Photo of Raina Croff, Ph.D.

Raina Croff Ph.D.

Dr. Croff was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. Her fascination with history led her to direct archaeological excavations on Goree Island, Senegal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. With the discovery of skeletal remains, Dr. Croff shifted her focus towards medical anthropology to understand how society, systems of inequality, and poverty have historically shaped West African and African American health and culture. As a medical anthropologist, Dr. Croff began her medical research career examining the integration of traditional healing practices and evidence-based practices for substance abuse among American Indians and Alaska Natives. Currently, Dr. Croff combines community, place, and meaning  to create cognitive health interventions for African Americans that celebrate Black culture and history. She focuses on older adult brain health through increasing physical, social, and cognitive activity in ways that are meaningful to individuals and to their communities.

Areas of interest

  • Healthy aging. Health disparities. Alzheimer's disease. African American brain health. African American community health. Oral history, social engagement, reminiscence for brain health. Physical activity for brain health. Neuroanthropology. Medical anthropology. Cultural approaches to brain health interventions. Gentrification and healthy aging.
  • Cultural approaches to mindfulness, older African American mindfulness practices.
  • Developing minority scholars through mentorship.
  • Integration of traditional healing practices and evidence-based medicine for substance use.


  • Ph.D., Yale University, New Haven Connecticut 2009
  • Ph.D., Yale University, New Haven Connecticut United States 2009
  • Certifications:

    • Certificate of Human Investigations, Oregon Clinical and Translational Research, OHSU

Honors and awards

  • Alzheimer's Association Research Grant to Promote Diversity, 2017
  • National Institutes on Aging Butler-Williams Scholar, 2016
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Healthy Brain Research Network Scholar, 2014-2016
  • Michigan Center for Urban African Americans Aging Research Summer Scholar, July 2015
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse Travel Grant to present at Addiction Health Services Research conference, 2011
  • Alzheimer's Foundation of America Grant, 2018
  • Best Clinical Research Presentation, Neurology Research Day 2018

Memberships and associations

  • The Gerontological Society of America
  • PreSERVE Coalition for African American Memory and Brain Health, Portland, Oregon. Board Member, Research Liaison


  • Proulx, J. Croff, R., Oken, B., Aldwin, C., Fleming, C., Bergen-Cico, D., Le, T., Noorani, M. Considerations for Research and Development of Culturally Relevant Mindfulness Interventions in American Minority Communities. Mindfulness. August 2017. doi. 10.1007/s12671-017-0785-z

  • Ford II JH, Abraham A, Lupulescu-Mann N, Croff R, Hoffman KA, Alanis-Hirsch K, Chalk M, Schmidt L and McCarty D. Promoting Adoption of Medication for Opioid and Alcohol Use Disorders through System Change. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Accepted for Publication. March 2017.

  • Ford, J., Croff, R., Chalk, M., Alanis-Hirsch, K., Johnson, K., Schmidt, L., McCarty, D. Strategies to implement and sustain medication use for alcohol and opioid disorders. Addiction science & clinical practice 02/2015; 10(Suppl 1):A11. doi: 10.1186/1940-0640-10-S1-A11

  • Alanis-Hirsch, K., Croff, R., Chalk, M., McCarty, D. Extended-release naltrexone: A qualitative analysis to routine use. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 2016 Mar; 62:68-73. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2015.10.003. Epub 2015 Nov 6.

  • Klimas, J., Muench, J., Wiest, K., Croff, R., Rieckman, T., McCarty, D. (2015) Alcohol Screening among Opioid Agonist Patients in a Primary Care and Opioid Treatment Program.  Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 2015 Jan-Mar; 47(1):65-70. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2014.991859.

  • Croff, R., Rieckmann, T., Spence, J.D. Provider and State Perspectives on Implementing Cultural-Based Models of Care for American Indian and Alaska Native Patients with Substance Use Disorders. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 2014 Jan; 41(1):64-79. doi: 10.1007/s11414-013-9322-6.

  • Walker, M. Croff, R. Kaye, J. “Using Personal Narratives to See Social Determinants of Health in Older African Americans: SHARP Walking Program. Gerontological Society of America Annual Meeting – CDC-HBRN pre-conference meeting.” Poster. New Orleans, November 15, 2016

  • Croff, R., and Boise, L. State of Black Oregon Focus Group Report: Barriers to Healthy Aging among African Americans aged 55 and over in the Portland-metro area. Raina Croff and Linda Boise. A PreSERVE Coalition, and Urban League of Portland collaboration. To be included in the Urban League’s State of Black Oregon 2015 Report, April.

  • Croff, R., Witter, P., Walker, M., Francois, E., Quinn, C., Riley, T., Sharma, N., Kaye, J. Things are Changing So Fast: Integrative Technology for Preserving Cognitive Health and Community History. Gerontologist, 2018, Vol. XX, No. XX, 1–11. doi:10.1093/geront/gny069. Advance Access publication June 29, 2018

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