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Rachel Tomko Ph.D.

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  • Assistant Professor
  • College of Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Academic Focus
  • stress/affect regulation in substance use disorders (SUDs)
  • individual differences in SUD treatment response
  • SUD clinical trial methodology
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Dr. Tomko received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology (B.S.) from the Pennsylvania State University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Missouri. She completed her predoctoral internship and postdoctoral training at the Medical University of South Carolina/Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. She is now a faculty member within the Addiction Sciences Division of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.


The overarching goal of Dr. Tomko's research is to improve treatment outcomes for individuals with a substance use disorder by identifying which treatments are optimal for a specific individual. First, her work focuses on understanding individual differences in factors that maintain substance use (for example, stress/negative affect, impulsivity, age-specific, and gender-specific mechanisms), identifying predictors of treatment response, and developing treatment decision-making algorithms using predictive models.


Second, Dr. Tomko also focuses on improving clinical trial methodology to expedite novel treatment development. This line of research includes examining and validating ambulatory assessment/EMA techniques that can enhance accuracy of self-report and objectively confirm substance use and medication adherence in the real-world. 


Adolescent-focused substance use research:


Smoking-focused research: