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Chris Ringwalt, Dr.PH

Chris Ringwalt, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), and is an Adjunct Professor with the University of North Carolina School of Public Health. Dr. Ringwalt has 30 years of experience in the design, development, analysis, and reporting of epidemiological, etiological, and evaluation studies relating to public health issues. His research has focused primarily on the prevention of adolescent and adult risk behaviors, particularly alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) use. He has recently retired from the Injury Prevention Research Center at the University of North Carolina.


Dr. Ringwalt is currently in semi-retirement and working on several projects.  The first is an evaluation of an international, multi-site project funded by the AB InBev Foundation to prevent harms associated with alcohol use.  He is also contributing to research related to the opioid settlement, a suit brought by the states and municipalities against organizations involved in opioid production and dissemination.  In addition, he is an investigator in a school-based randomized controlled trial in Peru designed to test the effects of a school-based prevention initiative supported by the U.S. State Department.


Among his various studies, he has directed several evaluations of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) Program for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and D.A.R.E America. He has also investigated the prevalence of ATOD use and other risk behaviors among runaway and homeless youth, with support both from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and from NIDA. He has conducted, for the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), a study of North Carolina's ATOD prevention needs and has served as the evaluator for the South Carolina State Incentive Grant. Dr. Ringwalt studied the development of ethnic identity in African-American male adolescents (for CDC), adolescent dating violence (for the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation), and drug prevention in managed care settings (for CSAP). He has served as the Senior Evaluator for the Southeast Center for the Application of Prevention Technology (SECAPT), where he was responsible for translational research. He has completed two NIDA-funded grants, one pertaining to school-based drug prevention programs, and the other concerning strategies designed to enhance teacher fidelity to evidence-based drug prevention curricula. Additionally, he has completed large randomized controlled trials of Projects SUCCESS and ALERT with support from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and has evaluated the Avenues for Success Project for the Chicago Public Schools. He has also conducted a longitudinal evaluation of residents in rural communities in Swaziland to examine the effects on health and health behaviors of a project designed to bring clean water to these communities.  He is currently directing two studies funded by CDC, and serves as Senior Advisor of a third, that are investigating various topics related to the prevention of opioid overdose attributable to controlled substances. He has also served as the PI of a NIJ-sponsored study to develop and validate an algorithm to identify providers manifesting unusual prescribing practices, and of a RWJ-sponsored study to conduct a national policy analysis of state prescription drug monitoring programs. He has supported a prescription drug overdose grant that CDC awarded the State or North Carolina, and a cross-site evaluation of this initiative awarded to RTI International. In addition, he has developed, for the U.S. State Department, curricula pertaining to both school-based drug prevention and monitoring and evaluation that will be used internationally to train and certify drug prevention specialists.


Dr. Ringwalt has served as Chair of the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Section of the American Public Health Association (APHA), and as Secretary to the Board of the Society of Prevention Research. He was a permanent member of the NIDA-F Study Section until its demise in 2009, and continues to serve as an occasional ad hoc reviewer for various NIH Study Sections.


Dr. Ringwalt has published over125 journal articles, book chapters and other publications, and is now serving as the editor of the Journal of Primary Prevention

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