Katherine E. Watkins

Katherine E. Watkins
Senior Physician Policy Researcher; Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School


M.D., University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; M.S.H.S., UCLA School of Public Health

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email media@rand.org.

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Katherine Watkins (she/her) is a senior physician policy researcher at RAND, and a board-certified practicing psychiatrist, and a professor of policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. She uniquely combines a research background in substance abuse and mental health treatment services with a clinical background in treatment for substance use and co-occurring disorders, and she has focused on training substance abuse providers to deliver evidence-based mental health services to individuals with drug and alcohol problems, and primary care providers to deliver treatment for mental illness and substance use disorders. She is particularly interested in increasing access to treatment for vulnerable populations and in improving care for individuals with co-occurring mental health disorders and substance abuse. 

Dr. Watkins received her M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she obtained her master's degree in health services.

Selected Publications

Watkins, K. E., et al., "Association Between Quality Measures and Mortality in Individuals With Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders," Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 69, 2016

Watkins, K. E., et al., "The Affordable Care Act: An opportunity for improving care for substance use disorders?" Psychiatric Services, 66(3), 2015

Watkins, K. E., et al., "The cost-effectiveness of depression treatment for co-occurring disorders: A clinical trial," Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 46(2), 2014

Watkins, K. E., et al., "An effectiveness trial of group cognitive behavioral therapy for patients with persistent depressive symptoms in substance abuse treatment.," Archives of General Psychiatry, 68(6), 2011

Watkins, K. E., et al., "Care for veterans with mental and substance use disorders: Good performance, but room to improve on many measures," Health Affairs, 30(11), 2011

Watkins, K. E., et al., "Developing medical record-based performance indicators to measure the quality of mental health care.," Journal for Healthcare Quality, 33(1), 2011

Watkins, K. E., et al., "The health value and cost of care for major depression.," Value in Health, 12(1), 2009

Watkins, K. E., et al., "Improving Care for Depression in Patients with Comorbid Substance Misuse," American Journal of Psychiatry, 163(1), 2006


  • Health Care Quality Measurement

    The ACA's Opportunity to Improve Care for Substance Use Disorders

    The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will significantly increase coverage for the publicly funded treatment of substance use disorders. But in order to maximize the benefit to patients, families, and society, it's critical to invest in the development, validation, and use of performance measures.

    Jul 28, 2014

    The RAND Blog

  • California's Misguided Approach

    Despite the frequency with which people are convicted of multiple DUI offenses, California continues to require that all individuals with a DUI attend a 30- or 60-hour education program. However, these programs aren't that effective.

    Mar 17, 2014

    Orange County Register