OPTIC Staff

Bradley D. Stein, M.D., Ph.D.

Center Director

Bradley D. Stein, Center Director, is a practicing physician, senior physician policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, and adjunct associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. Over the last decade, Stein has served as principal investigator for numerous federally and privately funded studies related to the opioid crisis. Stein has published multiple peer-reviewed articles related to the opioid crisis in top-tier journals, including studies of opioid use disorder treatment, opioid analgesics prescribing, and the effects of state and federal policies. He is active in sharing his findings with federal and state policymakers.

Rosalie Liccardo Pacula

Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, Ph.D.

Center Co-Director, Data and Methods Core Co-Director and Co-Principal Investigator

Rosalie Pacula holds the Elizabeth Garrett Chair in Health Policy, Economics & Law and is a Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Sol Price School of Public Policy and Faculty within the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics at the University of Southern California. Pacula has conducted research focused on the supply and demand for alcohol, marijuana, opioid and other addictive substances and developed technical expertise related to measuring these markets and the behavior of agents operating in them. She has developed techniques for dealing with imperfect data related to these markets and developed models that go beyond the data to support causal inference.

Beth Ann Griffin

Beth Ann Griffin, Ph.D.

Data and Methods Core Co-Director and Co-Principal Investigator

Beth Ann Griffin is a senior statistician at the RAND Corporation. Griffin was also a founding Co-Director of the RAND Center for Causal Inference, which is devoted to promoting better dissemination of advanced causal modeling techniques to researchers around the globe. Griffin has published extensively on methodological developments for drawing more robust inferences using observational data and substantive findings regarding substance use treatments. She has been actively involved in the development of numerous short courses on causal inference methods.

Courtney Kase

Center Manager

Courtney Ann Kase is a policy analyst at the RAND Corporation. She has experience in qualitative research, project management, and program evaluation. Kase has an M.P.H. from the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh with a concentration in behavioral and community health sciences and a certificate in minority health and health disparities. She also received a B.S. in neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh.

Rosanna Smart, Ph.D.

Project Principal Investigator – Opioid policy components: Developing Metrics to Account for Heterogenous Design of State Opioid Policies

Rosanna Smart is an economist at the RAND Corporation. She has examined multiple topics related to substance use and associated health consequences, marijuana and opioid policy changes, gun policy, and the economics of crime. Her research combines theoretical models of behavioral responses to regulatory changes with rigorous empirical methods to understand both the intended and unintended consequences of policy changes on substance use and other health outcomes. Of special value to OPTIC is Smart's understanding of how policy design and implementation shape substance use behavior while accounting for the broader regulatory, economic, and cultural context in which policy changes occur.

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David Powell, Ph.D.

Project Principal Investigator – Measuring the Presence of Opioid Markets in Local Communities and Their Impacts on Harm

David Powell is a senior economist at the RAND Corporation. His research focuses on public and private policies that impact opioid-related overdoses, as well as possible mechanisms to curb the rise in the overdose rate. He has studied how large prescription drug coverage expansions, naloxone access laws, Good Samaritan laws, medical marijuana laws, and the introduction of abuse-deterrent prescription opioids affect opioid-related outcomes. A forthcoming book chapter analyzes the causes of the opioid epidemic in the United States and discusses the impacts of several federal and state policies. Powell's initial OPTIC project is a natural extension of his previous and ongoing research: it studies policies with the potential for strong intended and unintended consequences on opioid use.

Mary Vaiana, Ph.D.

Center Communications Analyst

Mary Vaiana is a senior research communications analyst at the RAND Corporation and leads the Center's communication and dissemination efforts. Vaiana is founder of RAND's Research Communications Group, a team of communications professionals with special expertise in transforming technical findings into accessible documents, web material, and presentations. She designed and taught RAND's initial Policy Workshops, which will serve as the model for OPTIC workshops. She assisted with the design and implementation of dissemination strategies for many major research efforts. Vaiana has led writing teams on many complex, multi-authored manuscripts and is skilled at developing derivative materials and highlighting key findings in non-technical language for multiple audiences.

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Megan Schuler, Ph.D.

Data and Methods Core Co-Investigator, Project Co-Investigator - Developing Methodological Tools to Account for Concurrent State Policies in Opioid Research

Megan Schuler is an associate policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. A central theme of her research is heterogeneity in substance use and mental health behaviors, disorders, and treatment. Her work has characterized variation in use of behavioral health services and examined how associations between substance use and risk factors vary dynamically across age. Methodologically, her research focuses on estimation of causal effects in the analysis of observational health data. Schuler's expertise as an applied statistician with a strong background in substance use and mental health will strongly support OPTIC's mission.

Rebecca Haffajee

Data and Methods Core Co-Investigator, Projects Co-Investigator

Rebecca Haffajee is a policy researcher at the RAND Corporation and an adjunct assistant professor of health management and policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. A lawyer and health policy researcher, Haffajee’s work combines detailed legal analyses with empirical investigations of the relationships between policy and health. She has examined many dimensions of mental health and substance use policy, including parity laws, prescription drug monitoring programs, pain clinic regulation, opioid addiction treatment, and opioid litigation. Of particular value to OPTIC is her expertise in legal epidemiology, understanding of state and federal opioid-related policies, and experience in conducting quasi-experimental evaluations of opioid laws using administrative claims and other health data.

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Tisamarie Sherry

Projects Co-Principal Investigator

Tisamarie Sherry is an associate physician policy researcher at the RAND Corporation and a practicing primary care physician. She is a health economist and health services researcher whose research examines how public policies and health care system design shape the health and economic outcomes of vulnerable populations, with a special focus on individuals with mental illness, substance use disorder, and disabilities. She has particular expertise in how health policy and health systems factors influence physicians’ opioid prescribing patterns.

Sara Heins, Ph.D.

Project Co-Investigator - Developing Methodological Tools to Account for Concurrent State Policies in Opioid Research

Sara Heins is an associate policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. She is an early career researcher whose dissertation examined variation in state-level prescription opioid dosing policies and evaluated the impact of a subset of those policies on prescribing behavior. Her recent research includes an examination of factors associated with high-risk opioid prescribing in Medicaid populations and evaluation of guidelines for workers' compensation opioid prescribing.

Elizabeth Stuart

Elizabeth Stuart, Ph.D.

Project Co-Investigator – Developing Methodological Tools to Account for Concurrent State Policies in Opioid Research

Elizabeth Stuart is a professor in the Departments of Mental Health, Biostatistics, and Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH), Associate Dean for Education at JHSPH, co-Director of the JHSPH Center for Mental Health and Addiction Policy Research, and lead of the evidence workgroup within the Bloomberg American Health Initiative. Stuart's research focuses on developing statistical methods for estimating causal effects and applying the methods to mental health, education, and public policy. Her methodological work has examined use of propensity score methods to estimate causal effects in non-experimental studies, methods to assess and enhance the generalizability of randomized trial results to target populations, and methods to handle complications such as noncompliance and missing data in randomized trials.

Stephen W. Patrick

Stephen W. Patrick, M.D., M.P.H.

Project Co-Investigator – Developing Methodological Tools to Account for Concurrent State Policies in Opioid Research

Stephen W. Patrick is an assistant professor of pediatrics and health policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and a practicing neonatologist. He is one of only a small number of neonatologists who are also fellowship-trained in health services research and health policy. His work focuses on understanding the impact of the opioid crisis on vulnerable populations, particularly opioid-exposed infants and women with substance-use disorders, and improving systems of care for communities affected by it. He has been the principal investigator of NIDA, HRSA, and foundation-funded work related to the opioid crisis, published extensively on this topic, and testified before the U.S. Senate.

bryce pardo

Bryce Pardo, Ph.D.

Project Co-Investigator - Opioid policy components: Developing Metrics to Account for Heterogeneous Design of State Opioid Policies and Synthetic Opioid Markets

Bryce Pardo is an associate policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. His work focuses on drug policy, with a particular interest in the areas of opioid controls, new psychoactive substance markets, and illicit synthetic opioid trafficking. He has over ten years of experience working with national, state, and local governments in crime and drug policy. His research and academic works have been published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, Addiction, Lancet Psychology, Criminology and Public Policy, and reports for the London School of Economics, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Pan-American Health Organization, and the National Academy of Sciences.

Sean Grant, Ph.D.

Project Co-Investigator – Opioid Policy Components: Developing Metrics to Account for Heterogenous Design of State Opioid Policies

Sean Grant is an adjunct behavioral and social scientist at the RAND Corporation and an assistant professor in social and behavioral sciences at Indiana University's Fairbanks School of Public Health. He currently leads several projects developing methodological guidance for researchers in social and psychological interventions regarding reporting trial protocols, randomized controlled trials, and confidence in the body of evidence used to estimate intervention effects. He is also co-investigator for a NIDA-funded project to identify and evaluate decision rules for adolescent substance use treatment, and a team leader for a series of systematic reviews on interventions for behavioral health conditions for the Psychological Health Center of Excellence.

Tim Naimi

Timothy Naimi, M.D., M.P.H.

Project Co-Investigator – Opioid Policy Components: Developing Metrics to Account for Heterogenous Design of State Opioid Policies

Timothy Naimi is a physician and alcohol epidemiologist and substance use policy researcher at Boston Medical Center and a professor at Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health. Naimi has been a principal investigator on NIH-funded projects to develop and validate composite measures of state substance use policy environments for both alcohol and marijuana. He will provide expertise to OPTIC to assist with development of similar composite policy measures for opioids.

Brendan Saloner

Brendan Saloner, Ph.D.

Project Co-Investigator - Measuring the Presence of Opioid Markets in Local Communities and Their Impacts on Harm

Brendan Saloner is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management and has a joint appointment in the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He co-leads the workgroup on addiction and overdose in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg American Health Initiative, where he has led work with states to develop opioid response plans. Saloner's research examines health care services for disadvantaged populations, with a focus on access to treatment for substance use disorders. Of special value to OPTIC is his expertise in applying national survey data and state administrative databases to measure illicit drug markets, and his understanding of measures of federal and state programs that address opioid-related risk factors.

Affiliated Institutions

Advisory Board

  • Colleen Barry, Ph.D., M.P.P. Fred and Julie Soper Professor and Chair, Department of Health Policy and Management
    Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Richard Frank, Ph.D. Margaret T. Morris Professor of Health Economics, Department of Health Care Policy
    Harvard Medical School
  • Adam Gordon, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P., D.F.A.S.A.M., C.M.R.O. Elbert F. And Marie Christensen Endowed Research Professorship, Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry
    University of Utah School of Medicine
  • Katie Greene, M.P.P. Program Director, Health
    National Governors Association
  • Karmen Hanson, M.A. Program Director, Health
    National Conference of State Legislatures
  • Debra Houry, M.D., M.P.H. Director, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Keith Humphreys, Ph.D. Esther Ting Memorial Professor
    Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Christopher Jones, Pharm.D., Dr.P.H., M.P.H. Senior Advisor and Associate Director, Office of Strategy and Innovation
    National Center for Injury Prevention Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Jeffrey Locke, J.D., M.P.P. Program Director, Homeland Security & Public Safety
    National Governors Association
  • Harold Pollack, Ph.D. Helen Ross Professor, School of Social Service Administration
    University of Chicago