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Washington State University

Meet Our Prevention Science Graduates

Jason Wheeler, PhD

Researcher I

OMNI Institute

2018 WSU Prevention Science Graduate

Dissertation Title: The Effectiveness of Corrective Masculinity Gender Norms to Prevent Alcohol-Related Consequences among Fraternity Members

Primary Advisor:  Stacey Hust (College of Communication)

Committee Members:  Kathleen Rodgers (Human Development), Jessica Willoughby (College of Communication), Bruce Pinkleton (College of Communication)

What is your current job title?

Researcher 1

What organization do you work for?

OMNI Institute in Denver, Colorado

What do you do in your current job?

The OMNI Institute is a non-profit that seeks to affect positive social change by conducting research and evaluation in the areas of public and behavioral health, human development, and criminal justice. OMNI’s clients (private organizations, public health departments, school districts, police departments and others) are mostly in Colorado, but they have also been working to assist the commonwealth of Virginia’s management of their substance abuse block grant and crisis grant funding and activities. I have conducted research into behavioral health problems and solutions for public health departments, assisted with the planning of prevention strategies in 40 communities in Virginia and provided them with technical assistance in order to manage their local data and reporting to grantors.

How did WSU’s Prevention Science Graduate Program prepare you for this work?

Really everything about the program’s content was beneficial. My advisor was a really great guide the whole way I am so thankful. Even though a lot of my graduate school work was in communication studies, the program’s core focus on developmental and lifespan perspectives and the intersections of the mighty Bronfenbrenner’s ecological domains are I think the best foundations for working in behavioral health because we are all humans, but at the same time have unique health profiles based on our experiences. It might be specific to where I ended up, but the program development series courses, and developing a campaign for my dissertation work were especially beneficial because I work with program implementation. For example in my work with VA communities I provide technical assistance by teaching public health prevention administrators how to do logic models to plan for the implementation of prevention programming. Federal grantors like SAMHSA also love to follow frameworks in everything, so learning about a variety of those was key, like I work daily with the IOM classifications of prevention strategies. The multidisciplinary nature of our program, learning from faculty who are experts in different areas and working alongside students from different academic backgrounds, really prepares you to work effectively with different people.

What words of wisdom do you have for future WSU Prevention Science students?

Our program is focused on prevention and I’d say most aspects of the health industry do too now- but treatment and recovery are just as important, especially in the field of substance use disorders. In the first year of the program everyone was excited to advocate for prevention as a strategy, I became a bit indoctrinated that prevention is the “only way.” Really all three are interconnected.
Start thinking about a job early- I wish I had set aside one day or half a day a week from the beginning to just ponder what is out there and what I would be happy doing. Get to know your fellow graduate students when in the program- it’s over before you know it and it’s a really special time to be shared even if it is a crazy time of work and stresses too.
I was able to do a mixed method analysis of the available milkshakes in the Pullman/Moscow area and the best across multiple indicators (taste, cost, quantity, location) is Ferdinands on campus.