Dr. Starks completed his doctoral training at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s clinical training program with an emphasis on work with children and adolescents. He is currently an Associate Professor of Psychology at Hunter College and the Health Psychology and Clinical Science program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. A licensed psychologist and member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers, his research is focused on relationship factors associated with substance use and sexual HIV transmission risk with a particular emphasis on the development of behavioral interventions tailored for gay male couples.
Dr. Starks has particular expertise in dyadic research methodologies. He was awarded an R34 (DA036419) in 2014 to test adjunct components for Couples HIV Testing and Counseling (CHTC). This work has now expanded to incorporate studies which are testing applications of CHTC with high-school-aged gay couples (3U19HD089875-03S1). He is also developing applications of MI for use in substance use and HIV prevention interventions with gay couples (R34 DA043422). While a major thrust of his research engages both partners in a relationship together, his recently funded R01 (DA045613) tests an individually-delivered intervention which blends MI and video-based communication skills training to reduce substance use and HIV risk among partnered gay men.