I received my BA in chemistry from the College of St.Catherine, MN, and completed medical school here at the University of Minnesota. I completed my residency in family practice from the University of Wisconsin, a residency in psychiatry, and a fellowship in addiction medicine from the University of Minnesota. I am an Associate Professor and addiction psychiatrist in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences. I am Program Director for the Addiction Medicine Fellowship which trains physicians of all specialties in addiction and co-occurring psychiatric disorders.
My research interests include substance abuse and related compulsive behaviors with co-morbid conditions, especially in women; medication development for substances of abuse, and healthcare professionals with substance user psychiatric disorders. I am also a co-investigator on the use of neuroimaging approaches to identify circuit abnormalities in addiction. Pharmacotherapies for the treatment of cocaine use disorder have also been a focus of research. I have also given grand rounds presentations nationwide and have presented both nationally and internationally at more than 70 conferences. I am board certified in both family practice and psychiatry and certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine as a physician specialist in substance abuse and by the American Board of Psychiatry in addiction psychiatry. I was selected as a Top Doctor in Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine in 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2021.
- Eating disorders
- Substance use disorders
- Addictive disorders
(for academic support only)
In the Media
- 2023: Featured in this article titled, “Celebrating the many ways that psychologists help us”.
- 2022: Shares her expertise in this Medical School article titled, “Talking addiction during the holidays with U of M”.
- 2022: The focus of this article titled, “Trip to Africa teaches faculty member about the impact of culture on mental health and substance abuse”.
- 2022: Featured in this Faribault Daily News article titled, “University of Minnesota expert explains Dry January”.
- 2021: Interviewed for this article in Self Magazine titled, “6 Signs Your Relationship with Alcohol May Not be Healthy”.
Dr. Specker's research is focused around substance abuse and related compulsive behaviors with co-morbid conditions, especially in women; medication development for substances of abuse; and Health Care Professionals with substance user psychiatric disorders.