Dr. Walton is a Professor and the Associate Chair for Research and Research Faculty Development in the Department of Psychiatry. She also is the Senior Associate Director of the Injury Prevention Center (IPC), and Associate Director for Child Research at the Addiction Center. Dr. Walton’s career goal is to conduct innovative research to maximize public health impact on the prevention and treatment of substance use, violence, and injury. She has expertise in harnessing technology (e.g., web, text messaging, social media, telehealth, and smartphone apps) for assessment and intervention delivery.
With more than 200 peer reviewed publications, Dr. Walton collaborates with multi-disciplinary teams on projects funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Walton is committed to teaching and mentoring students and trainees, including as a faculty mentor with the Addiction Center’s T32 post-doctoral fellowship funded by NIAAA.
In terms of substance use research, Dr. Walton and colleagues have developed evidenced-based, single session behavioral interventions to reduce risky substance use (e.g., alcohol, cannabis, prescription drug misuse) among patients in medical settings. More recent lines of work in this area (with Dr. Bonar) include testing remotely delivered interventions (i.e., telehealth session, messaging platform) to prevent opioid misuse among young people in the emergency department. In addition, Drs. Walton, Bonar, and colleagues are testing the efficacy of social media delivered interventions to reduce risky substance use among adolescents and emerging adults. Finally, she is collaborating with teams examining mobile health for assessment and intervention delivery, including conducting micro-randomized trials.
In terms of youth violence prevention, Dr. Walton and colleagues developed an evidenced-based single session intervention (SafERteens), which reduces youth violence and alcohol misuse; subsequently, she is leading translation studies integrating the SafERteens intervention into clinical care. More recently, this work has expanded to focus on optimizing telehealth interventions to reduce violence and alcohol misuse among adolescents and emerging adults using a Sequential Multiple Assignment Randomized Controlled Trial (SMART) design.
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
- Technology to facilitate intervention delivery
Firearms have been the No. 2 cause of death for at least 17 years, even as prevention efforts have cut the death rate in half from motor vehicle accidents, the No. 1 cause.
- Post-doctoral Training - University of Michigan
- Ph.D. - Michigan State University
- M.P.H. - San Diego State University
- B.S. - Wayne State University