Andra Wilkinson, PhD MSPH, is a Research Scientist dedicated to improving how adolescents transition into young adulthood by conducting research and translating it into practice. Dr. Wilkinson was the principal investigator of a NIDA grant and led research studies on how social norms for boys can make them more likely to binge drink and use marijuana (in press), how depression and substance use are linked with depression even preceding marijuana use in teen boys and girls, the cost effectiveness of screening for depression in primary care (in press), and community and policy options for increasing youth employment in rural areas (in press). Dr. Wilkinson has been invited to present for the Population Association of America, the American Public Health Association, and the Association of Teachers in Maternal and Child Health. She has also published research briefs for the Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse on trauma-informed care, drug testing in TANF programs, and child support.
Currently, Dr. Wilkinson is the principal investigator of a DOJ-funded project on the relationship between childhood maltreatment and delinquent behaviors in adolescence and potential malleable protective factors to block the connection. She also leads four tasks for the OAH Pregnancy Assistance Fund Technical Assistance project centered on partnering with practitioners to improve services for pregnant and parenting youth. Dr. Wilkinson also co-leads a data task for the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, which is partnering with policymakers and practitioners to improve the youth transition out of foster care.
Previously, Dr. Wilkinson worked in implementation science for Kaiser Permanente and in the emergency rooms for two different hospitals. This is where Andra gained her in-depth knowledge of the U.S. health care system and its intersection with the criminal justice system, homelessness, and various social programs. She is interested in understanding and preventing the events that can derail an adolescent’s transition to adulthood including incarceration, substance abuse, unplanned pregnancy, and mental health issues and fundamentally how to make sure this science gets into practice.