University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Project Team

Dr. Rachel Volberg

Dr. Rachel Volberg has been involved in epidemiological research on gambling and problem gambling since 1985 and has directed or consulted on numerous gambling studies throughout the world.  In 1988, Dr. Volberg was the first investigator to receive funding from the (U.S.) National Institutes of Health to study the prevalence of problem gambling in the general population.  Dr. Volberg is currently the Principal Investigator on two major studies funded by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission: the Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) study and the Massachusetts Gambling Impact Cohort (MAGIC) study.  In addition to her work in Massachusetts, Dr. Volberg is working on two projects in Canada: the first to assess the impacts of the introduction of online gambling, and the second to identify best practices in population assessments of problem gambling.  She is also a member of research teams in Australia, New Zealand, and Sweden conducting large-scale longitudinal cohort studies to identify predictors of transitions into and out of gambling and problem gambling.

Dr. Volberg has published extensively, presented at national and international conferences, and testified before legislative committees in states and provinces throughout North America.  She sits on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Gambling Studies, International Gambling Studies and the Journal of Gambling Issues and is a longtime member of the American Sociological Association and the (U.S.) National Council on Problem Gambling.  Dr. Volberg holds appointments at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand.

Dr. Robert WilliamsDr. Robert Williams

Dr. Robert Williams is a professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Lethbridge, in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada and also a Research Coordinator for the Alberta Gambling Research Institute.  Dr. Williams teaches courses on gambling; provides frequent consultation to government, industry, the media, and public interest groups; and regularly gives expert witness testimony on the impacts of gambling. Dr. Williams is a leading authority in the areas of:  prevention of problem gambling; Internet gambling; the socioeconomic impacts of gambling, the proportion of gambling revenue deriving from problem gamblers; the prevalence and nature of gambling in Aboriginal communities; the etiology of problem gambling; and best practices in the population assessment of problem gambling.  He is currently a Co-Principal Investigator on the MAGIC study.

Dr. Ed StanekDr. Ed Stanek

Edward Stanek, PhD, is a biostatistician in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at UMass Amherst. Over the course of his career, Dr. Stanek has collaborated with researchers on a wide variety of public health problems, including studying factors affecting growth and development among borderline malnourished children in developing countries, exposure assessment due to contamination of soil and dust in children and adults, seasonal variation in serum cholesterol levels, and many other topics. Dr. Stanek is actively involved in developing methods that incorporate Superpopulation and Bayesian frameworks for inference. Drawing from this expertise and experience, Dr. Stanek has an interest in the role of statistics in developing inference based on samples of subjects from populations, which has direct application in the MAGIC project.

​Alissa Mazar

Alissa Mazar, MA, is the Project Manager for the MAGIC study. Mazar is a PhD candidate in the Sociology department at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Her doctoral research examines the use and impact of casinos as a socio-economic development tool for communities. More broadly, Mazar’s research focuses on where casinos fit into North America’s movement towards a service-based economy. She has also taught and assisted in teaching sociology courses in sociological inquiry, the sociology of sex and gender, gender and work, work and industry, and technology and society.

Martha ZornMartha Zorn

Martha Zorn, MS, is the Data Manager for the Massachusetts Gambling Impact Cohort (MAGIC) Study. Zorn has worked as a biostatistician and data manager in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst for the past 25 years. During that time, Zorn has worked on numerous research projects, including HIV research, cohort mortality studies, smoking for cancer survivors, diabetes and cystic fibrosis, community based obesity prevention among black women, improving cancer screening in low income housing sites, improving health literacy through the internet, influencing media and the public agenda on cancer and tobacco disparities, and respiratory effectiveness clinical trials. She earned her BS in Mathematics from Earlham College and her MS in Biostatistics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she was elected to the Rho Chapter of the Delta Omega Honor Society.

Valerie Evans

Valerie Evans, MA, MSc, is a biostatistician for the MAGIC project. Evans has worked on a variety of projects in both biology and public health including HIV vaccine development, global influenza, and pharmaceutical supply chains. She also was a Peace Corps Public Health Specialist in Guinea, West Africa. Most recently she was the project coordinator of the AMASA project (Accessing Medicines in Africa and South Asia) at the University of Edinburgh. She earned her BA in Biology from Boston University, a Master’s degree in Biology from Harvard University, and a MSc in Public Health Research from the University of Edinburgh.

Vivian Cronk

Vivian Cronk, BA, Mount Holyoke College, Francis Perkins Scholar, is the Grants and Contracts Coordinator providing primary fiscal and administrative support for the gambling research projects in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, currently the Massachusetts Gambling Impact Cohort (MAGIC) and Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) studies. The SEIGMA and MAGIC projects currently have a total budget of over $7 million and $2 million, respectively, funded by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC).  Vivian has over 10 year’s office management and budget experience most recently from work at UMass Amherst.

NORCNORC

NORC at the University of Chicago delivers objective data and meaningful analysis to help decision-makers and leading organizations make informed choices and identify new opportunities. Since 1941, NORC has applied sophisticated methods and tools, innovative and cost-effective solutions, and the highest standards of scientific integrity and quality to conduct and advance research on critical issues. Today, NORC expands on this tradition by partnering with government, commercial, and nonprofit clients to create deep insight across a broad range of topics and to disseminate useful knowledge throughout society.