Kristina Wharton joined the Prevention Research Center as a postdoctoral fellow in the Prevention Science Research Training Program in 2020. Her research interests are focused on the intersection of local, state and federal policies and environmental contexts impacting substance use, mental and physical health of special populations.
Currently, Kristina is leading an NIAAA-funded R21 titled, “COVID-19 Telehealth Policies’ Impact on Provision of Alcohol and Substance Use Disorder Services at Federally Qualified Health Centers.” The objectives are this study are to identify telehealth polices that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic that facilitate access to alcohol and substance use treatment in safety net primary care settings. She also supports Dr. Lipperman-Kreda and Dr. Paschall on an NIH Center Grant component supplement titled, “Effect of COVID-19 Policies on Social Mechanisms of Adolescents’ Alcohol Use Initiation and Progression to Problems.” The study examines how policies related to the COVID-19 pandemic influence environmental conditions and contexts in which early drinking and continued alcohol use occurs among adolescents. Variation in COVID-19 policies across California counties provides a natural experiment to investigate changes in drinking opportunities, contexts and related social mechanisms of alcohol use and related problems among adolescents over time.
Prior to joining PRC, her work and research centered on issues of access to primary care and behavioral health services in Federally Qualified Health Centers. She uses qualitative, mixed-methods, multi-level modeling, and policy evaluation methods including difference-in-differences models to investigate these issues. Kristina received her PhD in Health Policy and Management from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, MPH in Maternal and Child Health from UNC-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Public Health, MPA from North Carolina State University, and BA in Economics from Smith College.
Wharton, M. K., Islam, S., Abadi, M. H., Pokhrel, P., Lipperman-Kreda, S. (2022). COVID-19 restrictions and adolescent cigarette and e-cigarette use in California. American Journal of Preventative Medicine DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2022.09.014 PMCID: PMC9636984 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/36347663