Dessa Bergen-Cico

Associate Professor

Dessa Bergen-Cico, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health, and Coordinator of the Addiction Studies program and faculty in the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program at Syracuse University. She holds a Research Appointment at the Syracuse Veterans Administration Medical Center and Fellow of the American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders. Dr. Bergen-Cico is a Certified Addiction Specialist (CAS), Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and a Certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Teacher. She completed her MBSR Teacher Training through the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dessa was selected as a Fulbright Scholar and taught in the Addiction Studies Program at Ilia State University in the Republic of Georgia in 2015-2016 and was selected as a Rotary Peace Fellow in the 2017 Rotary Peace Program at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand.


PhD Community Health, Syracuse University 1992

Master of Science, Health and Exercise Science, Syracuse University, 1988

Bachelor of Fine Arts, College of Visual and Performing Arts/ Bachelor of Science School of Education, Syracuse University, 1986


Her areas of specialization focus on: a.) alcohol, other drugs, and addictive behaviors; b.) traumatic stress, c.) the impact of violence on health, and d.) the use of mindfulness-based practices for prevention and recovery from trauma and addictions. She is the author of more than 30 scholarly publications, including the book “War and Drugs: The Role of Military Conflict in the Development of Substance Abuse.”

Recent Publications

  • Bergen-Cico, D., Otiashvili, D., Kirtadze, I., Zebransky, T. & Tsertsvadze V. (2017) Cost analysis of the country of Georgia’s street level drug testing policy. Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. AOP; 1-22 doi:10.1515/jdpa-2017-0003
  • Proulx, J, Croff, R., Oken, B., Aldwin, C.M., Fleming, C., Bergen-Cico, D., Le, T., & Norrani, M. (2017) Considerations for research and development of culturally relevant mindfulness interventions in American minority communities. Mindfulness. AOP 1-10 DOI: 10.1007/s12671-017-0785-z
  • Bergen-Cico, D & Krishna Kumar, A. (2017) Examining the processes of change associated with Mindfulness-based meditation and reductions in trait anxiety. The Scientific Pages of Depression and Anxiety. 1 (1): 1-11.
  • Lane, S., Rubinstein, R., Bergen-Cico, D., Jennings-Bey, T, Stone Fish, L., Larsen, D., Fullilove, M., Reichert Shimpff, T., Animashaun Ducre, K., Robinson, J.A., (2017) Neighborhood trauma due to violence: a multilevel analysis. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. 28: 446-462.
  • Otiashvili, D., Kirtadze, I., & Bergen-Cico, D. (2017) Exploring the new phenomena of home-made extraction and injection of Ephedra plant product in Georgia. Substance Use and Misuse. Online First p 1-5. doi: 10.1080/10826084.2016.1263664
  • Bergen-Cico, D, Sikharulidze, K., Invanshvili, N., Ivanishvili, M., & Keshelava, T. (2017) Hepatitis C risk and protective factors associated with drug policies in the Republic of Georgia. World Medical and Health Policy, 9(1), 45-64.
  • Bergen-Cico, D & Cico, R. (2017) Age as a predictor of cannabis use. p 43-53 In Victor Preedy (Ed.) The Handbook of Cannabis and Related Pathologies: Biology, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Pharmacology. London, Academic Press.
  • Possemato, K., Bergen‐Cico, D., Treatman, S., Allen, C., Wade, M., & Pigeon, W. (2016). A randomized clinical trial of primary care brief mindfulness training for Veterans with PTSD. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 72(3), 179-193. doi: 10.1002/jclp.22241.
  • Bergen-Cico, D, Scholl, S. Invanshvili, N., & Cico, R. (2016). Opioid prescription drug abuse and its relation to heroin trends. p 878-890 In Victor Preedy (Ed.) The Neuropathology of Drug Addictions and Substance Misuse. Volume 1. London, Academic Press.
  • Bergen-Cico, D, Wolf-Stanton, S., Filipovic, R. & Weisberg, J., (2016). Trauma and neurological risks of addiction. p 61-70. In Victor Preedy (Ed.) The Neuropathology of Drug Addictions and Substance Misuse. Volume 1. London, Academic Press.
  • Bergen-Cico, D & McClurg, K. (2016). Kratom use, abuse and addiction. p 903-911 In Victor Preedy (Ed.) The Neuropathology of Drug Addictions and Substance Misuse. Volume 3. London, Academic Press.
  • Jennings-Bey, T, Lane, S., Rubinstein, R., Bergen-Cico, D., Haygood-El, A., Hudson, H., Sanchez, S., & Fowler, F. (2015) The trauma response team: a community intervention for gang violence. Journal of Urban Health. 92 (5) 947-954 doi 10.1007/s11524-015-9978-8.
  • Bergen-Cico, D.K, Lane, S., Thompson, M. Wozny, S., Zajdel, M., Barduhn, M & Noce, N. (2015) Examining the impact of posttraumatic stress on first responders: analysis of cortisol, anxiety, sleep impairment and pain. Journal of Paramedic Practice, 5(3) 42-52.
  • Pigeon WR, Allen C, Possemato K, Bergen-Cico D., & Treatman S, (2015) Feasibility and acceptability of a brief mindfulness program for veterans in primary care with posttraumatic stress disorder. Mindfulness, 6(5):986-995.  doi 10.1007/s12671-014-0340-0.
  • Bergen-Cico, D., Razza, R., & Timmins, A. (2015) Fostering mindfulness and self-regulation through curriculum infusion of mindful yoga: a pilot study of efficacy and feasibility. Journal of Child and Family Studies. 24(11) 3448-3461. doi 10.1007/s10826-015-0146-2
  • Razza, R. Bergen-Cico, D.K. & Raymond, K. (2015) Enhancing preschoolers' self-regulation via mindful yoga. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24(2); 372-385.
  • Bergen-Cico, D. & L’Apple, A. (2015) Examination of safe crack use kit distribution from a public health perspective. World Medical and Health Policy, 7(4): 349-367. Bergen-Cico, D, Possemato, K.& Pigeon, W (2014) Reductions in cortisol associated with a primary care mindfulness-based intervention for veterans with PTSD. Medical Care, 52: S25–S31
  • Bergen-Cico, D, Haygood-El, A., Jennings-Bey, T. & Lane, S.D., (2014) Street addiction: a proposed theoretical model for understanding the draw of street life and gang activity. Journal of Addiction Research and Theory. 22(1) 15-26. doi:10.3109/16066359.2012.759942
  • Bergen-Cico, D, & Cheon, S. (2014) Mediating role of mindfulness and self-compassion in reducing trait anxiety. Mindfulness. 5(5) 505-519. doi:10.1007/s12671-013-0205-y
  • Bergen-Cico, D, (2013) Perspectives of US drug policy: observations and advice from drug policy administrators in emerging democracies in Central and Eastern Europe. World Medical & Health Policy, 5(4) 362-389.
  • Bergen-Cico, D, Possemato, K. & Cheon, S. (2013) Examining the efficacy of a brief mindfulness based stress reduction (Brief MBSR) program on psychological health. Journal of American College Health. 61(6) 348-360.
  • Bergen-Cico, D & Lape, M. (2013) Age of first use as a predictor of current alcohol and marijuana use among college-bound adolescents. Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse. 22: 235–253.