of factors influencing the occurrence of alcohol related harms.

Emy Willis

Emy Willis, Ph.D.

Emy completed her predoctoral internship at the San Diego VAMC and is currently completing a post-doc at the same location. She was raised in Hawaii, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Hawaii Pacific University. Emy has completed her clinical training at the UCF’s substance use disorder clinic (SUD-C) supervised by Dr.  Dunn, and substance use rotation at the Orlando VA. Before becoming a member of UCF HEAL, Emy’s research interest focused on trauma-related interventions. Through her current work in the UCF HEAL, she is eager to expand the knowledge base of co-occurring substance use and trauma-related interventions.

Alyssa Dietz, Ph.D.

Alyssa Dietz, Ph.D.

Alyssa received a B.A. from the University of Miami in 2009 with a major in psychology and minor in family and human services. She was awarded the Provost Fellowship shortly thereafter and matriculated into the doctoral program in clinical psychology. Alyssa defended her master’s thesis, a meta-analysis of classroom based substance use prevention programs, in 2012. Her research interests include construction and validation of substance use prevention and early intervention programs for high school and college students, the role of expectancies in the development of substance misuse. Alyssa is also interested in using mindfulness based therapies, such as DBT or ACT, for people experiencing substance use problems.  Dr. Dietz earned her Ph.D. from UCF in 2016.

Other Doctoral Alumni

  • Dr. Amy Schreiner
  • Dr. Abi Fried-Somerstein
  • Dr. Jenn Deffendall
  • Dr. Pamela Brown
  • Dr. Iris Cruz
  • Dr. Wiveca Borjesson-Holman
  • Dr. Jackie Alfonso
  • Dr. Cathy Lau-Barraco
  • Dr. Tiffany Linkovich Kyle