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Faculty Spotlight - Erin Winstanley

Associate Professor

Dr. Winstanley

School of Pharmacy

I grew up in Connecticut and moved to Morgantown last year after having spent 8 years in Cincinnati. Morgantown is the smallest town I have ever lived in.

I have a PhD in Health Policy & Management from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and I received postdoctoral training in behavioral pharmacology from The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. I specialize in behavioral health services research. My current research is focused on reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with the opioid epidemic as well as the use of technology to improve access and quality of behavioral health services. I want my research to directly inform the organization, delivery, regulations and policies of behavioral health care – with the ultimate immediate goal of reducing the number of people who die of a drug-related overdose (and/or causes). My research does not yet directly involve neuroscience, but I’m excited about the opportunity to collaborate with neuroscientists in order to develop a more comprehensive picture of recovery from mental illness and addiction as well as to inform our understanding of how to deliver prevention interventions.

I have a couple publications, but definitely would like to have more. I wrote a policy editorial entitled “Tangled-Up and Blue: Releasing the Regulatory Chokehold on Take-Home Naloxone” in the well-respected journal Addiction. People are dying of drug overdoses every day and naloxone is the most proximal intervention to prevent an overdose death. The regulatory restrictions on naloxone are overly-restrictive, particularly given the low risk of adverse events. Also, I recently published my dissertation research in The Conversation which focuses on how social capital and neighborhood disorganization influence adolescent risk of behavioral health disorders and care seeking. It’s too easy to blame individuals for their bad behaviors and infrequently do we recognize that neighborhoods or communities can be risk factors; once we do – we can work towards structural changes. It’s very hard to modify individual behavior, but we can transform communities as such to improve health outcomes. After publishing this, it was quickly shared nearly 18,000 times. It’s exciting to reach that many people.

In my free time I enjoy running, biking, hiking, and playing with my 3 German Shepherds. I love to dance (as in the first person out there and the last one standing!). I love to travel internationally. I’ve run the Ragnar Relay race, from my hometown New Haven to Boston, on a team with 12 other runners. You run through the night and sleep on the road. Individually, I’m not very motivated to run – but in a group, I can stay committed and do my best.   

Dr. Winstanley with students