Dr. Walton is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, and serves as the Associate Chair for Research in the Department of Psychiatry. She also is the Senior Associate Director of the Injury Prevention Center, and Associate Director for Child Research at the Addiction Center. Dr. Walton’s overall career goal is to conduct innovative research to maximize public health impact on the prevention and treatment of substance use and violence among adolescents and emerging adults. She has particular expertise in harnessing technology (e.g., web, text messaging, social media, and smartphone apps) for assessment and to assist with intervention delivery (either automated or with therapist assistance).
Dr. Walton collaborates with multi-disciplinary teams of clinicians and researchers from departments and institutes across campus. She has more than 200 peer reviewed publications, including papers published in high impact journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, and Addiction. She has received funding from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Specifically, Dr. Walton and colleagues have demonstrated the efficacy of a brief intervention (SafERteens) in reducing youth violence and alcohol misuse, which uses technology to structure the therapy. Her team is currently integrating the SafERteens intervention into routine clinical care in the emergency department, either by on-site social work staff or by remote video therapy, followed by text messaging boosters. In addition to prior studies developing evidenced-based brief interventions for alcohol use and cannabis use for youth in medical settings, Dr. Walton is currently testing the efficacy of social media as an innovative intervention delivery platform for reducing risky drinking among adolescents and emerging adults. Finally, she is conducting an innovative Sequential Multiple Assignment Randomized Controlled Trial (SMART) examining telehealth options to reduce risky drinking and violence among adolescents and emerging adults.
Dr. Walton is committed to teaching and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students as well as post-doctoral fellows and residents. In addition to assisting with the Addiction Center’s T32 post-doctoral fellowship funded by NIAAA, she was the multiple PI of a Fogarty Training program in Ukraine.
Dr. Walton received a M.P.H. in Health Promotion from San Diego State University and a Ph.D. in community psychology from Michigan State University.
Areas of Interest
- Early interventions for alcohol and other drugs in community settings
- Violence (peer, dating, intimate partner) and substance use
- Substance use treatment outcome and relapse prevention
- Post-doctoral Training - University of Michigan
- Ph.D. - Michigan State University
- M.P.H. - San Diego State University
- B.S. - Wayne State University