Melissa N. Slavin

Melissa N. Slavin

Assistant Professor of Forensic Psychology
School of Psychology and Counseling



  • Psychological Bases of Criminal Behavior


  • Substance use disorders
  • Addictive behaviors (e.g., gambling disorder; compulsive sexual behavior)
  • Sexual risk behavior
  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • Digital intervention science
  • Reducing barriers to treatment among people involved in criminal legal systems


  • BA, University of Connecticut
  • PhD, University at Albany
  • Pre-doctoral Clinical Internship, VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven
  • T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in HIV, Substance Abuse, and Criminal Justice, Columbia University School of Social Work

Academic Profile

Dr. Slavin is an Assistant Professor of Forensic Psychology at the School of Psychology and Counseling. Prior to joining FDU, she worked as an Associate Research Scientist at Columbia School of Social Work. She obtained her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University at Albany in 2019, after completing her predoctoral internship at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven, Addictions Track. Her doctoral clinical training also included facilitating Moral Reconation Therapy for Veterans with substance-related offenses at the Albany Stratton VA as well as providing CBT and conducting psychosexual evaluations for individuals who had committed sexual offenses at New Paradigm Psychological Services. Dr. Slavin furthered her research training in the HIV, Substance Abuse, and Criminal Justice T32 postdoctoral program at Columbia School of Social Work.

Dr. Slavin’s research focuses on the intersection of substance use, sexual behavior, and sexual and reproductive health. She investigates factors influencing substance use trajectories and sexual risk behaviors both intrapersonally (e.g., drug outcome cognitive expectancies; personality factors; motivational states) and interpersonally (e.g., sexual assault, physical violence) while considering synergistic environmental barriers faced by marginalized communities such as poverty, structural racism, and increased rates of incarceration. Dr. Slavin is currently the principal investigator of a Mentored Research Scientist Development (K01) award funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The study involves adapting a digital group-based intervention for reproductive-aged women with substance use disorders and unmet need for contraception who are involved in criminal legal systems. Dr. Slavin’s research aims to increase options for accessible and culturally appropriate substance use treatment and sexual and reproductive health services for women involved in criminal legal systems.

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