Megan S. Schuler

Megan S. Schuler
Policy Researcher
Off Site Office


Ph.D. in psychiatric epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; M.S. in biostatistics, Medical University of South Carolina; B.S. in mathematics, Tulane University


Megan Schuler is an applied statistician at the RAND Corporation. Her research focuses on substance use and mental health disorders and methodologically on causal inference methods which facilitate rigorous analysis of observational health data. As a co-investigator affiliated with the RAND Opioid Policy Tools and Information Center (OPTIC), a primary focus of her current work is opioid policy research. In particular, her work seeks to develop and disseminate state of the art statistical methods for evaluating the effectiveness of state and federal opioid policies. Another central research interest is heterogeneity in substance use and mental health behaviors, disorders, and treatment, with respect to variation across age and population subgroups. Her current research focuses on substance use disparities among sexual minorities (e.g., gay, lesbian, bisexual individuals). Her ongoing work has characterized notable variation in substance use behaviors across sexual minority subgroups and identified differential risk factors and etiological pathways that contribute to these disparities. In prior work, she has used latent variable modeling to identify distinct subgroups of individuals characterized by similar behavioral health treatment utilization patterns and examined how associations between substance use and risk factors vary dynamically across age using time-varying effect modeling. Prior to RAND, Schuler was a research fellow at Harvard’s Health Care Policy Department and a postdoc at Penn State’s Methodology Center. She received her Ph.D. in psychiatric epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, a M.S. in biostatistics from the Medical University of South Carolina, and a B.S. in mathematics from Tulane University.

Selected Publications

Schuler MS, Griffin BA, Cerda M, McGinty EE, Stuart EA, "Methodological challenges and considerations in opioid policy evaluation," Health Services Outcomes and Research Methodology, 2, 2021

Schuler MS, Heins SE, Smart R, Griffin BA, Powell D, Stuart EA, Pardo B, Smucker S, Patrick SW, Pacula RL, Stein BD, "The state of the science in opioid policy research," Drug & Alcohol Dependence, 241, 2020

Schuler MS, Dick AW, Stein BD, "Growing racial/ethnic disparities in buprenorphine distribution in the United States, 2007-2017," Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 223, 2021

Meadows, Sarah O., Rebecca L. Collins, Megan S. Schuler, Robin L. Beckman, and Matthew Cefalu, The Women's Reproductive Health Survey (WRHS) of Active-Duty Service Members, RAND Corporation (RR-A1031-1), 2022

Schuler MS, Prince DM, Breslau J, Collins RL, "Substance use disparities at the intersection of sexual identity and race/ethnicity: Results from the 2015-2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health," LGBT Health, 7(6), 2020

Schuler MS, Collins RL, "Early alcohol and smoking initiation: A contributor to sexual minority disparities in adult use," American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 57(6), 2019

Schuler MS, Rice CE, Evans-Polce RJ, Collins RL, "Disparities in substance use behaviors and disorders among adult sexual minorities by age, gender, and sexual identity," Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 189, 2018

Schuler MS, Rose S, "Targeted maximum likelihood estimation for causal inference in observational studies," American Journal of Epidemiology, 185(1), 2017

Honors & Awards

  • Selected for 2018 Health Disparities Research Institute, National Institute of Minority Health Disparities
  • Top 10 Article of the Year award, 2017, American Journal of Epidemiology