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Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Full Time Faculty

Dr. Liz Santa Ana   Elizabeth Santa Ana, Ph.D.
   Associate Professor
   Addiction Sciences Division

   843-789-7168 phone
   843-789-6290 fax


Biographical Sketch

Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) Santa Ana is an Associate Professor in the Addiction Sciences Division, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina. She also serves as the Evidence-Based Training Coordinator for the VHA VISN 7 Homeless Program and is an investigator in the Health Equities Research Innovation Center (HEROIC), Center of Innovation, Charleston VAMC. She is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist specializing in the treatment of substance use disorders in patients with co-existing psychiatric disorders. She received her B.A. in psychology from Binghamton University, her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the State University of New York at Albany (SUNY Albany), completed her clinical internship at the Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston Consortium), and her postdoctoral fellowship in Advanced Psychiatry and Psychology through the Mental Illness Research Education Clinical Center (MIRECC) at Yale University School of Medicine and the West Haven VA Medical Center.

Dr. Santa Ana’s primary research interests focus on the development and efficacy testing of modalities designed to enhance and maximize delivery of evidence-based interventions (EBTs), particularly innovative methods for delivering EBTs in ways that are practical, feasible, and provide greater accessibility for patients with addictive disorders. Along with her colleagues at Yale University School of Medicine, she developed a Care Coordination Home Telehealth program for substance use disorders that was released nationally within VHA through the Office of Telehealth. She is currently involved in the development of similar telehealth treatment products designed to enhance stabilization of homeless Veterans in VA homeless services and Veterans at high risk for suicide. She has received funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), VA Clinical Science Research and Development (CSR&D), American Cancer Society (through Hollings Cancer Center), and South Carolina Translational Research (SCTR) Center. Most recently, she was awarded with a Health Science Research and Development (HSR&D) Merit as Principal Investigator in her investigation of Group Motivational Enhancement therapy (G-MET) for homeless Veterans with addictive disorders in the community setting. 

Dr. Santa Ana has served as a consultant to VHA Office of Mental Health national training initiative in Motivational Interviewing. She has conducted training in both national and international forums in Motivational Interviewing and Group Motivational Interviewing for addictive disorders and she has been an active member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) since 2009 (Sitges, Spain Cohort). She was the 2011-2012 recipient of the MUSC 'Best Didactic Presenter' teaching award and she has mentored psychology interns through the Charleston Consortium, the DART program, and The Citadel. She provides instruction to PGY-2 Psychiatry residents in EBT's for addictive disorders and she is currently a program consultant to develop a motivational interviewing training program for the MUSC Family Medicine 3rd Year Medical Student Clerkship. 

Aside from her primary research interests, Dr. Santa Ana is also involved as a Co-Investigator and/or a study therapist in collaborative research projects with other faculty in Psychiatry involving studies focused on evaluation of prolonged exposure and cognitive behavioral therapy for patients with PTSD and alcohol use disorder, transcranial direct stimulation (tDCS) combined with CBT for patients with chronic pain, and mindfulness-based relapse prevention for addictive disorders, among other research projects.


Clinical and/or Research Expertise
Alcohol and Drug abuse/dependence, Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Behavioral Medicine and Smoking Cessation, Individual Psychotherapy, Marital & Couples Therapy (Relationship issues; Gay/lesbian issues), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Stress Management, Motivational interviewing and dual diagnosis, Innovative delivery of evidence-based treatment for addictive disorders, Group motivational interviewing for addictive disorders, Nicotine dependence


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