Dr. Ungerleider is Professor Emeritus in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Science. He joined the Department in 1962 and his interest in substance abuse as a social, clinical, and scientific problem began soon thereafter. Between 1966 and his retirement from active academic life in 1995, he published almost two hundred articles in the area of substance abuse in a wide range of journals including Science, the American Journal of Psychiatry, Psychoanalytic Forum, Arts and Architecture, Annals of Internal Medicine, JAMA, Current Pediatric Therapy, the American Journal of Ophthalmology, and scores of others. He conducted seminal research on the medical effects of marijuana extracts, and was appointed by President Nixon in 1971 to the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse. Later he was a member of President Carter's Drug Abuse Task Force of the President's Mental Health Commission, and has been on the advisory councils and boards of approximately 15 local, state and national professional drug abuse associations.
His work in substance abuse education and prevention began in 1966 when he founded and directed the Project D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Research and Education) youth group at the UCLA Medical Center. For these efforts he received recognition from President Richard Nixon, California governor Ronald Reagan, and Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty, plus commendations from the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the American Broadcasting Company and the C alifornia State Legislature. In 1968, the Dare group was awarded the Chris Award, first place in Health Education at the Columbus National Education Film Festival, for their film "Beyond LSD." In 1972, Dr. Ungerleider founded and directed the UCLA Drug Abuse Training Center, which the funding agency (National Institute of Mental Health) called their "Center of Excellence."
In the early 1990s, Dr. Ungerleider, along with Dr. Robert Pechnick, designed an elective course in substance abuse for the UCLA medical students in their Interactive Teaching Seminar. This was later adapted for the medical student Doctoring Course. Largely in recognition of the success of this course, Dr. Ungerleider received the Association of Academic Psychiatry National Education Award for 1991, and the California Society of Addiction Medicine's highest recognition, the Vernielle Fox Award, in 1992. In 1994, he received the UCLA School of Medicine Award for Excellence in Education, and the UCLA Department of Psychiatry Distinguished Educator Award. In 2001, Dr. Ungerleider was the recipient of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse [AMERSA] McGovern Award for his significant impact on the field of alcohol and drug abuse.