Gillings School Directory

Anna Austin, PhD

Dr. Anna Austin

Anna Austin, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Maternal and Child Health
Research Scientist
UNC Injury Prevention Research Center
  • 402 Rosenau Hall, CB #7445
  • 135 Dauer Drive
  • Chapel Hill, NC 27599

Dr. Austin is an assistant professor in the Department of Maternal and Child Health and Core Faculty at the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center. She is trained in epidemiology and maternal and child health with a research focus on injury and violence prevention among children and families. Her current research centers on the primary prevention of adverse childhood experiences, specifically child abuse and neglect; substance use among pregnant and parenting people; and population-level strategies, including those that address material hardships, to prevent injuries and violence and promote child and family wellbeing. She has experience and interest in applying advanced statistical methods, linking existing survey and administrative data sources, and partnering with state and local agencies to advance the maternal and child health research and practice agenda.

Dr. Austin has partnered with the Injury and Violence Prevention Branch, Women's and Children's Health Section, and State Center for Health Statistics at the North Carolina Division of Public Health as well as the Wake County Division of Child Welfare on research and practice related to child abuse and neglect and substance use disorders.

Honors and Awards

Equity in North Carolina’s COVID-19 Response Grant

2020, North Carolina Scholars Strategy Network

Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health

2019, Gillings School of Global Public Health

Dissertation Completion Fellowship

2018-2019, UNC Graduate School

Maternal and Child Health Section Outstanding Student Author

2018, American Public Health Association

Reproductive, Perinatal, and Pediatric Epidemiology T32 trainee

2017-2018, Gillings School of Global Public Health

Representative Courses

MHCH 740: Independent Study, Maternal Substance Use and Healthcare Utilization, Spring 2021

Research Activities

Principal Investigator, CDC/APHA National Violent Death Reporting System New Investigator Award, Association of Medicaid Expansion with Suicide Rates among Nonelderly US Adults

Principal Investigator, UNC Injury Prevention Research Center Exploratory Research Project, Correlates of Opioid Misuse among Pregnant and Parenting Women Seeking Treatment in an Outpatient Pain Clinic

Co-Investigator, CDC, Evaluating the Impact of Low-income Housing Tax Credits on Child Abuse and Neglect, Intimate Partner Violence, and Opioid Overdose

Co-Investigator, NIDA, Examining the Quality of Opioid Use Disorder Treatment in a Medicaid Research Network

Service Activities

-Member, Department of Maternal and Child Health Doctoral Committee (2020-present)

- Member, Department of Maternal and Child Health Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Workgroup (2020-present)

- Member, Safe Kids North Carolina Advisory Board (2019-present)

- Member, Editorial Board for the Journal of Family Violence (2019-present)

- Mentor, UNC Injury and Violence Prevention Fellowship (2019-2020)

Practice Activities

Austin AE, Massengale ME. “Diaper need” and “period poverty” are among the hidden and destructive impacts of the COVID-19 recession. Available from

Rowland C, Austin AE. Hair Testing in Children: Takeaways from the Literature. 2021. Prepared for the North Carolina Child Medical Evaluation Program and North Carolina Division of Social Services.

Austin AE. North Carolina Plan of Safe Care Quality Improvement Project in Wake County, North Carolina. 2019. Prepared for the North Carolina Division of Public Health, Injury and Violence Prevention Branch and Women’s and Children’s Health Section.

North Carolina Opioid Action Plan, ACEs and Opioid Misuse Workgroup. 2019. North Carolina Division of Public Health. 

Key Publications

Association of Medicaid expansion with suicide deaths among nonelderly adults. Austin AE, Naumann RB, Short NA (2021). In press at American Journal of Epidemiology.

Screening for traumatic experiences in healthcare settings: A personal perspective from a trauma survivor. Austin, AE (2021). In press at JAMA Internal Medicine.

Sexual violence, prescription opioid use and misuse, and the mediating role of depression and anxiety. Austin AE, Short NA (2020). American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Incidence of injury, maltreatment, and developmental disorders among substance exposed infants. Austin AE, Berkoff MC, Shanahan ME (2020). Child Maltreatment.

Estimation of met diaper need among low-income children under four years of age in the United States, 2016. Massengale KEC, Comer L, Austin AE, Goldblum JS (2020). American Journal of Public Health.

Heterogeneity in risk and protection among Alaska Native/American Indian and non- Native children. Austin AE, Gottfredson NC, Marshall SW, Halpern CT, Zolotor AJ, Parrish JW, Shanahan ME (2019). Prevention Science.

Trajectories of child protective services contact among Alaska Native/American Indian and non-Native children. Austin AE, Gottfredson NC, Zolotor AJ, Halpern CT, Marshall SW, Naumann RB,Shanahan ME (2019). Child Abuse & Neglect, 95.

Directed acyclic graphs: An under-utilized tool for child maltreatment research. Austin AE, Desrosiers TD, Shanahan ME (2019). Child Abuse & Neglect, 91.

Improved ascertainment of pregnancy-associated suicides and homicides in North Carolina. Austin AE, Vladuitu C, Jones-Vessey K, Proescholdbell SK, Norwood T, Menard MK (2016). American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 51(5), 234-240.

Adverse childhood experiences related to poor adult health among lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals. Austin AE, Herrick HWB, Proescholdbell SK (2016). American Journal of Public Health, 106(2), 314-20.


PhD, Maternal and Child Health, Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, 2019

MPH, Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Yale University School of Public Health, 2013

BS, BA, Statistics, Psychology, University of Missouri-Columbia, 2011

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