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Megan O'Brien

Research Area Specialist

Megan O’Brien holds a PhD in Community Psychology from Wichita State University and a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Kansas School of Medicine. She also completed a three-year postdoctoral fellowship with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with a focus on drug dependence epidemiology. As a Senior Research Associate with the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare’s Office of Children and Families, her work has focused primarily on improving access to services for Medicaid and Medicaid-eligible youth from underserved areas ranging from sparsely populated rural counties to youth attending school in the urban core of Kansas City, KS. This has led to a primary focus on improving communication between families and providers in the children’s mental health and intellectual/developmental disabilities systems. Dr. O’Brien’s interest in improving access to health services also extends to the study of factors contributing to disparities in utilization of clinical preventive services among adults with disabilities.

Since joining the AEDI research team, Dr. O’Brien has expanded the scope of her health services research to include the impact of asset development and financial inclusion for improving children's health outcomes. Dr. O’Brien’s primary responsibilities are to oversee the development and implementation of data collection infrastructures for AEDI’s major research projects (currently, the Alfond College Challenge in Maine, Kindergarten to College in San Francisco, Promise Indiana/Promise Scholars in Indiana, and Prosperity Kids in New Mexico), and work with AEDI’s Director and Assistant Director to coordinate financial, personnel, and planning aspects of these projects. Dr. O’Brien is increasingly seen as an expert with regard to managing children’s savings account and evaluation data, demonstrated by her participation on the panel “Constructing the Evidence Base: Interim Measures, Data Management” at the national symposium “The Role of Children’s Savings Accounts in the Education, Economic, Social, and Political Contexts”.

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