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 supporting 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. Results will reveal modifiable factors impacting adolescent alcohol use to consider when developing prevention interventions that target physical and social environments. Additionally, she is supporting the legal research component of the study by collecting and coding California state and county COVID-19 policy data under supervision of Dr. Thomas and Mr. Treffers.
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 in 2020, MPH in Maternal and Child Health from UNC-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Public Health in 2015, and MPA from North Carolina State University in 2011.
Wharton, M. K., Shi, L., Eragoda, S., Monnette, A. M., Nauman, E., Price-Haywood, E. G., Hu, G., Bazzano, A. N. (2020). Qualitative analysis of health systems utilizing non-face-to-Face chronic care management for Medicare-insured patients with diabetes. Journal of Ambulatory Care Management, 43 (4) 326-334. DOI: 10.1097/JAC.0000000000000342 https://journals.lww.com/ambulatorycaremanagement/Fulltext/2020/10000/Qualitative_Analysis_of_Health_Systems_Utilizing.14.aspx