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Megan O'Brien

Research Associate Senior
Primary office:
115 Twente Hall
Room 115


Professional Biography

Dr. O’Brien’s current research focuses primarily on improving access to mental health services for children and families, with particular emphasis on frontier and rural populations.  As a member of the RTC team, she coordinates two systematic scoping reviews of literature on disabilities and healthcare access.

Within the School of Social Welfare at KU, she is currently working on development of a model of shared decision-making for youth and families around psychiatric medication management. In addition, Dr. O’Brien leads the evaluation for two grant-funded projects related to frontier and rural health care access.

Research Interests

  • Assets
  • Children's Savings Accounts
  • Drug dependence epidemiology
  • Frontier and rural health issues
  • Social and contextual influences on health
  • And survey development and research methods.


O’Brien, M.S., Crickard, E., Lee, J., & Holmes, C. (under review). Attitudes and experience of youth and their parents with psychiatric medication and relationship to self-reported adherence.Community Ment Health J.

O’Brien, M.S., Comment, L.A., Liang, K.Y., & Anthony, J.C. (in press). Does Cannabis Onset Trigger Cocaine Onset? A Case-Crossover Approach. International Journal of Methods for Psychiatric Research.

O'Brien, M. S., Crickard, L., Rapp, C., Holmes, C., & McDonald, T. (2011). Critical issues for psychiatric medication shared decision making with youth and families. Families in Society, 93(3), 310-316.

Crickard, L. O'Brien, M. S., Rapp, C., & Holmes, C. (2010). Developing a framework to support shared decision making for youth mental health medication treatment. Community Ment Health J, 46(5), 474-481. PMID: 20571877

O’Brien, M.S. and Anthony, J.C. (2009). Extra-medical stimulant dependence among recent initiates. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 104(1-2), 147-156. PMID: 19515516

Stone, A.L., O’Brien, M.S., De La Torre, A., Anthony, J.C. (2007). Who is becoming hallucinogen dependent soon after hallucinogen use starts? Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 87(2-3), 153-163. PMID: 16987612 

Latimer, W.W., O’Brien, M.S. Vasquez, M.A., Medina-Mora, M.E. Rios-Bedoya, C.F. and Floyd, L.J. (2006). Adolescent substance abuse in Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States: Effect of anonymous versus confidential survey administration.Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Use, 16(1), 69-89. 

O’Brien, M.S. Wu, L.T. and Anthony, J.C. (2005). Cocaine use and the occurrence of panic attacks in the community: a case-crossover approach. Substance Use & Misuse, 40(3), 285-297. PMID: 15776977

Floyd LJ, Latimer WW, Vasquez M, O'Brien M. (2005). Substance use among school-based youths in northern Mexico. Am J Addict. Oct-Dec;14(5):464-70. PMID: 16257883 

Chen, C.Y., O’Brien, M.S., Anthony, J.C. (2005). Who becomes cannabis dependent soon after onset of use? Epidemiological evidence from the United States: 2000-2001. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 79(1),11-22. PMID: 15943940

Latimer, W.W., Floyd, L.J., Kariis, T., Novotna, G., Exnerova, P., O’Brien, M.S. (2004). Peer and sibling substance use: predictors of substance use among adolescents in Mexico. Revista panamericana de salud pública = Pan American journal of public health 2004;15(4):225-32. 

Latimer, W.W., Floyd, L.J., Vasquez, M., O’Brien, M.S., Arzola, A., & Rivera, N.  (2004). Substance use among school based youth in Puerto Rico: Differences between gender and grade levels. Addictive Behaviors, 29(8), 1659-1664.  PMID: 15451134

Latimer, W.W., O’Brien, M.S., McDouall, J., Toussova, O., Floyd, L.J, and Vasquez, M. (2004). Screening for substance abuse among school-based youth in Mexico using the Problem-Oriented Screening Instrument for Teenagers.  Substance Use & Misuse, 39(2), 309-331. PMID: 15061563

O’Brien, M.S. and Anthony, J.C. (2005). Risk of becoming cocaine dependent: Epidemiological estimates for the United States, 2000-2001. Neuropsychopharmacology, 30(5), 1006-1018. PMID: 15785780

O’Brien, M.S., Burdsal, C.A. and Molgaard, C.A. (2004). Further development of an Australian-based measure of social capital in a U.S. sample. Social Science & Medicine, 59(6), 1207-1217.PMID: 15210092

Honas, J.J., Early, J.L., Fredrickson, D.D., O’Brien, M.S., (2003).  Predictors of retention and dropout in a weight loss program. Obesity Research, 11, 888-894. PMID: 12855759


Dr. O’Brien received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Wichita State University and her Master of Public Health degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine - Wichita. She also completed three years of postdoctoral training in drug dependence epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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