August 31, 2022

New podcast highlights women leading research for substance use prevention

Maureen Walton, MPH, Ph.D., is a featured speaker in the first episode 

Women Leading Prevention Science is an original podcast series developed by the NIH HEAL Prevention Cooperative and RTI International to inspire women pursuing careers in public health

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — The HEAL Prevention Cooperative (HPC) has launched a new five-part podcast series called, “Women Leading Prevention Science,” which will feature women at the forefront of youth substance use prevention research. The goal of the podcast is to inspire additional researchers, students and early-career scientists to pursue a career in public health. The HPC is funded by the National Institutes of Health's Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®.

“The podcast is designed to uplift current and aspiring prevention scientists,” said Sara Hairgrove, a public health analyst at RTI and host of the first series. “I hope these conversations encourage female scientists to move out of their comfort zones and try something new, inspired by the stories of researchers who have led the way.”

Each episode will consist of approximately 30-minute conversations with two prevention scientists who are investigating strategies to curb adolescent and young adult opioid misuse as part of the HPC. Podcasts will be released biweekly starting Aug. 29. They will include discussions of mentoring relationships, breaking into the field of prevention science, work-life balance, finding fulfillment in work, and building a network of collaborators.

Initial conversations will feature the following topics and guests:

  • Episode 1: Mentoring Our Future Bosses featuring Elizabeth D'Amico, Ph.D., RAND Corporation, and Maureen Walton, MPH, Ph.D., University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
  • Episode 2: Choosing Your Path featuring Jessica Cance, Ph.D., MPH, RTI International, and Amy Yule, M.D., Boston Medical Center
  • Episode 3: Pursuing Your Passions featuring Tyra Pendergrass Boomer, MEM, Yale University, and Elvira Elek, Ph.D., RTI International
  • Episode 4: Forging Strong Relationships featuring Beth Stormshak, Ph.D., University of Oregon, and Leslie Leve, Ph.D., University of Oregon
  • Episode 5: The Balancing Act featuring Danica Knight, Ph.D., Texas Christian University, and Margaret Kuklinski, Ph.D., Washington State University

The series will be produced and distributed by the HEAL Prevention Coordinating Center (HPCC), part of the HPC, based at RTI. It will be available on most podcast platforms including Amazon MusicApple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotifyPlayer FMPodcast AddictPodcast IndexStitcher, Overcast, iHeartRadio Podcasts, Castbox, Pocket CastsTuneIn, Pod Chaser, and Deezer by searching "Women Leading Prevention Science."

About the HPC
HPC supports the development and dissemination of strategies to prevent opioid misuse and opioid use disorder among young people. The HPC consists of 10 research projects and a coordinating center that work across a variety of settings and populations to test preventive intervention strategies. For more information, visit NIH’s website.

About the NIH HEAL Initiative
The Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®, is an aggressive, trans-NIH effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis. Launched in April 2018, the initiative is focused on improving prevention and treatment strategies for harmful opioid use and addiction and enhancing pain management. For more information, visit:

About RTI International
RTI International is an independent, nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving the human condition. Clients rely on us to answer questions that demand an objective and multidisciplinary approach — one that integrates expertise across the social and laboratory sciences, engineering and international development. We believe in the promise of science, and we are inspired every day to deliver on that promise for the good of people, communities and businesses around the world. For more information, visit


Link to this press release on RTI's website.