Dr. Wakai is Assistant Director of Public Health Research at the UConn Health Center for Public Health and Health Policy. Dr. Wakai received her Ph.D. in Higher Education and Organizational Change and her MA in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Special Education from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her BA from University of California, Santa Barbara is in Organizational Psychology.
Dr. Wakai has designed and conducted several evaluations on programs related to public health, mental health, and occupational and environmental medicine. She is currently conducting an evaluation to identify barriers, incentives and best practices for implementing environmentally preferable products among custodial workers at state agencies. She is the evaluator for two DMHAS funded state initiative: Connecticut Healthy Campus Initiative (to reduce underage and binge drinking on college campuses across Connecticut) and the Connecticut Campus Suicide Prevention Initiative. She is conducting the evaluation for the educational component of the Hartford Neighborhood Healthy Homes project, a HUD funded-project. Dr. Wakai has also conducted research and evaluation on mental health within correctional facilities. She conducted the evaluation for START NOW, an evidence informed skills training treatment intervention currently being implemented in Connecticut Department of Corrections (CDOC). She has also worked on a study to develop a valid and reliable assessment of serious mental illness for national use by the Bureau of Justice Statistics in jails and prisons. She has conducted research on The Texas Implementation of Medication Algorithms (TIMA), a rule-based, deductive system to aid in decision-making for prescribing medication.
She worked on the evaluation component of a study to identify ways to formalize a collaborative partnership between University of Connecticut Health Center/Correctional Health Managed Care (CMHC) researchers and the Connecticut Department of Correction (CDOC).
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Programs in Public Health and Health Policy
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