Richard Saitz, MD, MPH

Saidz_Richard-001-2-5x3-5CARE Unit Faculty

Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology, Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health

Chair, Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health

Director, Division of Clinical Research Resources, Clinical Translational Science Institute

Associate Director, Office of Clinical Research, Boston University Medical Center

Co Editor in Chief, Addiction Science & Clinical Practice

Editor, Evidence-based Medicine

Crosstown Center, 801 Massachusetts Ave., 2nd Floor, Boston, MA 02118


Dr. Saitz is a primary care internist, certified by the American Boards of Internal Medicine, and Addiction Medicine, and a health services researcher. He directs the Division of Clinical Research Resources for the BUMC Clinical Translational Sciences Institute. Dr. Saitz is additionally the recently appointed Chair of Community Health Sciences at Boston University School of Public Health.

His primary areas of expertise and research are screening and brief intervention for unhealthy alcohol and drug use, integrating substance-related and general health care (e.g., chronic disease/care management), and improving the quality of care for people with addictions across the spectrum of use particularly in general medical care settings.

He is the author of over 130 peer-reviewed publications, past President of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse and former Chairman of the BUMC Institutional Review Board.  He is a current member of the international Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers.  His research has been supported by NIH, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the SAMHSA CSAP and CSAT.

Boston University faculty appointment: 1993

Areas of Specialization

  • Alcohol and drug screening and brief intervention education and research
  • Alcohol and drug health services research
  • Chronic care management and integrated care for unhealthy substance use, medical and other mental health conditions
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Online interventions
  • Management of unhealthy substance use in general health settings

Education and Training

Henry J Kaiser Faculty Development Fellowship Program (General Medicine), Harvard University, Boston, MA 1991-1993

Chief resident (Internal Medicine), Boston City Hospital, Boston, MA, 1990-1991
Resident (Primary Care/Internal Medicine), Boston City Hospital, Boston, MA, 1987-1990

MD, Boston University, Boston, MA
MPH (Quantitative Methods), Harvard University, Boston, MA
BA (Medical Sciences), Boston University, Boston, MA

Honors and Awards

  • Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society
  • Ten Outstanding Young Leaders Award, Boston Jaycees, 2003
  • Elected by his peers for inclusion in Best Doctors in America®, Boston Magazine,  2003 to 2012
  • The W. Anderson Spickard, Jr. Excellence in Mentorship Award, Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA), 2011
  • R. Brinkley Smithers Distinguished Scientist Award, American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), 2012

Key Publications

Saitz R. Alcohol screening and brief intervention in primary care:  Absence of evidence for efficacy in people with dependence or very heavy drinking.  Drug Alcohol Rev 2010; 29:631-640.  PMCID: PMC2966031

Saitz R, Palfai TP, Cheng DM, Horton NJ, Freedner N, Dukes K, Kraemer KL, Roberts MS, Guerriero RT, Samet JH.  Brief intervention for medical inpatients with unhealthy alcohol use: A randomized controlled trial.  Ann Intern Med 2007; 146:167-176.

Saitz R, Horton NJ, Larson MJ, Winter M, Samet JH.  Primary medical care and reductions in addiction severity: a prospective cohort study. Addiction 2005; 100:70-8.

Saitz R, Horton NJ, Sullivan LM et al.  Addressing alcohol problems in primary care: a cluster randomized, controlled trial of a systems intervention.  Ann Intern Med 2003; 138(5):372-82.

Saitz R, Mayo-Smith MF, Roberts MS, Redmond HA, Bernard DR, Calkins DR.  Individualized treatment for alcohol withdrawal: a randomized double-blind controlled trial. JAMA 1994; 272:519-523.

Publications and NIH Grant Support