Martha Waller

Center Director

Chapel Hill

Dr. Waller is a Senior Program Evaluator I and has been with PIRE since 2003. She received her Ph.D. in Maternal and Child Health with a minor in Epidemiology from the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005 and her M.A. in Social and Experimental Psychology from New Mexico State University in 1999. Dr. Waller was a Fellow in the Maternal and Child Health-Public Health Leadership Institute (MCH-PHLI). This prestigious Fellowship is a year-long leadership development program targeted to upper-level leaders in State Title V programs, family advocacy, and other organizations that work on behalf of and promote healthy families, particularly the maternal and child health populations in the US and its territories.


Dr. Waller has served as lead evaluator for the New Mexico Office of Substance Abuse Prevention since 2007, evaluating the SAMHSA funded NM SPF SIG, SPE, PFS II, PFS 2015, SPF Rx, and PDO grants and all SAPT Block grant substance abuse prevention programming.  She has extensive experience working with communities and state agencies to build capacity around each step of the SPF model including needs assessment, building community readiness and coalition capacity, strategic planning, program implementation, evaluation, cultural competency, and sustainability.  She also leads a grant from the National Center for Responsible Gaming to assess problem gambling among at-risk youth and adults in NM.  Most recently, she received a NIDA R21 to evaluate an innovative approach to opioid overdose prevention in Forsyth County, NC where community paramedics create a bridge to MAT immediately following reversal by offering up to seven days of buprenorphine while collaborating with peer navigators to provide motivational interviewing and support until the person is enrolled in MAT.  Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina also funded Dr. Waller to conduct a similar study in Stanly County, NC.  Dr. Waller has worked on several NIH longitudinal studies using Add Health data examining health behaviors and outcomes among adolescents and young adults, with a particular focus on mental health, substance use, sexual risk taking, and sexual orientation. She led an NIAAA R03 that examined the role of alcohol outlet density on drinking behaviors and intimate partner violence using Add Health.  Finally, Martha led an Indian Health Services grant to provide evaluation training and TA to eleven Tribal HPDP grantees across the county.  Her research interests include exploring the effect of environmental characteristics associated with risk behavior and health disparities and environmental-level prevention strategies particularly among adolescent and young adult populations. She enjoys being involved in both research and evaluation opportunities.