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Washington State University

Meet Our Prevention Science Graduates

Kait Hirchak, Ph.D

NIAAA Postdoctoral Fellow

University of New Mexico

2018 WSU Prevention Science Graduate

Dissertation Title: Examining the Relationship Between Age and Treatment Outcomes among American Indian adults Participating in a Contingency Management Clinical Trial for Alcohol Use Disorders: A Mixed Methods Approach

Primary Advisor: Sterling McPherson (College of Medicine)

Committee Members: Michael McDonnell (College of Medicine), John Roll (College of Medicine), Sean Murphy (Cornell University)

What is your current job title?

Postdoctoral Fellow

What organization do you work for?

Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Addictions (CASAA) at the University of New Mexico

What do you do in your current job?

I am currently working on a number of research projects  focused on increasing health equity among American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) people, with collaborations across many departments at the University of New Mexico. In addition, I’m assisting with the cultural adaption and implementation of the Community Reinforcement and Family Training project in partnership with a Tribal community in the Southwest. We are also culturally centering medication assisted treatment for opioid use disorder among AI/AN adults in partnership with four Native-serving outpatient and primary care organizations. As part of my postdoc position, I am drafting grant proposals to develop, implement and disseminate effective alcohol interventions with AI/AN communities.

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

The team science and interdisciplinary focus of the Prevention Science program is outstanding. I was presented with opportunities that I would not have had elsewhere and that I continue to benefit from. The degree provided advanced training in scientific writing, mixed-methods, statistical analyses, grant writing and community based participatory research, all of which has given me a solid foundation for my current program of research and future career goals.

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

Whatever area of interest a prospective student may have, the network of professors and researchers at WSU is exceptional. For anyone hoping to make a positive impact in their research and career, I cannot recommend this program enough. Choosing the Prevention Science program at WSU is among the best personal and professional decisions I’ve made.