Dr. Anna Austin

Anna Austin, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Health Behavior
Core Faculty
UNC Injury Prevention Research Center
317 Rosenau Hall, CB #7440
135 Dauer Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27599


Dr. Austin is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior, Core Faculty at the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center, and a Research Fellow at the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. 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; promoting access to opioid and other substance use disorder treatment, including among pregnant and parenting people and the Medicaid population; and population-level strategies, including policies and systems-changes that address social determinants of health, to prevent injuries and violence and promote health and wellbeing. In her research, she uses large survey and administrative data sources and quantitative methods and study designs from statistics, epidemiology, quantitative psychology, and economics. The translational impact of her research is informed by longstanding partnerships with multiple national, state, and local agencies, including the North Carolina Divisions of Public Health and Health Benefits and the Wake County Division of Child Welfare.

Anna Austin in the Gillings News

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

EPID/HBEH/MHCH 626: Violence as a Public Health Issue, Spring 2022

Research Activities

Principal Investigator, CDC R01, Examining State SNAP Policies as a Primary Prevention Strategy for Early Life Exposure to Violence and Other Adverse Childhood Experiences

Site Principal Investigator, NIDA R01, Improving Racial Equity in Opioid Use Disorder Treatment in Medicaid

Principal Investigator, contract with the North Carolina Division of Public Health, Overdose Data to Action

Service Activities

National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect Advisory Board (2022-present)

Safe Kids North Carolina Advisory Board (2019-present)

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

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 http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2020/09/08/pandemic-driven-shame-and-suffering/

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.

Key Publications

Changes in medication to treat opioid use disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic in 10 state Medicaid programs. Austin AE, Tang L, Kim JY, Allen L, Barnes AJ, Chang CH, Clark S, Cole ES, Durrance CP, Donohue JM, Gordon AJ, Huskamp HA, McDuffie MH, Mehrotra A, Mohamoud S, Talbert J, Ahrens KA, Applegate M⸹, Hammerslag LR, Lanier P, Tossone K, Zivin K, Burns ME. (2023). JAMA Health Forum.

State expansion of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program eligibility and rates of child protective services-investigated reports. . Austin AE, Shanahan ME, Frank M, Naumann RB, Reyes HLM, Corbie G, Ammerman AS. (2023). JAMA Pediatrics.

Association of state Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program eligibility policies with adult mental health and suicidality. Austin AE, Frank M, Shanahan ME, Reyes HLM, Corbie G, Naumann RB. (2023).

Duration of medication for opioid use disorder during pregnancy and postpartum by race and ethnicity: Results from 6 state Medicaid programs. Austin AE, Durrance CP, Ahrens KA, Chen Q, Hammerslag L, McDuffie MJ, Talbert J, Lanier P, Donohue JM, Jarlenski M. (2023). Drug and Alcohol Dependence..

Association of state child abuse policies and mandated reporting policies with prenatal and postpartum care among pregnant women with substance use. Austin AE, Naumann RB, Simmons E. (2022). JAMA Pediatrics.

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

Maternal use of medications for opioid use disorder and prescription opioids in cases of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome: North Carolina Medicaid, 2016-2018. Austin AE, Di Bona V, Cox ME, Proescholdbell S, Fliss MD, Naumann RB (2021). American Journal of Public Health.

Screening for traumatic experiences in healthcare settings: A personal perspective from a trauma survivor. Austin AE  (2021). 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.

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


  • 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