James K Cunningham, PhD

Research Assistant Professor
Phone Number: 
(520) 626-7864

UACC Information

UACC Organizational Unit: 
Professional Bio: 

Dr. Cunningham looks forward to working with Native American Research and Training Center (NARTC) and University of Arizona Cancer Center (UACC) faculty to help assess whether Native Americans in the western United States are facing pronounced disparities in alcohol-related hospital services. He has substantial experience conducting advanced analyses using big data, including hospital discharge data systems.

As a research manager for the Orange County Health Care Agency in California, he worked with hospital data in the early 1990s to help inform health departments about patterns in local drug-related morbidity. For 10 years, he served as Arizona’s representative to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Community Epidemiology Work Group, and regularly provided that group with hospital data on drug abuse and morbidity. He was invited by NIDA to write a report on how drug-related hospital data can be analyzed; it was published in NIDA’s monograph Epidemiologic Trends in Drug Abuse.  Volume II.  Proceedings of the Community Epidemiology Work Group—2006. He has published multiple reports in Tier 1 journals using drug–related hospital data, including studies showing the impact of US drug policies, the impact of methamphetamine on Parkinson’s disease, and the pronounced impact of birthday celebrations on alcohol-related hospitalizations.

Dr. Cunningham's work with hospital data has included a range of statistical procedures including Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average analyses, propensity score matching, zero-order negative binomial regression, and multi-level analyses. Beyond this, as a research evaluator for programs operated by the University of Arizona Department of Family and Community Medicine, he has extensive experience assessing clinical programs and outcomes. He also serve as an evaluator for NARTC, which works on issues of importance to the health and well-being of Native Americans. For example, Dr. Teshia Solomon (NARTC’s Director) and Dr. Cunningham have recently used national samples from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to identify alcohol consumption rates and patterns among Native Americans as a population in the United States (Cunningham et al., in press). NARTC and UACC together constitute a robust, collegial base from which to conduct our new project, and to disseminate its findings.

Research Information

Research Program: 
Cancer Prevention and Control
Member Status: 
Associate Research Member
Year of Membership Acceptance: 
Selected Publications: 
  1. Cunningham J. K., Maxwell J. C., Campollo O., Cunningham K. I., Liu L.-M., Lin H.-L. Proximity to the US-Mexico border: a key to explaining geographic variation in US methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine purity. Addiction (in press).
  2. Callaghan R. C., Cunningham J. K., Sajeev G., Kish S. J. Incidence of Parkinson's disease among hospital patients with methamphetamine-use disorders. Movement Disorders (in press).
  3. Cunningham J. K., Bojorquez I., Campollo O., Liu L.-M., Maxwell J. C. (2010) Mexico’s methamphetamine precursor controls: impacts on drug treatment admissions. Addiction. 105: 1785-1798.
  4. Callaghan R. C., Cunningham J. K., Victor J. C., Liu L.-M. (2009) Impact of Canadian federal methamphetamine precursor and essential chemical regulations on methamphetamine-related acute-care hospital admissions. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 105: 185-193.
  5. Cunningham J. K., Liu L.-M., Callaghan R. (2009) Impact of US and Canadian precursor regulation on methamphetamine purity in the United States. Addiction. 104: 441-453.
  6. Cunningham J. K., Liu L.-M. (2008) Impact of methamphetamine precursor chemical legislation, a suppression policy, on the demand for drug treatment. Social Science & Medicine. 66: 1463-1473.
  7. Cunningham J. K., Liu L.-M., Muramoto M. (2008) Methamphetamine suppression and route of administration: precursor regulation impacts on snorting, smoking, swallowing and injecting. Addiction. 103: 1174-1186.
  8. Cunningham J. K., Liu L.-M. (2005) Impacts of federal precursor regulations on methamphetamine arrests. Addiction. 100: 479-488.
  9. Cunningham J. K., Liu L.-M. (2003) Guidelines for measuring impacts of methamphetamine precursor regulations. Addiction. 98: 1463-1464.
  10. Cunningham J. K., Liu L.-M. (2003) Impacts of federal ephedrine and pseudoephedrine regulations on methamphetamine-related hospital admissions. Addiction. 98: 1229-1237.
  11. Cunningham J. K., Stoeckert J. A. (1992) Evaluations of 3M/House single channel and Nucleus multichannel cochlear implants. The American Journal of Otology. 13: 449-453.
  12. Cunningham J. K. (1990) Parent’s evaluations of the effects of the 3M/House cochlear implant on children. Ear and Hearing. 11: 375-381.
  13. Fujikawa S., Cunningham J. K. (1989) Practices and attitudes related to hearing: A survey of executives. Amplification and Aural Rehabilitation. 10: 357-360.
  14. Cunningham J. K., Stoeckert J. A. (1988) Improvements in cochlear implant appearance: the user’s view. Hearing Instruments. 39: 32-34.

Professional Information

Positions and Honors: 

Canada-Mexico Joint Award in North American Studies
Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program

Harry F. Scoville Practitioner Research Award
Western Governmental Research Association

Achievements in Alcohol and Drug Research
California Association of Alcohol and Drug Administration



Other Experience and Professional Memberships/Affiliations: 
  • College on Problems of Drug Dependence
  • American Psychological Association
  • American Public Health Association