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College of Human Environmental Sciences

Leigh Tenkku Lepper

Leigh Tenkku Lepper

Leigh Tenkku Lepper, PhD, MPH
Associate Research Professor, Director for Research

707 Clark Hall
School of Social Work
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211-4470
Phone: (573) 884-5459
Fax: [573] 882-8926
Curriculum Vitae (PDF)


PhD, Saint Louis University, 2007; MPH, Saint Louis University, 1999; BS, Kent State University, 1976.

Research Interests:

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders; Screening Brief Intervention Referral and Treatment; Preconception Health; Mental Health of Women; Social and Cultural Context of Health.

Teaching Interests:

Program Evaluation; Health Program Design and Planning; Social Research Methods; Social Policy Analysis; The Context of Health Behavior Change.

Research and Scholarly Activity:

Addressing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders through Alcohol Education and SBIRT Training of Healthcare Providers

Dr. Tenkku Lepper's work and research has focused on the identification, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) as well as screening, referral and treatment (SBIRT) of alcohol exposed pregnancies. In 2015, she was funded through SAMHSA to work with physician assistants in development and implementation of an alcohol education and SBIRT curriculum in all of the Physician Assistant programs in Missouri. In this effort, she is working with the Missouri Association for Physician Assistants as well as the Society for Physician Assistants in Pediatrics at the national level. These linkages will help to increase the acceptance and implementation of the new curriculum at the state and national levels.

In 2014, she received a CDC-funded grant for the Mental and Reproductive Health Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Practice Implementation Center (MRPIC). In this project, she will design robust discipline-specific FASD training materials for Social Work (SW) and OB/GYN disciplines to increase the proportion of mental and reproductive health professionals who achieve education and training on FASD and alcohol screening and brief intervention. In this activity, she will develop three levels of training for SW and OB/GYN professionals: 1) FASD101 discipline-specific training modules and materials, 2) discipline-specific continuing education programs/webinars on reducing alcohol-exposed pregnancies, and 3) SBIRT training using the ADEPT (Alcohol and Drug Education for Prevention and Treatment) model that she will modify to include avatar-based training. This work builds upon her previous 12 years of funding for the Midwest Regional FASD Training Center (MRFASTC) which covers a 19-state geographic region. The MRPIC project will move this work to a national level and she will be working with the University of Texas-Austin, University of California-San Diego, Baylor University School of Medicine and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.