Traci L. Toomey PhD » Alcohol

Research Interests:

Professor, Epidemiology & Community Health

Address Div. Epidemiology & Community Health 1300 S. 2nd Street Suite 300 Minneapolis MN 55454 Work Phone: 612-626-9070 Work Phone: 612-624-4386 Website: Alcohol Epidemiology Program
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Dr. Toomey is an expert in alcohol policy and has over eighteen years’ experience developing and implementing alcohol and tobacco policy research projects. Dr. Toomey is the Director of the Alcohol Epidemiology Program.  She has served as the Principal Investigator or Project Director on thirteen major intervention and evaluation projects over the past decade and a co-investigator on 21 other studies.  Dr. Toomey has directed many studies on policy and prevention for underage alcohol use and heavy drinking, resulting in many articles in peer-reviewed journals, including those pertaining to underage access to alcohol and alcohol sales to intoxicated persons.  In addition to conducting research, Dr. Toomey has a passion for teaching and helping to translate research into practice. This is reflected in her induction into the Academy of Distinguished Teaching Professors at the University of Minnesota and her service to many local and national organizations working to reduce alcohol-related problems.

  • Ph.D in Epidemiology, University of Minnesota, School of Public Health
  • M.P.H. in Epidemiology, University of Minnesota, School of Public Health
  • B.A. in Psychology and Physiology, University of Minnesota


Alcohol Policy, Alcohol Prevention, Community Intervention, Policy Research, Community Organizing; Prevention of Alcohol and Tobacco-Related Problems; Intentional and Unintentional Injury Prevention.


Professional Experience:

  • 2010 – present Professor
  • 2004 –2010 Associate Professor
  • 1999 –2004 Assistant Professor
  • 1994 –1999 Research Associate
  • 2005 – Present, Member, Coordination Team of the CDC Guide to Community Preventive Services Alcohol Initiative
  • 2004 – 2010, Board of Directors, Mothers Against Drunk Driving
  • 2002-2005, Member, Higher Center for Alcohol and Drug Prevention Advisory Board
  • 2004-2005, Governing Council, American Public Health Association
  • 2002-2004, Member, Section Council, ATOD Section, American Public Health Association
  • 2000-2001, Member, Governing Council, American Public Health Association.


  • 2012, Academy of Distinguished Teaching Professors, University of Minnesota
  • 2012 Award for Outstanding Contributions to Postbaccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education Award, University of Minnesota
  • 2010, ATOD/APHA College-based Leadership Award
  • 2008, MN MADD Choice Award
  • 2002, School of Public Health Faculty Community Service Award
  • 1993, John B. Hawley Award for Health Promotion Research
  • 1992, Lester Breslow Award for Health Promotion
  • 1992 Delta Omega Honor Society

Current and Prior Funded Projects

Identifying Facilitators and Barriers to Dissemination of Alcohol Screening, Intervention and Treatment on College Campuses

Principal Investigator: Traci L. Toomey, PhD
Collaborator: Ken Winters, PhD
Funding Agency: Academic Health Center, University of Minnesota
Goals: This grant will be the first step in creating and ultimately evaluating a training program that will promote dissemination and implementation of evidence-based screening, intervention, and treatment on college campuses. With this grant we will do in-depth interviews with college leaders from different sized campuses to conduct an initial assessment of barriers and facilitators of adoption of screening, brief intervention, and treatment programs on campuses. This information will inform future development of the training program.

Evaluation of a Hybrid In-person and Online Alcohol Service Training Program

Principal Investigator: Traci L. Toomey, PhD
Co-Investigators: Darin Erickson, PhD; Keith Horvath, PhD; Toben Nelson, ScD
Funding Agency: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Goals: The goal of this study is to develop, implement and evaluate an alcohol training program for general managers of bars and restaurants. The training program encourages managers to adopt and implement alcohol service policies in their establishment with the goal of promoting responsible alcohol service.

Assessing Density of Alcohol Outlets, Other Outlets and Crime

Principal Investigator: Traci L. Toomey, PhD
Co-Investigators: Bradley Carlin, PhD; Darin Erickson, PhD; Eileen Harwood, PhD
Funding Agency: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Goals: To assess whether: (1) densities of different types of alcohol establishments are positively related to a wide range of alcohol-related crimes; (2) densities of non-alcohol businesses and other neighborhood physical structures (i.e., parks, schools, and religious institutions), and levels of neighborhood activism are associated with crime rates; and (3) these neighborhood structures and activism moderate the observed associations between densities of alcohol establishments and different types of crime.

Assessment of Illegal Alcohol Sales, Patron BAC Levels, Alcohol Control Policies, and Enforcement at Sport Stadiums

Principal Investigator: Traci L. Toomey, PhD
Co-Investigator: Darin Erickson, PhD
Funding agency: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Goals: To evaluate the propensity for illegal alcohol sales at sport stadiums, assess blood alcohol levels of patrons leaving stadiums through breathalyzer measurements, assess stadium policies and practices, and assess law enforcement practices regarding alcohol use/problems at stadiums.

Selected Publications

  • Bernat DH, Lenk KM, Nelson TF, Winters KC, Toomey TL. College law enforcement and security department responses to alcohol-related incidents: A national study,  Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, July 14 [Epub ahead of print], 2014.
  • Erickson DJ, Lenk KM, Sanem JR, Nelson TF, Jones-Webb R, Toomey TL. Current use of alcohol compliance checks by enforcement agencies in the U.S. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 38(6):1712-1719, 2014.
  • Lenk KM, Toomey TL, Nelson TF, Jones-Webb R, Erickson DJ. State and local law enforcement agency efforts to prevent sales to obviously intoxicated patrons. Journal of Community Health, 30(2):339-348, 2014.
  • Jones-Webb R, Nelson T, McKee P, Toomey T. An implementation model to increase the effectiveness of alcohol control policies. American Journal of Health Promotion, 28(5):328-35, 2013.
  • Toomey TL, Nelson TF, Erickson DJ, Winters KC, Miazga M, Lenk KM. Characterizing college alcohol systems for addressing student alcohol use: Latent class analysis of U.S. four-year colleges. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs 74(5): 777-786, 2013.
  • Toomey TL, Erickson DJ, Carlin BP, Lenk K., Jones, A, Quick HS, Harwood EM.  The association between density of alcohol establishments and violent crime within urban neighborhoods. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 36(8):1468-1473, 2012.
  • Lenk KM, Erickson DJ, Nelson TF, Winters KC, Toomey TL. Alcohol Policies and Practices among Four-year Colleges in the U.S.: Prevalence and Patterns. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 73: 361-367, 2012.
  • Toomey, TL, Erickson, DJ, Carlin, B, Quick, H, Harwood, E, Lenk, KM, Ecklund, A.  Is density of alcohol establishments related to non-violent crime? Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 73(1):21-25,, 2012.
  • Toomey TL, Lenk K. Community Prevention, Alcohol Research & Health., 34(2):163-166, 2011.
  • Toomey TL, Miazga MJ, Lenk KM, Erickson DJ, Winters K, Nelson TF., Enforcing alcohol policies on college campuses: Reports from college enforcement officials, Journal of Drug Education, 41(3), 327-344, 2011.
  • Winters K, Toomey TL, Nelson TF, Erickson DJ, Lenk KM, Miazga M. Screening for alcohol problems among four-year colleges and universities. Journal of American College Health, 59(5):350-357, 2011.
  • Erickson DJ, Toomey TL, Lenk KM, Kilian GR, Fabian LEA. Can we assess blood alcohol levels of attendees leaving professional sporting events?  Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 35(4):689-694, 2011.